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Question: Is there such a thing as middle child syndrome? I was one of three but I was the eldest. I would love to have a third child but husband won't have one because he fears that my youngest would get middle child syndrome and as he is already a handful that wouldn't be much fun. What is your experience?

Answer: I am the eldest of three and a mother of two. I think if a child already has issues with self and hierarchy and attention seeking, then being a middle child certainly makes it worse. I know loads of middle children who show signs of this "syndrome", but I also know loads who don't. I think it's a case of labelling behaviour and finding an excuse for it. We love to put labels on things and people for that matter. My middle sister was always desperately jealous of my other sister and me, especially me. She did use all sorts of ploys to get my mothers attention, and most of these ploys were not very nice! However, my middle sister had a jealous and unforgiving nature with everyone, not just my sister and me. She was also highly experimental in her life and extremely creative - a very talented artist. My youngest sister was also jealous of me as the oldest and displayed difficult behaviour which had she been the middle child would have been attributed to this "middle child syndrome". I think your husband is probably correct that your youngest would have problems with a third child, but I don't think it has anything to do with a middle child syndrome, I think it is just his personality that he needs a lot of attention. At the moment he is "a handful" in his competition with your eldest for your attention, with another person, he would become more than a handful!! I think you and your husband should enjoy your two beautiful children. You don't say how old you are, but it may be that a third child would be a blessing later on in your lives. Anyway, take yourself back to the last long car journey with the children, now add one more "are we there yet? Mum, he's hitting me......." Now, doesn't it seem sensible to wait a bit!


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