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Or­der in the house

The com­pelling ques­tion (“Born this way”, July 5-6) of whether the birth or­der of a child dic­tates the way he or she continues into adult­hood is a par­a­digm steeped in many vari­ables. I put more stock in Sir Fran­cis Gal­ton's na­ture ver­sus nur­ture the­ory and side with the nur­ture hy­poth­e­sis as more crit­i­cal to how a child de­vel­ops. Up­bring­ing in a lov­ing, car­ing and nur­tur­ing en­vi­ron­ment has a huge im­pact on where chil­dren end up as adults. Stud­ies over the years of twins and of adopted chil­dren have shown a more de­fin­i­tive un­der­stand­ing of the role of par­ent­ing as a key in­gre­di­ent. I know from be­ing the first­born in my fam­ily, with one younger brother, that be­ing raised by a sin­gle mother in the 1970s we were equally loved and cared for and given the same op­por­tu­ni­ties. The role of the par­ent in a child's path to suc­cess needs to be more deeply ex­plored and de­bated.

Paul Hen­der­son, Wyn­num I won­der if birth or­der ap­plies to twins, es­pe­cially those of the same sex? Some twins I know are highly com­pet­i­tive into ad­vanced age. Do twins have added chal­lenges to face in the fam­ily dy­nam­ics, I won­der, or is the birth or­der the­ory just a lit­tle stereo­typed?

Judi Cox, Spring­field

Pre­scrip­tion : laugh­ter

How en­cour­ag­ing and up­lift­ing it was to read of ac­tor, au­thor and co­me­dian Billy Con­nolly's pos­i­tive at­ti­tude, de­spite hav­ing Parkin­son's dis­ease and bat­tling prostate cancer (“The Grin Reaper”, July 5-6). As a re­tired Viet­nam vet­eran with post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der and tak­ing a host of med­i­ca­tion for de­pres­sion, I have just dis­cov­ered that the best medicine against ad­ver­sity is laugh­ter and to have eter­nal hope.

Ru­dolf Bojtschuk, Bris­bane

Pills not the cure-all

Read­ing the ar­ti­cle about parac­eta­mol (“Cu­rate's egg”, July 5-6), I be­came alarmed. If parac­eta­mol is do­ing us harm, tak­ing a dif­fer­ent pill is not the an­swer. Change in diet, ex­er­cise and men­tal health will work much bet­ter. If only doc­tors would pre­scribe real food, rather than tablets, per­haps our health sys­tem would im­prove. Then again, mas­sive phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies have noth­ing to gain from this. Jemma Rain­bow, Hope Is­land

Heads-up for head trauma

Good to see Mary-Rose MacColl (Up­front, July 5-6) draw at­ten­tion to the risk of in­jury in con­tact sports. About 20 years ago my son suf­fered con­cus­sion dur­ing an Aus­tralian rules game and af­ter­wards got on the wrong bus and went to an­other town in coun­try Vic­to­ria, where for­tu­nately some­one knew him. He was told to wear a hel­met but that then made him a tar­get for other play­ers, and there were no rules in place to deal with that. There has been some at­ten­tion drawn to the prob­lem of this kind of vi­o­lence in in­ter­views with play­ers who are now trou­bled by CTE (chronic trau­matic en­cephalopa­thy) but, un­til zero tol­er­ance be­gins at ju­nior level, it will only con­tinue.

Elaine Fraser, Taigum

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