* Names have been changed to protect the fictional.
Jenna wants to know: How will these family dynamics affect Haley's relationship with her brother and sister when they are found later?
You've got some built-in tension here, Jenna, which is great. Whatever reaction you plan Haley to have will no doubt be, at the impressionable age of 14, overblown. Teenagers can be sullen, giggly, moody, energetic, rebellious, oversocial, disrespectful or any combination of the above one day and another combination the next. The daughter of a king and queen is no exception. :)
For all practical purposes, Haley is a firstborn only child. (Experts say that any time there is a ten-year of greater gap between siblings, it's like starting over again in birth order.) Haley will have all the tendencies of a firstborn because she will think of herself as an only child.
Alfred Adler was a psychologist who did a lot of work with birth order. He believed that the position of a person's birth order in the family had a profound development on a child's personality. His theory isn't based on empirical research, but he believed that firstborn children are dethroned by the birth of other siblings, causing the firstborn to now share parental attention with a "rival." In order to cope with this traumatic betrayal, firstborns either become problem children or they strongly emulate their parents. Because of their identification with their parents and their perceived loss of status, power and authority become extremely important to firstborn children.
So this is something to think about with Haley, bearing in mind it's not validated research. But we probably all know someone who might fit this bill. (Stereotypes are based on reality, after all.) When her brother and sister are found, she'll feel like her position was "usurped," even though she is actually younger than they are. To add to her problems, she already felt betrayed by her mother's constant vigilance in looking for her lost children. So Haley probably would already have a heart dose of jealousy for these siblings she's never met.
This seems like a very likely course of action for her to take. She's a teen, and she's got highly volatile emotions at this age. Children feel things so strongly, but they don't yet possess the intellectual insight or personal control to process these feelings with words. Instead, they use behaviors (quite similar to toddlers and small children). Teens at least can verbalize things, but often they are too overwhelmed by their emotions to sit down and actually express it.
For my Christian readership, they will identify the scenario you have in your book as being similar to Jesus' parable of the prodigal son. When the younger son asked for his inheritance and took off to live the fast life, the oldest son stayed there at home with his father. The father kept vigil and prayed for the return of his youngest...all while the eldest son stayed and worked hard. When the youngest returned, the father was overjoyed and ran out to meet him, bestowing on him a ring and robe and sandals and killed the fatted calf to have a big party for him. It's usually a feel-good parable that ends there...but there are a few verses that follow describing the eldest son's reaction...and the guy is angry. (Luke 15:11-32)
But I'd say you're free to have her react in many ways. She might be relieved that her brother and sister are finally found, because maybe for her, she'll feel that she actually got her mother back. There's something unsettling about what a person doesn't know. It can consume us, wondering about what might have been. Now that they are found, her mother won't be absorbed with looking for them. So you could spin it more positively.
Let me know what you think and if you have any additional questions by leaving them in the comment section. All comments are welcome!
Once again....the queue is low right now...so it's a good timeto get your questions in!
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