Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Father of Middle Child Syndrome.

Profiles in Middledom: #3 in a series, featuring Middle Children (real-life or otherwise) who have earned their place in the pantheon of birth order oblivion.

     Alfred Adler is considered by many to be one of the three great psychologists of the 20th century, along with Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. But you probably never heard of him. How fitting for the man who laid the groundwork for the condition any self-respecting Middle Child claims to be afflicted with.
     A Middle Child himself (the 2nd of 7), Dr. Adler was one of the first to suggest that birth order influences personality. He theorized Middle Children would be the most likely member of the family to be rebellious and feel squeezed-out.
Dr. Alfred Adler: From
“Who's Who?” to “Who?
     Back in the day, Freud and Adler were like brothers, complete with some serious psycho-sibling rivalry. When Adler broke away from Freudian psychoanalysis and formed his own school of thought called Individual Psychology, Freud was infuriated. He issued an ultimatum to his fellow members of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society to either drop Adler or be expelled. (NOTE: Freud had two siblings 20+ years older from his father's first marriage. He was the first born from his father's third marriage, with seven younger siblings. While technically a Middle Child, he's what some would call a “functional first born.” That might explain a few things.)
     Sadly, Dr. Adler never received credit for many of his theories that
have become accepted as part of modern psychology. In fact, according to psychohistorian Henri F. Ellenberger, “It would not be easy to find another author from which so much has been borrowed on all sides without acknowledgement than Alfred Adler.” What an appropriately twisted tribute. Just what the Middle Child doctor ordered.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Guess the Middle Child.

      A Facebook friend sent me this picture, asking if I might be able to use it on my blog. Use it on my blog!?! I might have to frame it! They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case it's a gross underestimate. This picture says everything you need to know about being a Middle Child. If you're a Middle Child, you definitely know this feeling.
     This picture also got me to wondering, how many more pictures like this are floating around out there? I know a lot of Middle Children complain about there not being any photographic evidence of their childhood -- and with pics like this, maybe that's a good thing. But if you happen to find any, I'd love it if you'd share them with me.
     Send your #MiddleChildMoment to me at midkidmusings@gmail.com, and I'll post it here on the blog and on Twitter @midkidmusings.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Funniest Book I've Ever Read.

A Smack Dab Book Review

Pure fantasy:
But technically non-fiction.
          My daughter/Smack Dab Middle Child was all excited when she came home from school the other day. “Look at what I found, Daddy!” she giggled, as she presented me with a book she had brought home from her 1st grade library. (I should probably mention at this point that my daughter is a not a 1st grade student. She’s a full grown 1st grade teacher.) The book was titled “Dealing with Being the Middle Child in Your Family,” and though I’m pretty sure it wasn’t meant to be, it was a hilarious read.
          “Dealing with Being a Middle Child” offers some simple solutions for managing Middle Child Syndrome. All you have to do is realize how great it is to be a Middle Child. It’s that easy! That’s like saying you’ve found the secret to losing weight: just eat less. How hard could that be? Let me give you the CliffsNotes.
          The chapter titled “What About Me?” starts by asking, “Do you ever feel left out because you’re the Middle Child?” A better question would be, “Do you ever not feel left out because you’re a Middle Child!?” I mean, really. If When you do feel left out, the book suggests, “Just tell your parents. They can help you.” You know, the very same people you think don’t pay enough attention to you. Tell them. Geez. And what about this gem? “Another solution is to spend time with friends. Friends can cheer you up and make you smile.” Oh, you mean the friends that I wanted to spend time with but they didn’t include me in their plans? Those friends?? That’s why I’m feeling left out in the first place!! Ugh. According to the book, feeling left out can also be overcome by finding out what you like to do: “Do you like to sing or dance or play sports? Getting to know your unique talents will help you feel special throughout your whole life.” I’m sorry, but it sounds to me like they’re really saying, “Find something you like doing, kid, because you’re gonna be spending a lot of time by yourself!” Honestly, I’m running out of exclamation points, and I’m not even halfway through this post.
Denise Discovers Drama: when you're
a Middle Child, that's the last thing
you need more of.
          The “Denise Discovers Drama” chapter tells the story of a Middle Child who loves to sing and act, while her siblings have no interest in doing either. Denise feels special when she gets a great part in the school play and is excited to perform on stage for her family. Of course, the book forgets to mention that her play is on the same night as her older brother’s Martial Arts tournament and her little sister’s Science Fair, so nobody can make it to the show.
A Family Camping Trip: if a Middle
Child is in a forest and there's no one
else around, does he still have
Middle Child Syndrome?
          In “A Family Camping Trip,” little Darrin is feeling left out because his older brother Pete gets to pitch the tent with Dad and his younger sister Maria was asked to gather sticks for firewood. Mom saves the day by asking Darrin to help her make dinner and letting him wear a goofy chef’s hat. This makes Darrin feel good. Sure, but probably not enough to let him forgive his parents for giving his siblings normal names and naming him Darrin. 
          Meanwhile, the chapter titled The Middle Child” concludes, “It takes time to figure out your special role in the family.” Uh, yeah -- like your entire life!
          Look, it’s not like this is the first book ever written about Middle Children. Over the years, there have been many others. Some are for kids, with titles like “The Middle Child Blues,” and “My Middle Child, There’s No One Like You,” which any self-disrespecting Mid Kid will tell you is just code for “My Middle Child, Why Can’t You Be More Like Your Siblings?” Others target parents, like “The Secret Power of Middle Children: How Middleborns Can Harness Their Unexpected and Remarkable Abilities.” We all know that’s just a nice way of saying “How to Fix Your Middle Child.”
          I suspect many of the books written about Middle Children weren't actually written by Middle Children. If they were, they’d tell a very different story.