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16 Things Only Middle Children Understand

The oldest is the first, the youngest is the baby—but where does that leave the middle-borns? For National Middle Child Day, you’ll recognize these annoying, and sometimes surprisingly advantageous things about growing up in between.

You hated The Brady Bunch

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Thanks to Jan Brady’s cry of “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” middle children are often thought of as lonely and neglected, and are sometimes even pitied. After all, they’re the only birth order position that has a “syndrome” named after it. But these misconceptions made you angry growing up because they didn’t really represent who you are. “Sometimes when people find out you’re a middle child, the instant response is that something is wrong with you,” says middler Erin Greenspan. “I heard about someone recently who doesn’t want three kids because they felt bad making anyone a middle child. But I think we need middle children in the world!” Read on to find out why.

You didn’t have the pressure of the oldest child

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Let’s face it: Parents don’t have a clue what they’re doing with their first child, and they tend to put all their hopes and dreams on the poor kid. Luckily, you didn’t have to face that particular battle. By the time the second child rolled around, your parents were more experienced and confident, and they passed this self-assurance on to you. Here’s more about what your birth order really reveals about you.

But you didn’t get the slack given to the baby either

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With the last child, parents tend to indulge. They’re too tired to really enforce the rules, and they also want to spoil the youngest because they know it’s their last chance. So although you could often escape your parents’ notice, when you got caught you were held up to the same rules and standards of your older sibling, while you’re younger sibling could do whatever he or she wanted right in your parents’ faces. As Full House‘s middle child Stephanie Tanner would say, “How rude!”

You were like a fly on the wall

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Growing up, your parents weren’t hyper-focused on you like they were on your older sibling, and you didn’t have the extra attention that the coddled youngest got either. Instead, you were always just there, quietly observing the drama unfolding around you. Perhaps that’s why middlers can be great writers—middle-borns Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Ernest Hemingway, Louisa May Alcott, and her fictional Little Women character Jo March were all celebrated authors. You took it all in, and then used it to your advantage. Here’s more about why siblings are some of the most important people in your life.

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