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Why your boss was probably a middle-seat child

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Children who sit in the middle seat of the car are more likely to grow up to be successful in later life, particularly in business, research shows.

Family in car

When families take to the roads, parents are always faced with the quandary of how to keep their kids occupied on long journeys.

For those, like me, with more than two children, there is also the added matter of who sits where. 

Stuck in the middle

Child booster chairs mean that, for safety and ease of fitting, one window seat is immediately taken by the youngest child, in this case my two-year-old.

Then my headstrong eight-year-old daughter takes the other.

So does this mean my five-year-old middle offspring, Thomas, is hard done by, stuck in his centrally positioned booster seat?

Well, no, it might be quite the reverse as it turns out.

The next Alan Sugar?

Kid with glasses

This is because, according to research by Škoda about the impact of different car positions and how they affect children in later life, he could become the next Alan Sugar.

You see, even though sitting in the middle has long been thought of as pulling the short straw, being a middle-seat child may well set you up for success in later life, particularly in business.

The study of over 1,000 Brits with two or more siblings shows that 90% of people in director level positions sat in the middle.

Meanwhile, 72% of business owners and 62% of senior managers also found themselves between brothers and sisters when on the road.

Positive personality traits

Of course, there is an argument that successful business people need to be self-centred and driven in the pursuit of achieving their goals.

But we have all worked with people who’ve had these traits yet were unable to get the best out of the people that worked beneath them.

It is therefore intriguing that the personality traits middle-seat kids cultivate are positive.

Almost half (44%) of them are described as "easy-going", while "reasonable", "patient", "level-headed" and "adaptable" also score highly.

'A unique environment'

Kids in backseat

Four-fifths (80%) of middle-seaters attribute their work-life success to their childhood car position.

Consultant child psychologist and mother of three, Laverne Antrobus, says: "Cars are a unique environment and a lot can be revealed when everyone is sitting together in a confined space.

"Whether middle-seat children were made to sit there or not, they seem to develop positive traits, which prove to be of real value to them as adults, and often in their careers."

Although avoiding the least popular seating position was the source of arguments for 43% of families, 66% of middle-seat children actually enjoyed their lot.

Emotional development

Furthermore, one in 10 respondents remains in their allocated position to this day during family road trips.

The analysis has revealed that conversation is often more meaningful in moments of motoring too.

The kids can’t run off or hide, so they engage more, listen better and answer more thoroughly.

Indeed, it appears that if you are a family of five, the car could well be a catalyst to kick-start the emotional development and future professional success of your children.

In-car dynamics

Certainly, for me, it is enthralling to see how in-car dynamics, such as seating positions, can impact on us.

Could it be that my five-year-old son, squashed between his two sisters, will actually benefit from this seating arrangement?

Maybe Thomas will even thank me one day for his middle-kid, middle-seat status?

I guess only time will tell.


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