Here is a nice little reminder of the things it is so easy to do, without meaning to really do harm: http://ht.ly/8yvaB
The brutal reality is that children do feel constantly judged and compared, even if you do everything perfectly. Middle children in particular tend to feel underappreciated and unloved, just from the practical reality that they are not the ‘first child’ to be making each step, or the sweet little one! You have to overcompensate sometimes just to get a level field.
But it is very, very easy to slip into the sort of mistakes listed in the article too. I know I have done it and most parents do in some way. It is a constant task, especially when you have some real and substantial frustrations at times, to keep yourself from undermining, criticising and comparing. But you can be sure each slight is being locked away, to be pondered on by the child at a later moment.
It is such a sad thing to think that we put such huge amounts of time, effort and love into our children, but yet the process of raising children can often leave the child-parent relationship in tatters. Effectively, if you don’t work hard to avoid that situation, you will be in it.