Did you know? Aug. 12 is National Middle Child Day!
Monday is National Middle Child Day. If you didn't know that, well, you're not alone.
In fact, the man behind a movement to raise awareness for the day says that's exactly his point.
"I found it really ironic that we have a holiday that no one pays attention to. I mean, that's our thing, right? That's our gripe. We never get attention," Hopman said. "Then I found out that there's National Middle Child Day and that, to me, was unacceptable."
Five years ago, Hopman jestfully declared a global middle child strike to raise awareness.
"I realized to have a strike you needed to have a union," Hopman explained via Skype from his New Jersey home.
That gave way to the creation of the IMCU in 2012, and this year Hopman launched a campaign to find a host city for a Middle Child Day parade. He even eyed Anchorage as a potential but says he's yet to find a town willing to take on the task.
Irony aside, some research has suggested that birth order may play a role in the development of a child's personality. For example, in his book Born to Rebel: Birth order, family dynamics and creative lives, psychologist Frank Sulloway argues siblings will adopt different strategies in the universal quest for parental favor.
Middle children are considered to be neglected, be resentful, have no drive, have a negative outlook, and feel like they don’t belong, according to Katrin Schumann, author of The Secret Powers of Middle Children. However, Schumann notes, more than half of U.S. presidents were middle children — that includes current president Donald J. Trump.
"Middles are more oriented to principles and concepts, like justice, over earning power or prestige, such as suffragette Susan B. Anthony," Schumann told Psychology Today in 2012.
In an interview with Huffington Post, Dr. Kevin Leman called middle children "family peace-keepers."
"Because middle children are often stuck in the middle, quite literally, they tend to be great negotiators and compromisers," Leman said.
But with a trend toward smaller households, Hopman has posed the question — could middle children be going extinct?
According to the New York Times, the U.S. fertility rate fell to a record low for a second straight year, last year. An NPR report noted a similar finding in 2017. Historical data on families from the U.S. Census Bureau placed the average number of kids under 18 per household in 2018 at 1.9 children, compared to 2.4 children in 1965.
“I’m sure many will say our inevitable demise is a good thing,” Hopman wrote on his blog. “Future generations will be glad to be rid of our constant whining and complaining.”
But in an interview with The Cut, Hopman noted the world would be different without middle children.
“It would probably be quieter. It would be a more boring place,” he said.
While many American families may be choosing to have two or fewer children, a 2018 Gallup study suggests families are increasingly seeing that having three or more children as ideal. Hopman says that's a sign of hope for the future of middle children.
Correction: This story has been edited to correct the acronym for the International Middle Child Union.
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