It’s the No 1 cause of rear seat aggro – but when three people need to sit in the back of a car, someone has to be piggy in the middle.
Ankle tapping, elbows in the ribs, constant squawking, you just don’t want to be either side of that centre stage.
The shenanigans of two teenagers refusing to budge from their outside berths – even just to let a sibling into the dreaded centre perch – plus the abusive language and menacing threats that follow have delayed many a journey.
But while sitting in the middle has long been considered the short straw, new research conducted by Skoda, shows that being a centre seat child could set you up for success in later life, particularly in business.
The study of more than 1,000 Brits with two or more siblings shows that 90 per cent of people in ‘director’ level positions sat in the middle, while nearly three quarters of business owners and three fifths of senior managers also found themselves between brothers and sisters when on the road.
The developments may be to do with the personality traits that middle seat kids develop as Skoda’s research for the Octavia family car shows that 44 per cent of them are now described as easy going.
Reasonable (28 per cent), patient (25 per cent), level headed (21 per cent) and adaptable (21 per cent) also score highly, while some 80 per cent of middle seat kids attribute their work-life success to their childhood car position.
Consultant child psychologist and mum of three Laverne Antrobus says: “This research by Skoda into family car journeys is really interesting.
“Cars are a unique environment and a lot can be revealed when everyone is sitting together in a confined space. It’s fascinating to see how a seating position in the back of the car, often over many years, can directly reflect or influence our personalities.
“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, interestingly, in their careers.”
Although avoiding the least popular seating position was the source of arguments for 43 per cent of families, over two-thirds of middle seat children actually enjoyed it.
And one in ten respondents said they opt for the middle position during family road trips even now.