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Monique Polak's Books

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Middle Children Unite!!

I am reading a fascinating book called The Secret Power of Middle Children by Catherine Salmon and Katrin Schumann. It's making me reflect about the influence birth order can have on our lives. The authors argue that middle children have special strengths which they must develop in order to differentiate themselves from their eldest and youngest siblings. (By the way, Salmon and Schumann say any child who is not an only, an eldest or a youngest, qualifies as a middle.)

So here, in a nutshell, is the general theory: Parents focus more on their eldest and youngest children than on their middle kids. The down side for middles is they miss their parents' attention, but there's an up side, too. Because middles are left more to their own devices, they have more freedom to become who they want to be.

There's more to the theory: Typically, eldest children tend to be bossy take-charge sorts. (I hope my big brother is not reading this!) Youngest children tend to be ... well ... spoiled. (Now I'm worried that my little sister may be reading this blog entry.) Salmon and Schumann say middle children are often creative and go out of their way to avoid conflict. They also describe middle children as "friendship specialists" -- a trait they say middle children cultivate in order to build connections outside their families.

So if, like me, you're working on a book or a story, you might think about the role of birth order in your characters' lives.

I write a about self-help books for the Montreal Gazette, and I'm reviewing The Secret Power of Middle Children for my October column. How 'bout I let you know when the column appears?

Signed, Middle Child

 

Listening, Telling and Writing
Stan Lee on Writing
 

Comments

Guest - Lu Ditti on Wednesday, 12 October 2011 09:52

I'm sort of a middle child / first child. My older sister was adopted before I was born, and then I came along and then two more children after me. I fit into both, and have both sets of troubles and bonuses.

I'm sort of a middle child / first child. My older sister was adopted before I was born, and then I came along and then two more children after me. I fit into both, and have both sets of troubles and bonuses.
Monique Polak on Wednesday, 12 October 2011 11:15

Hi Lu! Sounds to me like you've got a story to write! Perhaps you're already writing it!

Hi Lu! Sounds to me like you've got a story to write! Perhaps you're already writing it! :)
Guest - Jacob on Tuesday, 17 July 2012 13:07

I'm a middle child too and don't get allot of attention. I'm 17 and am in high school miserably failing slowly. My parents yell at me for every little thing I do wrong, and I don't get attention. But hey, I do get some bonuses from that, as I just stay in my room and play video games. Even though I don't get many real friends at school, I get "friends" on my online games. Well since you seem young I'll just close it up there, I guess middle children do get these "bonuses".... and maybe I'll accomplish my dreams once I move out.

I'm a middle child too and don't get allot of attention. I'm 17 and am in high school miserably failing slowly. My parents yell at me for every little thing I do wrong, and I don't get attention. But hey, I do get some bonuses from that, as I just stay in my room and play video games. Even though I don't get many real friends at school, I get "friends" on my online games. Well since you seem young I'll just close it up there, I guess middle children do get these "bonuses".... and maybe I'll accomplish my dreams once I move out.
Guest - Monique P on Thursday, 19 July 2012 16:30

Hi Jacob, Great to get your comment. I get the impression from your writing that you have a good sense of humour. Best of all, you can laugh at yourself. (Most people are not so good at that!) Here's what I want to know: do you write stories or keep a journal. (I think everyone should, especially people who, like you, have a good sense of humour and express themselves well.) One more thought: maybe you should come up with ideas to write video games. I believe that is a big business!! Anyway, thanks for posting your comment. Of course, now I'm curious to know where you live. Bye for now from Monique P




Hi Jacob, Great to get your comment. I get the impression from your writing that you have a good sense of humour. Best of all, you can laugh at yourself. (Most people are not so good at that!) Here's what I want to know: do you write stories or keep a journal. (I think everyone should, especially people who, like you, have a good sense of humour and express themselves well.) One more thought: maybe you should come up with ideas to write video games. I believe that is a big business!! Anyway, thanks for posting your comment. Of course, now I'm curious to know where you live. Bye for now from Monique P
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