Siblings have their own set of joys as well as unease. Especially if you have three children. The middle child somehow seems to be a little ill at ease – neither here nor there, as one would say. In her growing years and as a middle sibling, all she needs is understanding and words of assurance.
In the growing years, all children go through the process of evolution or growing from dependency to independence. In such a case, if the child has an elder sibling, it gets a little confusing for her. Consider a big brother, who can do so much more. This naturally thwarts her independent cravings, which are strong at the growing age. It is sometimes difficult for a second child to feel competent about her own developmental achievements, when an older sibling is so very adept!
Show Your Appreciation
Take time out to appreciate her endeavours. Carve out special time with her, when she is not already upset, to support her unique independence. Make her achievements the focal point of your attention several times throughout the day. Marvel at the towers she builds, remark on how smart she is to recognize new words and help her develop a new skill she can be proud of.
Be A Sponge
In the growing years, being a sponge for her anger will make all the difference. Absorbing her anger will help “tame” her disposition in years to come. Take for example that she has a younger sibling. Now since younger children need more care, she would end up feeling as if she is in competition. Having an elder sibling was tough enough and now she has a younger one as well!! You, therefore, need to keep in mind the fact that the competing needs of a younger sibling naturally exacerbate her need for increased attention. And understand: that sometimes anger felt by her may be due your lack of attention.
A middle child’s dependency needs do not get met as often. If possible, choose times to indulge her when she is not having a meltdown. Carry and cuddle her, and let her be your baby for some time each day. Giving her these “baby” cuddles help her feel special, as well as satisfy some of her unmet dependency needs.
Maybe, She’s Different!
It is also possible that your middle child has a different temperament than either you, or her siblings. This may make it harder to recognize her unique needs and easier to scapegoat her in the family because she is the one you understand the least. However, be very careful here! Always be alert to the fact that older children may take advantage of a younger sibling’s frustrations. Sometimes, they even “set up” a younger sibling for a meltdown.
Remember that because your child is at a “sensitive” age, either she is protesting or is suppressing her own needs. Try and define the area and help out in understanding her “confusing” life. The healthy part is that she is calling out for help. And you have the capacity to listen!
And while you are doing the listening, keep in mind that it is easy for a middle child to feel overshadowed because the older one can always do it better and the younger one can always use more help!