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Have you heard?


That middle children are more likely than their siblings to be successful and enjoy flourishing careers…according to a research?
Where does this leave the rest of us, then?Anyway, read on.The research continues: “One of the most successful entrepreneurs of modern times, the Microsoft genius Bill Gates, is also a middle. His remarkable ability to think outside the box and take moderate risks are attributes often found in middle-borns.’’

The research also claims that of all the U.S. Presidents since 1787, no fewer than 52 per cent were middle children.The list of presidential middles, according to the research, includes political giants such as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.

The research claims that Kennedy, during his brilliant but all-too-brief career, displayed several of the qualities associated with high-achieving middle children: communication skills, a gift for friendship, a powerful sense of justice, coolness under pressure and an ability to negotiate.


According to the research… another aspect of middle children’s personalities is an eagerness to please- born out of their efforts in childhood to gain attention- which can mean they are too easily influenced by friends.

“The age gap between siblings can make an enormous difference to their personality and behaviour. Typically, siblings born within five years of each other will be most affected, as they vie for parental attention.

There is, of course, little doubt that middle children can be marginalised within families during their formative years. Eldest children are treated very differently, partly because their parents are going through the child-rearing experience for the first time, and partly because they initially have no sibling rivals, so they receive all of their parents’ attention.

They become the focus for all their parents’ hopes and fears, the prototype for the rest of the family.In contrast, by the time the third or fourth child arrives, parents tend to be far more relaxed about child-rearing. The family unit is already well established. So the youngest is often indulged, even spoilt, not least because the parents have often decided that this child will be their last.

This sense of indulgence often persists even when the youngest has grown up…claims the research.As the researchers found, middle children tend to have high degrees of patience, perhaps because they spend so much of their time in childhood waiting their turn. They have to bide their time and wait while the first-born gets to star in the school nativity play, or they wait while the last-born’s paraphernalia is piled into the car. So they learn the art of delayed gratification, one of the true measures of civilised behaviour.

Interacting with those older and younger than them, they also learn the art of compromise. Less egocentric than the pioneering eldest or the coddled youngest, middles generally have a high degree of empathy, loyalty and the ability to see other people’s point of view. That is perhaps why, contrary to the received wisdom, they are more successful at relationships.

The research also claims that, “80 per cent of middle-borns remain faithful to their partners, compared to 65 per cent of first-borns and just 53 per cent of last-borns- perhaps because the latter are used to getting their own way, which, as we know, doesn’t always happen in a serious relationship.’’But it is not all rosy for the “middles”…according to same research.

Read on…
“Because middles are sandwiched between siblings and so have always had to try to please everyone as the diplomat of the family, they dislike confrontation and may shy away from frank discussions about serious problems in a relationship- a lack of honesty that can store up problems for the future. Understandably, middles are less attached to family hierarchies than their siblings, probably because they may not have such warm memories of family life. They often attach more weight to friendships and to the opinions of their peers than those of their elders.


They tend to be less close to their parents and, in contrast to their siblings, are more likely to move away from the neighbourhood where they grew up. That is perhaps why so many of the more ambitious of them become reforming politicians or agents for social change- because they are determined to confront injustice.’’

Foremost ‘middles’ are said to include Nelson Mandela and the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King. The American actress-Julia Roberts, as well as Tony Blair-the former British PM.

“Along with fairness, middles can also be robustly independent, partly as a result of having to strive to find their own niche within the family structure. So there is no need for despondency or resentment among middle children. Their position, with its road to independence, has perhaps put them in the luckiest position of all.’’ concludes the research.

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Bill GatesChukwuneta Oby
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