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4 myths about being a middle child that you should stop believing — according to a psychology professor

Business Insider Logo By Devon Delfino of Business Insider | Slide 1 of 5: The  middle child is often portrayed as an underachiever with underdeveloped social skills.The driving force behind this picture is the idea that those with "middle-child syndrome" are damaged by the experience receiving less attention than their siblings.In reality, the  middle child can often cultivate skills that their siblings do not because of their birth-order circumstances.The portrait of a typicalmiddle childcan be bleak. In short, it'sJan Bradyyelling "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" while her older sistergets all the praise and her younger sister gets any remaining parental attention. It seems like the least desirable place to be as akid.But in reality,middlebornscan stray far from that depiction. That's partially because family dynamics can differ greatly in comparison to the 1950s nuclear family still sometimes perpetuated in pop culture.It's also because personality is impacted by a ton of other factors besides birth order.So even though being a middlechildcan influence the way you interact with others and how you think about your place in the world, it isn't always what people believe it to be, according toDr. Catherine Salmon, professor of psychology at the University of Redlands in California and coauthor of the book, "The Secret Power of Middle Children: How Middleborns Can Harness Their Unexpected and Remarkable Abilities."Here are four middle-child myths you need to stop believing:

  • The middle child is often portrayed as an underachiever with underdeveloped social skills.
  • The driving force behind this picture is the idea that those with "middle-child syndrome" are damaged by the experience receiving less attention than their siblings.
  • In reality, the middle child can often cultivate skills that their siblings do not because of their birth-order circumstances.
  • The portrait of a typicalmiddle childcan be bleak. In short, it'sJan Bradyyelling "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" while her older sistergets all the praise and her younger sister gets any remaining parental attention. It seems like the least desirable place to be as akid.

    But in reality,middlebornscan stray far from that depiction. That's partially because family dynamics can differ greatly in comparison to the 1950s nuclear family still sometimes perpetuated in pop culture.

    It's also because personality is impacted by a ton of other factors besides birth order.

    So even though being a middlechildcan influence the way you interact with others and how you think about your place in the world, it isn't always what people believe it to be, according toDr. Catherine Salmon, professor of psychology at the University of Redlands in California and coauthor of the book, "The Secret Power of Middle Children: How Middleborns Can Harness Their Unexpected and Remarkable Abilities."

    Here are four middle-child myths you need to stop believing:

    © polya_olya/Shutterstock

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