9 reasons being a middle child is actually the best

Yes, there is a thing called "middle child syndrome." Does it matter?

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/ Source: TODAY
By Gabrielle Frank

Sure being the middle child comes with some stigma — not the oldest and wisest and not the "baby" of the family, either.

Plus, thanks to the dreaded "middle child syndrome," people assume the one born in the middle is more likely to feel left out or neglected.

Just look at quintessential middle child Jan Brady from "The Brady Bunch": She had to create an imaginary boyfriend (George Glass) to garner attention from her big family. Stephanie Tanner, the middle child from "Full House" may not have had as many story lines devoted to her, but at least she got her own tag line ("How RUDE!").

Though pop culture loves to poke fun at middle children — being one can actually be pretty great. Just look at the roster of famous middle children who are doing well in life: Natalie Morales, Bill Gates, Jennifer Lopez, Warren Buffett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julia Roberts and more.

Here are nine reasons why being a middle child might make kids better off than their siblings.

1. Parents were probably more laid back

That's how it goes, parents are super strict with their first child. As a baby, they wouldn't let just anyone hold their precious firstborn. Then the second kid came along ... and it all changed. That middle child maybe had it a little easier than big bro or sis -- a fact they probably never forget.

2. They actually have a secret power

At least according to Catherine Salmon and Katrin Schumann, authors of "The Secret Power of Middle Children." According to their research, middle children are more open to experience and more willing to develop different abilities while searching for their own niche in the family.

Further, they found that middles are agents of change in business, politics and science. They're team players who know how to deal with everyone.

3. They can keep a secret

So, yeah, maybe the middle kids don't get as much attention as the baby, but according to birth-order experts, that means they're able to keep things to themselves.

4. They know how to go with the flow

After the parents had their third child, the middle kids had to find their own way. Today,they're way better at compromising and negotiating than their older and younger siblings, who typically got their way.

5. They have stronger bonds with friends

Your parents had a looser leash on you, which means you were able to form stronger friendships at younger ages.

6. They're probably not the favorite — and that's OK

Grandfathers, aunts or uncles might not pick the middle child as the favorite and they had no problem letting the middle child know that.

7. They are JUST as smart as the siblings

A 2015 study debunked the popular myth that firstborns are the most intellectual of the family. Though they do have higher IQs, the margin is extremely slight.

8. They're more independent

Because the parents were a little more lax, middle kids were able to do more things on their own. They're not afraid to try a new sport, activity or career — because they're used to tackling things solo!

9. They might live longer than the younger sibling

A 2015 study found that mortality risk in adulthood increases with later birth order. So while the middle child might not live as long as the older sibling, they could outlive a younger brother or sister.

Today, celebrate the uniqueness of the middle child — and hey, maybe the "middle child syndrome," isn't such a bad thing after all.