The Middle Child Syndrome

Saturday, October 20, 2001


43 years have elapsed since my brother's memorable baby luau in 1958. [See Three Disappointments and A Baby Boy]


This summer, our family gathered for a reunion, which our extended family now does every two years. 

One night, Mom (76), San (53) and I (49) were reminiscing. Laughingly, I mentioned that as a little girl I imagined that I was from outer space, dropped off on Earth, and adopted into the family. This fantasy, I explained, helped me make child sense of why there were no photos of me as an infant and toddler, and why I never had a birthday party as a kid.


Their  reactions surprised me. San was shocked to  hear this, as she believes, growing up, I was the favored daughter.  She exclaimed,  "No, that can't be." 

I could see that Mom was genuinely taken aback.  After she went through the family album in her head, she slowly nodded in agreement, "You know, I think you're right, I don't recall seeing any baby pictures of you. And I didn't realize until now that we never threw a birthday party for you."


This was a family reunion, not a time for  The Middle Child Syndrome group therapy, and I laughed it off, "Not to worry, I got over it."   

Seeing San's and Mom's reactions, I did realize that, back then no one noticed my "no photos, no birthday party" phenomena but me. 



Fast forward to 2001:

My baby brother, Dino,  is a 44 year old man and a father of two cherished  daughters. He did not grow up to become a spoiled, materialistic person. All that maternal love fostered a loving father and husband, who puts intrinsic values ahead of extrinsic ones. He has no middle children.

As for "my own little dolly", Joan, she is the kindest and sweetest person I know.  And I'm not just saying that because she's "mine".  Everyone says it. She is the mother of a well-rounded daughter, who has been pampered and spoiled by her mother with undivided love and attention, just as I spoiled Joanz.  She has no middle children.

My big sis, San, is a firm, but loving mother of two outstanding sons.  Her oldest is a graduate of Stanford University; her youngest, a college student at University of California, Irvine.  She loves each fully and as individuals. She has no middle children.

DH and I have no middle children.

The Middle Child Syndrome did not persist into the next generation. Yea!


The silver linings of this streaming this entry are:

  • It's no wonder why I love the camera. My first-ever photos were gifts from Uncle Frank, when I was 4; and the only studio portrait of me at age 8, a gift from the newly-wed couple, when I was their flower girl. 

  • Maybe it makes perfect sense why these days, I am the self-appointed family documentarian, gathering old family photos, putting them online for the entire family, and taking pictures of EVERYONE at our gatherings, taking especial care that NO ONE gets left out.

This would be another silver lining, but it's up to you to make it one:

Today, YOU will let a middle child know how  unique and important that child is to the whole of the family.

If you're a parent of a middle child, you'll take the following advice to heart: 

"The best advice I was given concerning low self-esteem in my middle child was from another mother who was a middle child in her family. Her mom told her: 

 "You cannot make a sandwich without the middle, and it does not matter whether you choose to be sirloin steak one day or baloney the next.  We just are not complete without you right in the center.  

You make us a whole unit."

What a sweet way to let your child know their birth order has meaning." ~ Source



The worse that can happen with "middle child" neglect is another Osama bin Laden.  He is one of the middle children of his father's 54 children. Perhaps, he was overlooked, lost in the shuffle, marginalized and trivialized, and maybe starved for individual attention and personalized love.  

Neglect is never forgotten, and from the look of things, he has not sought understanding, and, therefore, has not forgiven. Years later, he has lashed out, seeking revenge, and everyone is paying. 

Dollars to doughnuts, if Osama bin Laden were one of two kids, instead of 54, he'd never have grown up to be the brilliant, world-class terrorist he is today.

Too bad his soul did not find another family that would have given him the abundance of love and attention every child craves and needs to grow up into a caring, loving human being. 

Here's a food-for-thought article on the effects of overpopulation by an articulate, thinking college student.  If your mind is hungry, this will satisfy it:

The Real Root of All Evil?

With more than six billion  (6,198,792,237) humans straining the resources of the world, there is hardly a shortage of human beings. Enough is enough. 

It is my fervent wish that each child born is planned, wanted, and cherished.  

Informative on-line articles:



"Life is a Gift."

Author Unknown


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This web journal was created on a September Morn, September 29, 2001.
September Morn 2001