Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My 6-year-old son is pulling all kinds of annoying crap lately…mostly whining and complaining about things not being fair between siblings or with the universe in general. I think it’s a phase because I remember our oldest acting like a similar pain at this age.
The problem is, every time my husband and I discuss our son in private, my husband gets all wound up and worries about him suffering from Pathetic Middle Child Syndrome. Well, I’m a middle child thankyouverymuch and I get pretty defensive every time he argues his case for PMCS. How do we have a decent conversation without me getting all “Marcia Marcia Marcia” about it?
Signed, Don’t Call Me Marcia
Dear Jan Brady,
As you know, there are plenty of advantages to being a middle child. Like your son gets to be a big brother AND a little brother! And he also…. umm… damn… I thought I’d be able to think of more.
Okay, it’s a bit of a rub being the middle sibling. You’re often not as talented as your older sibling and not as cute as your younger one. You get all the hand me down clothes, fewer photos and less attention which leads most middle children to work on their greatest achievement… WHINING.
But being a middle child is not an excuse. It’s a chance to rise above your lot in life and conquer the world. Or at least that’s what I tell my middle one. She just looks at me and whines that she doesn’t know what I’m talking about.
Look, there are a million reasons why children behave badly and with our demanding reality TV commitments, we don’t have time to always figure it out. Maybe your son really is upset because he is the middle child. Or maybe he’s bummed out that Dino Dan can see dinosaurs and he can’t. Or maybe he’s in the dumps that the Phillies’ second baseman is out with an injury for the foreseeable future. How the hell should you know? “Dancing with the Stars” is on!
Tell your husband that it really doesn’t matter why he’s complaining – so enough with this middle child excuse. You just need to figure out how to improve his behavior. This is pretty much trial and error. Spend some time with him one on one. Try to ignore the whining and only give him attention when he speaks in a normal voice that doesn’t make you wince with agony. Make a chart and give him stars when he behaves well, take away stars when the whining hits full throttle and when he gets a certain amount of stars, he wins a prize…. like a trip to the candy store, extra TV time or a safari vacation! Only you know what will work for him.
I’ve heard this middle-children-annoying-the-hell-out-of-us is just one incredibly long phase. But still just a phase. So hang in there and keep us posted.