The stereotypical "middle child" feels neglected and overlooked, and is surely at a disadvantage when compared to his or her older and younger siblings—right? Wrong. New book The Secret Power of Middle Children reveals that such ideas are misconceptions, and the truth is that middle children actually learn adaptive strategies that can help them have better relationships and careers. Middle children benefit from more freedom than their older siblings, who often get more pressure from parents. Without the same set of expectations, middle children are "free to find out what they really are good at on their own time and in their own way, and then excel at that," says co-author Catherine Salmon.
At the same time, that freedom from pressure allows middle children to develop independence and a tendency to think outside the box. Many middle children are leaders in business, politics, and other areas. Though many people believe most presidents were firstborns, the truth is that "52% of presidents are middle-borns," co-author Katrin Schumann tells NPR. Those middle-born presidents may have developed certain diplomatic skills because of their birth order: Firstborns "tend to get what they want ... through physical force or ... authority," says Salmon," while the youngest in the family "tend to whine." But middle children have to learn to negotiate.