Being a middle child is often said to be difficult. There are stereotypes of the forgotten middle child, and jokes about them not getting attention. Being the middle child doesn’t have to be a negative experience, though, and there is a lot you can do to lessen the tough parts and accentuate the positives. When you are proactive about this, you will naturally encourage respect in your middle child for their siblings. Here are some ideas to get you started on this important task.

1. Point Out Your Other Children’s Strengths.

It is difficult for any sibling to always see the strong points in their brothers and sisters. Simple immaturity and typical childhood antics means lots of fighting and plenty of rivalry. As a parent, it is up to you to do your best to smooth out the rough edges in your children’s relationship, especially when they are young.

Take time to talk with your middle child about their siblings’ strong points and to encourage them to recognize those strong points. Remind them as often as needed, without becoming annoying about it. When you give a compliment to any of your other children, allow your middle child to be there to witness it. Build your home around an atmosphere of encouragement and admiration for each other, which will make it easier for your children to give love to everyone else.

2. Encourage Your Other Children to Return Respect.

When you have done what you can to point out the good qualities in siblings and to encourage respect, then be sure to encourage the respect both ways. Let your older and younger children know about the things you admire in your middle child. Point out his or her good qualities - whether it be a willingness to help out others or a great enthusiasm for life. This returned respect will reinforce the positive encouragement you are giving your middle child, because when respect is reciprocated it grows even more.

3. Be Sure to Spend Quality Time with Your Middle Child.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your middle child is to neglect to give them quality time. It is easy for your child to feel lost when they are sandwiched in between siblings.

The older child is often more responsible and has more privileges, and the younger child is often the life of the party and thought of as cute enough to get away with practically anything. Give your middle child plenty of your time, and the reassurance that they are special to you. This will lessen the competition between the siblings and allow for a positive relationship to continue to develop. When your middle child truly understands that they do not need to compete with siblings for your attention, there will be much more respect and consideration between them.

Being a parent of multiple children is both a blessing and a challenge. Anger can erupt in the group when you least expect it, and it can be explosive at times. By building respect among your children for each other, things will sail more smoothly in your home. Use your special position as parent to encourage your middle child to see the strengths in their siblings that will help them all grow closer together.