Gingerbread Aliens is told through the eyes of David Bradberrie. He displays all the typical traits of a middle child. He is use to being the quiet under achiever, almost lost and forgotten in the family and happy to keep the status quo. If there is one thing David does not like, it is being caught in the middle of all the inevitable mischief he and his two brothers always find themselves in. Brian is the classic gifted and talented older brother. Full of ideas and scientific theories, he'll push the limits of the envelope in the interest of research and development every time.
Simon is the much loved baby of the family who can do no wrong. He is a scallywag and practical joker as he knows he can get away with evreything he tries.
Poor David is a nervous wreck! It doesn't matter what he tries to do, his brothers lead him further and deeper into trouble.
As a parent reading Gingerbread Aliens with our children what are the lessons that can be learnt?
Treat each of our children equally? I don't think so! Treat each of our children as individuals. - That's better. :)
It is important to remember that each of our children although raised in the same household in the same manner, still have their very own unique characteristics, needs and wants. We may try to bring them up the same but they will have their own ideas and will respond accordingly. It goes back to the old nature verses nurture question. I am a believer in the theory that the two go hand in hand. We raise our children to the best of our abiltiy and teach certain moral standards or expectations but at a certain point nature kicks in and their personality develops from within. Whether that is genetic, linking back through many generations of our family tree or simply a product of their own self development.
It is especially important to the middle child to be treated as an individual, someone who can feel special and unique. In the busy day to day running of life it is easy to forget the middle child. We are so busy praising the triumphs of the first sibling and hugging the "baby" we forget to take time for the one in the middle.
It's easy to make time by doing things togther as a family. Swimming, picnics, fishing, bushwalking are all family oriented and lots of fun, but the problem is the middle child is still lost amongst the crowd. Mum and dad are still giving attention to all three siblings. What the middle child needs (and in fact the other siblings too) is time out to shine on a regular basis, with one parent. With our boys for example, our middle son went to archery with his dad every Sunday. Time to interact alone with dad and feel worthy of his time. Our eldest son had weekly piano lesons. Admittedly either one of us could take him, but he could also choose to practice with whichever parent listening that he wanted. The youngest son loved playing soccer. He had great team spirit and enjoyed dad watching his game every Saturday morning. Sometimes even I was allowed to attend, especially when our team was on canteen roster!
Being a parent of three siblings can be tricky, but with a little careful planning and awareness we can muddle through. Somehow they manage to grow up to be unique and wonderful independent individuals that we can be very proud of.