Middle Child Syndrome: The Woes of being a 10th Grader


Adina Frankel, Writer

Almost every family has at least one kid who suffers from “Middle Child Syndrome.” You know the symptoms: No one pays any attention to me. How come he gets to go to sleep later? You never let me take off of school like that!

The circumstances are the same across all families. The oldest got the most attention when he was born, the youngest was spoiled and everyone’s favorite, but the middle children? They just get lost in the shuffle, or so they claim.

Well, school families are no different.  There’s always that one grade that struggles to find its place in the “sibling hierarchy” of school.  Inevitably, that grade is the 10th grade.

You see, 9th graders are new,  they’re trying to find their places, and teachers and students alike look out for them.  Seniors are great, they know the ins and outs of everything, they’ve already figured out who their friends are (for the most part) and where they fit in. And they’ve got one foot out the door anyway.  The 11th graders, because the Seniors are on their way out, probably feel the most stable and secure in school. They know their places, more or less, they have their friends, more or less, they know what clubs or programs they’re interested in, more or less…

It’s the 10th grade that’s stuck in the middle, not quite “self-actualized” yet, but no longer the “baby of the family” either.  When you’re in 10th grade, you don’t usually know exactly where you belong. Where you fit in. Who your long-term friends are going to be. Which teachers you connect with. What leadership positions you’ll enjoy.

Let’s be honest. 10th grade is like all of teenage social anxiety and confusion stuffed into one year.

So, during the week of December 11th, the tenth grade attended a program called the Sister Soldier. The mission of the program, as explained on the card the students received, was to “alleviate the pain caused by the often mean and hurtful ways that us girls treat one another and treat ourselves; the goal is to empower us with kindness, self-love, and acceptance, ultimately changing the way we view ourselves and view each other.”

Why did only the 10th grade receive this program? Because the 10th grade suffers from Middle Child Syndrome and an overdose of Social Angst and deserves some support.

Trish speaks to the 10th grade about the consequences of bullying

Personally, as a tenth grader, I thought the program was amazing. Trish, the head of the Sister Soldier program, was a kind woman and everyone wanted to listen to her and hear what she had to say. She spoke about the good and the bad about social media, the way we should treat one another, how girls can react to certain situations, and many more conflicts. I think it really had an impression on most girls and many were able to relate to what Trish spoke about.

At the end of the program, Trish distributed two cards. One card was an apology card and the other was a compliment card. We wrote a letter on the card to a girl in the grade and gave it to her. I think that most girls took these letters seriously and wrote from their hearts. I know I did.