I was the middle child in an Hispanic family, the one wedged between the oldest son and the baby daughter. A lot was excused from an oldest son, and who could resist the cuteness of a baby sister?
As the oldest daughter in an Hispanic family, I was expected to learn how to do household chores and learn how to cook, all in preparation of one day marrying and making lots of babies.
My parents had high expectations for all of us and they demanded nothing less than A’s from us in school. They sometimes overlooked my brother’s B’s (cabeza dura), but I was hounded and condemned to hours of study if I dared to bring home anything less than a straight A.
My parents, especially my mother, didn’t care where or when we were scolded. Often it was out in public. I resented the humiliation. It only increased my rebellion and disrespect for authority. I decided I would never treat my children how I was treated.
My children would know I loved them and treated them equally.
Though an education and going to church were non-negotiable, if making an A was not possible, then I expected nothing less than their best.
I never punished them out in public; we waited until we were in private – our home, the car, or the closest public rest room before I corrected them, but I know the wait was worse than the punishment.
I hated being treated like the proverbial middle child but it opened my eyes to such treatment and I am a better parent and grandparent for it.