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Brothers and sisters - being in the middle

Brother; sister; family; relationships; youngest; eldest; middle; sibling ;


Some families have more than two children, and that means that the 'baby' moves up to being the 'middle child' or even the 'second eldest' if the family has more than three children. You've had a go at being the youngest, and now it's your turn to see what it's like to be the older brother or sister (although you are still not the oldest are you?)

Being in the middle

This is what some kids thought about being a 'middley'...

  • siblingsI can borrow my older sister's clothes and get to do things before the youngest one.
  • I have a lock on my door to keep my baby brother out so that he can't hurt himself. It keeps my older sister out too, so I get some space of my own.
  • I get to go to friends' places while mum looks after the baby.
  • siblingsThe older ones have to do more chores and they don't expect me to do them.
  • I don't have to be responsible for taking school newsletters home.
  • I don't have to wash up.
  • I can't ride my bike unless my parents or older brother are with me.
  • I always lose fights over computer games.
  • I don't get much privacy.
  • I get on with my little brother but my big brother hurts me when I don't do something right.
  • I sometimes feel I'm invisible.
  • When your older brother or sister moves out then you'll be the oldest and you can shout, "Hip hip hooray, I'm the oldest today!"
  • The older kids get more things and the youngest is always getting me into trouble with mum.

Some children who are in the middle feel that they are not special because they aren't the oldest or the youngest - they are just 'in the middle'.

Think of all the special things about you and make a list of them. Get a parent, caregiver or grandparent to help you if you get stuck. When you have your list, put it where you can see it when you don't feel special!

Being in the middle - is it a problem?

Sometimes middle children can feel a bit left out. They may feel that their older and younger siblings seem to get all the attention and they are missing out.

Some middle children:

  • may behave badly to get more attention
  • may try to get away with doing as little work as possible
  • may not want to join in with the rest of the family
  • may become more of a 'loner'
  • may spend more time with friends than family
  • may chose to go along with whatever the rest of the family want rather than say what they want.

Middle childen may also:

  • be more independent of their parents than their brothers and sisters
  • be very artistic or creative
  • be the peacemakers in the family when siblings get annoyed with each other.

Dr Kim says:

Dr Kim 


"Being special isn't about where you come in the family - being special is about who you are - it is about being you."



Kids comments

  • "My brother is a middley. He used to have to come to watch my sports but now I go to watch his as well." David
  • "My sister is heaps older than me and she doesn't live with us. I have a little sister too, so I'm like the eldest kid in the house." Marie
  • "Getting hand-me-downs would be good but I have two older brothers, and I'm a girl." Aimee
  • "My older brother thinks he is the boss. He tries to make me do his jobs. I get on well with my younger brother and we do lots of things together."
Being a 'middley'
In the family.
Keeping up with older 'bro'
Can be hard, he says I'm slow.
Helping mum look after baby,
Sometimes fun but only maybe.
"Not too fast, he's not that tough."
It seems that I'm not slow enough!
Being a 'middley' can be great,
Too young for chores, but I can stay up late!
(Well later than the baby, anyway.)


Some famous 'middleys'

  • Bill Gates - Microsoft.
  • Madonna - singer
  • John F. Kennedy - was President of the United States - in fact more than half of all the presidents of the USA were 'middleys'.
  • Diana, Princess of Wales - mother of Prince William and Prince Harry
  • Brittany Spears - pop-star
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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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