Being a twin creates special dilemmas for parents of twins and for twins themselves. Twins can have emotional problems separating from one another when they are children. These problems can be manifested at home or at school and vary from child to child, given the quality of parenting they have received.
Adolescent twins intensely want experiences of separateness from their brother or sister. Oftentimes teenage twins look for new friends but have difficulty interacting with others who are not their twin because they are not sure how to be a friend.
Adult twins often miss their twin sister or brother even though they are involved with a spouse and children.
If you have problems related to your twin sister or brother, or because you are a twin, call me for a free 15-minute consultation. Other consultations are done on a sliding scale.
I have listed the most frequently asked questions from twins and parents. If you have a specific question that you want answered, contact me.
Why is raising twins so difficult?
Besides the real "hands on" double trouble of two children to care for who are the same age, psychological problems related to identity and individuality arise that are extremely difficult and time consuming to attend to. Parents of twins need to relate to the real differences between their twin children, not what they label as the differences between them. Responding to differences is very difficult because twins are constantly changing in their relationship to one another and to their parents.
How early should my twins have separate experiences that do not include their co-twin?
Attempts to treat each child uniquely and distinctly should be a part of the early bond between mother and infant twin and father and infant twin. This is easily accomplished by giving your children separate feeding times as babies and then separate bath and special "alone" time with parents. Although twins may like to be together and be calmer in each other’s presence, it is well worth your energy to not give in to your urge to let them be each other’s constant companion.
Can I dress my children alike?
When your children are very young it probably does not make a difference. I believe that as early as possible you should give your twin children the opportunity to select some of their own clothes. This will become an easy way that your children learn to feel comfortable making their own choices about what they wear. Dressing differently helps them develop their individuality.
Should my children share their toys?
Obviously toys can be shared. But as early as possible twin children should have their own toys and special collections because this also encourages individuality.
What should I do when people who see us on the street or in the market ask: "Are they twins?"
This is a problem that parents confront from the moment their twins go out in their baby carriage. Having a strategy for this attention from outsiders is a starting point. You must realize that as twins get older this attention is problematic and annoying.
When should my children be in separate classrooms?
Usually twins are separated in kindergarten. I think that this is a good time to start separating them. If they need more time together at school do not force separation. I go into this in my book, Not All Twins Are Alike.
How can I deal with their anger at one another?
Let them be angry at one another but do not let them hurt each other or disrupt your family .
How do I treat them fairly?
If you treat them as individuals, then you will treat them fairly.
Twins ask: "When have I done enough for my twin brother or sister?"
This is a hard question to answer in a general way. But, if you think you are too involved with your twin you probably are. Twins need to learn to give each other space.
Do all twins fight?
Yes, all twins fight with each other. Twins are very close to each other and very sensitive to each other’s feelings. They share a deep bond with one another. This means that your twin’s opinion is very important to you. If there is a disagreement between twins it is likely to be more serious than a fight with a friend, parent, or even a spouse. I think that twins realize that fighting between twins is a serious matter and try to avoid conflict.
I feel guilty that I am doing better in my career than my twin. What can I do?
You could buy your twin lunch or a new sweater if you have extra spending money. But try not to compete with your twin or compare yourself as better or worse off.
Why can’t others understand me like my sister or brother does?
All the shared years make verbal and non-verbal communication between twins easy and even automatic. Other people, no matter how close they may be to you, will not be as good a listener as your twin. If you read my book you will understand on a deeper level the intimacy issues that twins have as they grow older.
I am in love and my twin is alone. How much should I include my sister or brother with my new love interest?
Talk with your sister or brother about your concern that they are lonely and then talk with your new partner. Make a decision to include your twin without making her an addition to your new relationship.