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Is the middle child prone to be bullied?

Does birth order effects  bullying tendencies or perhaps the tendency to being bullied? Parenting does play a huge deal in the outcome, having said that birth order does have an impact on personality and behavior and its effect on the issue of bullying.

Being first time parents, a firstborn will naturally be a sort of experiment, a mixture of instinct and trial-and-error. Perhaps this will cause the parents to become by-the-book caregivers who are extremely attentive, stringent with rules, and overly neurotic about the smallest detail. This in turn may cause the child to become a perfectionist, always striving to please his parents.

If the child is raised feeling insecure, these “parent pleasing”, “people pleasing” behavior might just make them pushovers, and being bullied. A part of them would never feel enough and would say and do anything “to feel loved and accepted”

Children who are slapped or yelled at by their parents are more likely to bully their brothers or sisters, and middle children are more likely to be the bullies than the eldest, according to new research. In such situation parents need to ask themselves  “how do we relate to one another in the family? How do we related to people outside the family? Our children are watching.

A study found that half of children population experienced bullying in various ways including verbal and emotional bullying/abuse in their own home that spills over to school life. This prevalence was unrelated to whether the family was wealthy or educated; instead it was directly linked to the behaviour of the parents. It also found that the most likely culprit for sibling trouble was the middle child, with the eldest generally the innocent victim.

Why the middle child? The simple, uncomplicated answer to this would that the middle child growing up feels lost in the shuffle of children in the household and just does not see or understand where their place or value is on life, the family, house hold. They will constantly seek ways to seek that love and attention that the other siblings get being the oldest or the youngest.

Speaking of the youngest born, they are characterized as fun-loving, uncomplicated, manipulative outgoing, attention-seeking, self-centered. Some of those characteristic if not kept in check can lead to bullying behaviors especially the manipulative, self centered attention seeking tendencies.

What’s important is that parents are aware of the their children behavior towards one other. Simple bickering and siblings rivalry might be a normal thing but when one child is experiencing pain and the other pleasure, parents need to take note, no matter where they fall in the birth order.


About the writer

Mazura Illani Manshoor graduated from Boston University with a degree in Psychology. She is a certified Early Childhood and a Montessori teacher with years of teaching experience.  

She is also co-founded  CreaTee and has the strong passion for children and education causes.

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