picnic.jpgNews & Tips for Parents

Dear Twin Friends

Dear Twin Friends,

I am so happy to announce that my new book, “Twin Dilemmas: Changing Relationships Throughout the Lifespan” will be available for purchase through Amazon on May 9, 2017. My hope is that my book helps twins heal the pain of separation and loneliness from their twin.

Writing “Twin Dilemmas” was an act of determination and passion. I gave my all to explain the challenges and rewards of being a twin in a world of non-twins. The heartbreak of separation and loneliness is uncovered in the words of twins. Experiences of: loss through separation, developing an authentic relationship with your twin, and estrangement are told to twins who are looking for edification of their pain.

The strong and enduring connections that twins face with other twins and their own twin if they can resolve their resentments are told and retold throughout the book. Amazingly and understandably, twins who come from different walks of life and different places around the world understand one another very quickly. Healing of past “emotional hurt” is possible through the support of new twin friends.

Issues of attachment to significant others is different for twins. Unique experiences with intimacy can be confusing for others who are close to twins. Why twins long for intense relationships is explained. How to deal with a non-twin is suggested.

I hope you will find time to look at my latest book.

Sincerely,
Barbara Klein

Posted on Saturday, April 15, 2017 at 03:44PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

Why Do Parents Keep Asking Me, “Is My Child Really Gifted”?

Actually, I wish I had the one magic answer that would satisfy parents who ask me “Is my child really gifted?” in desperation. “Are you sure my child is gifted? Maybe you (or someone else) made a mistake.” Parents ask this question even when they know that their child is gifted and they have them enrolled in a gifted program or gifted school.

I wonder, Do parents want a different kind of child who is easier to raise—a less challenging child? Whether their son or daughter is having problems listening at home or at school, making friendships, motivating themselves to do their homework, or fulfilling responsibilities at home, precocious children and teenagers can be very frustrating for sure. Heightened sensitivity and unending curiosity looks very similar to ADD or ADHD or Asperger Syndrome, but giftedness is not a psychiatric diagnosis. While social issues and hyperactive behavior are common for gifted children, they are not mental disorders. Challenging characteristics of gifted children need to be attended to from the perspective of intensity and over-sensitivities—for what they are. Look to the community of gifted parents for solutions.

What I have found is that gifted children pick up their parents’ frustration and blame themselves for not following the rules or not being obedient. Smart and perfectionistic kids begin to believe that they are not smart or somehow inadequate and take on a “not enough” identity that makes problem solving even more entrenched and harder to deal with for everyone involved. Parents get too intense about their children’s problems. “What did I do wrong?” “Will he or she be as quirky as my genius brother?”

Stop over-analyzing your child’s problem and just try to help them do better with the issues they are struggling with. Do not “awfulize.” By this I mean don’t think that just because your child has only a few friends that he or she will never grow up and get married. Keep perspective alive in your mind always and your life with your challenging and beautiful children will be a lot easier. If you get a chance read what I have written about Gifted Parent Traps in my two books on gifted children, “Raising Gifted Kids” and “The Challenges of Gifted Children.”

Ask yourself (before you feel like you will fall off a cliff):
1.  How serious is this problem on a scale of 1 to 10?
2.  Is this me over-reacting and making the problem more serious than necessary?
3.  Who can help to put my problem into perspective?

Ask your son or daughter in a calm voice:
1.  How can I help you solve your problem with homework, etc.?
2.  Do you think mom and dad had this problem?

Posted on Saturday, April 15, 2017 at 11:56AM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

Twin Dilemmas: Changing Relationships Throughout the Life Span

My new book will be available in May 2017.

http://www.estrangedtwins.com/

Posted on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 06:50PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

Twin Estrangement Skype Group

Please contact me if you would like to join a Twin Estrangement Skype Group. Thank you, Dr. Barbara Klein (310) 443-4182 or drbarbaraklein@gmail.com

Posted on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 06:46PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

Twin Estrangement Has Many Faces

Twin estrangement that grows out of unresolved anger, disappointment, and resentment is very emotionally complicated and confusing. Obviously, there are many distinct and intensely sad and forlorn faces of twins who are estranged. I know of this particular kind of pain because I have dealt with being estranged and then connected and then disconnected from my twin sister for over 45 years. Professionally, I have worked with twins who need help understanding the challenges of being a twin, which includes getting along with your twin. I will bring to life some diverse images of twin struggles in words. I’ll mention the factors that contribute to estrangement as well as what might be an inevitable outcome of these conflicts in adulthood.

Fortunately, twins who manage to “get along” and resolve their differences do not suffer from being estranged from one another. Because their parents have attended to their individual development and twin attachment, “get-along twins” learn to honor one another’s differences and accomplishments. Supporting one another is not treacherous or burdensome as it is with estranged twins. However, deep trust and easy communication make meeting new close friends very difficult for twins who really do get along. Loneliness can be a serious side effect of being separated for get-along twins. 

Fighting is obvious between “on-again off-again twins” who vehemently disagree about serious and minor issues. Dependent and needy twins who share this type of attachment ignore each other’s feelings and don’t talk about the deepness of their suffering—what is upsetting them—in a productive way. “On-again off-again twins” make up when they need each other for support and insight. Telling one another and often agreeing that their fighting is normal and expectable is seen as a solution. Understanding their animosity is not as important to them as just being on the same side of the fence.  Estrangement from one another can be intense in spite of a lack of an ability to move forward.

Hidden from cultural stereotypes, try to imagine the “leave-me-alone twins” who only talk when there is a very dire stress to contend with, such as a wedding or a funeral or a serious illness. “Leave-me-alone twins” are too careful with one another’s feelings. Valuing harmony over the real practicality of life they form a deep attachment based upon superficiality with each other. While they do feel disappointed and resentful of one another and seek out therapy for their own unhappiness, they are extremely reluctant to really work on their relationship. Estrangement is less prevalent with these twin pairs because they fear the side effects of loneliness and anger at each other far too much.

And then there are the “afraid-of-one-another twins” who never talk no matter what because of a series of serious arguments that cannot be resolved. Treated as “halves of a whole” they each see life very differently. They are judgmental and ashamed of one another because they received negligent parenting. Although outspoken and well-spoken, these twins use up all their words fighting to change the other’s point of view and to finalize who is right and what is wrong. Seeking out individual therapy they develop a good sense of themselves outside of their twin relationship. As they grow into older years they can accept that they are disconnected. Regret about estrangement is less profound because of insight and acceptance.

Estrangement that is most disastrous are “twins with murderous rage” who cannot tolerate being with one another because they have been totally pitted against each other as young children. The favored twin has to be right. There is no room for argument from the victimized twin who has to take the abuse or disconnect completely. Their roles of opposition are so strong that any closeness is very short lived. Movies and news stories usually reflect this totally difficult and dangerous form of estrangement. 

Common to all estrangement is an underlying anxiety, a loneliness, and a longing for reparation from painful separation. All twins long for the closeness that they shared from conception and into childhood. The bond twins share is primary; like the mother-child bond it cannot be replaced. Misunderstood and mistreated by each other, twin communication can be destroyed because of fighting and unrealistic expectations.

There is no one solution that will reduce estrangement. What does not help estrangement is endless fighting. Acceptance of the complexity of the twin attachment is also critical.

Posted on Friday, March 17, 2017 at 04:32PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

Estranged Twins website

I have a new website for Twin Research and Estranged Twins Support:

http://estrangedtwins.com

Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2017 at 06:37PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

People ask, “Does your child have Asperger syndrome?”

The social development of gifted children is remarkably unique. Often confused with Asperger syndrome or attention deficit disorder by professionals who have limited experience with gifted children, these diagnostic labels are misleading and create a host of stresses and misunderstandings for parents and their children. Social hyperactivity (ADHD) or social withdrawal (autistic spectrum disorder) are common diagnoses that lead to misperceptions and inappropriate interventions.

Social development for prodigies and precocious children evolves with curious highs and lows in comparison to non-gifted children. Gifted children from a very early age can find their peers uninteresting and prefer to play with older children or adults who are as quick as they are. Having more mature interests than same age peers, playing with age mates/same age peers can be boring and frustrating. Gifted children have sophisticated interests and talents that need to be expressed and understood in a social situation—with other people looking on. Intellectual curiosity, a heightened sensitivity to others and the world around them, creative interests, and musical and athletic talents are intense and can be hard to understand or believe. Directing the growth of any type of giftedness is very difficult. People unfamiliar with gifted kids can view them as extremely odd. Without a doubt and in all actuality, gifted kids are remarkable people who need to be nurtured, not seen as as misfits/oddballs.

Social issues will also be apparent because gifted children can be very emotionally intense or deal with their feeling by keeping their feelings hidden behind “their imaginary screen.” Feelings will break through in tantrums that are frightening to everyone including your child. The child who is a nonstop talker or the child who stays in the corner reading a book are expressing emotional intensity in different ways. Separation anxiety and fearfulness about the future are common traits that make friendship-making unique. Teachers and parents become concerned that their child is not behaving normally.

Other problems can arise when gifted kids attend school, such as:
1.  Difficulty following the rules that they did not make up themselves (gifted kids like to make their own rules).
2.  Boredom with ideas that are not compelling to them.
3.  Withdrawal or refusal to go to school.
4.  Acting out anger and frustration in the classroom.
5.  Difficulty working in a group in the classroom or on the playground.
6.  Over-reactiveness to directions from parents and teachers.

What helps:
1.  Patience and understanding.
2.  Extra attention and encouragement to emotional issues.
3.  Staying calm and positive.

Finally, finding teachers, other parents and professionals who have experience and knowledge of gifted children can really help.

Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2017 at 03:11PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

Believe It or Not, You Can Stop Fighting with Your Twin

My personal and professional experiences lead me to conclude that continuous twin fighting can be destructive to the twin relationship and to each twin’s individual self-esteem. Twin fighting is intense and can include screaming at one another as well as physical fights. The escalation of fighting leads, in very serious situations, to estrangement. Twin fighting is intense for several reasons.

1.  Twins share childhood memories and experiences that can be confusing later in life.
2.  Twins share their parents’ love and attention, which causes anger, resentment and oftentimes deprivation.
3.  Twins are reliant on each other in a profound way for their own individual ability to function in the world. For example, one is the outgoing twin, the other is the introverted caretaker.
4.  Twin fighting is more volatile and pronounced than sibling fighting because of what is shared and what dependencies are established. Needing one another to feel whole is a serious problem.

Understanding and accepting that twins have more conflicted relationships than nontwins is important because acceptance of a problem is the first step to solving a problem. What helps to diffuse the anger, hatred, disappointment and resentment between twins is based on the following ideas.

1.  Twins are bonded to each other as soul-mates and, often, as parental figures to one another. Their double attachment makes differences of opinion overly important.
2.  Resolution of differences in life style and opinion is not as possible or as important as twins think or believe.
3.  Differences are normal and expectable and important. There is no one right way or one perfect path, although twins can fight about this issue continually.
4.  Respect and pride in your twin is extremely helpful to a positive relationship, as it contributes to a feeling of success and wholeness in each twin for different reasons.
5.  Fighting about the past erodes the good aspects of your relationship. Forgive if you can your resentments toward your twin. Live in the present and you will get along better.  
6.  If you need to argue keep the discussion and decision in the present time. Where will we go to dinner tonight? Who is in charge of making the holiday plans?

Conclusion
Working out differences with your twin can be extremely difficult because of the closeness you share. Find a way to support your own point of view without being mean and shameful to your twin.

Posted on Friday, December 9, 2016 at 01:15PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

Raising Multiples radio interview

"Researcher and therapist, Dr. Barbara Klein, author of three books on the psychology of twin development, and a mother of 11-year-old twins, Shelly Halley, will discuss the many complex aspects of twin-ship and having/living as multiples. Do they really have ESP? Do they always love each other? What if they hate each other? What can parents do to help them form healthy identities and attachments? "

http://www.forwomenoverforty.com/

Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at 04:19PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

You Can Make Your Holidays Happy

Born intense and dramatic, gifted children and teenagers can overact to anticipated holiday cheer and then feel very disappointed and distraught. Confusion over “what is going on” and what to expect from parents, Santa Claus, extended family and friends is predictable when over-the-top promises are given out to make your kids happy and feel loved.

I remember gifted children who are afraid of all the relatives, strange food and commotion that goes on around the holidays. Set the tone for the holidays by focusing on one event at a time. Here are some thoughts to make your holidays warm and nurturing.

1.  Make a plan that is realistic in terms of your time and family budget, and stick to your plan.

2.  Have your children help you with the preparations.

3.  Make it a rule to not show off. For example, don’t have a fancy catered dinner and overdress your tree. There’s nothing wrong with pot roast.

4.  Limit gift giving.

5.  Talk about what you are grateful for with your family.

6.  Make authentic relationships the core of the holiday. Try to avoid gossip and negative insinuations.

7.  Spread out events instead of packing the house with too many guests.

Good-enough common sense will promote holiday happiness.

Posted on Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 02:31PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment