This is the second part of a series. Part 1 is available here.
In the 1950s and 1960s, parental advice regarding twins was rare. My mother received a good piece of advice from her nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital in Hollywood. She advised her to keep her name bracelets because it would be easier for her to distinguish us. The nurse advised that twins should be taught to have individuality and that they need to learn through interactions and activities that they are both individuals. The development of individuality was undermined by a focus on twins’ similarities.
Some parents are beginning to realize that focusing too much on similarities can cause competition and even separation in adulthood.
It is becoming increasingly clear that twins can be a difficult task. Parents are now familiar with how to help twins be unique individuals. This advice is a common way to avoid fighting or competition among double-troubled twins. The advice to pay attention to each child’s individuality and develop what makes them unique is also agreed upon and essential. However, raising twins requires parents to be more understanding and intervening than just focusing on individuality.
These are other important issues parents need to address as soon as possible.
How to Deal with Twins’ Exhausting and Unmanageable Demands
First, twins raising them is an emotional and physical challenge. Even with the help and support of family and nannies it can be very difficult to maintain a calm and organized family life. Many moms and dads believe it is impossible to maintain a functioning, normal-looking home. The double trouble twins can cause makes it difficult to think straight. If one of your twins is crying, her sister will join in. One twin is hungry, and their sister or brother is also hungry. Because they are tired and need attention, the pair scream and hit each other. It is impossible to care for them all at once. Parents become frustrated. How can parents cope with the exhausting and often problematic twins?
Advice on how to live through a twin pair’s childhood is rampant. Twin-parent market is flooded with books, podcasts, and groups for parents. The best advice is available, but it’s not easy to know where to look. It’s like looking for the best deal in town for peace of mind. Twins can cause emotional problems in parents that can be difficult and stressful. One twin is more important to mom, and the other twin is more important for dad. This separation can cause anguish for the whole family. Or both children may be labeled “the twins,” which leads to not enough attention to individuality and real differences. What happens if both twins go in different directions? Which one is the follower? Or, how can you avoid favoritism How can each child get the things they need and not just their twins’ needs? What does it mean for you to give equally to your children?
These questions should be addressed by parents, who need to take the time to reflect on them and make their own decisions.
The Right Quantity of Help
First, I think of the parents who are desperate to buy a house and seek professional and family help. Although help is essential, too many cooks can cause chaos and indecisiveness. When there is too much help from the grandparents or a trusted child development expert or a best friend, the parents’ sense of authority is diminished. The problem of who is responsible is made more complicated by the fact that twins can work together to achieve their goals. A pair can work out a plan together and execute it with finesse, going above any household authority.
Here’s a personal example. At the age of four, my sister and I wanted to test the floor polish under our kitchen sink. We thought it tasted like fruit punch. We opened the cabinet containing cleaning supplies together. We were all asleep, so we opened the cabinet containing floor polish (which was toxic) ourselves. Mom heard us, and ran to check out what we were doing. Mom immediately dialed 911 and took us by ambulance to a local hospital. There, we had our stomachs pumped. This story is true. My sister also survived.
The power of twin authority (twin-power) is very difficult to overcome. This requires real attention from caregivers. These suggestions will help you identify what is wrong.
- You can trust your gut instincts to tell you what is happening in your house.
- You should make practical decisions rather than perfect ones about the twins’ problems.
- Remind yourself of how difficult it can be to raise twins and allow yourself some space from your children.
- Twins can have special needs due to their dependence on each other for comfort and socializing as well as making decisions.
- Twins who are too close together can delay language development. When twins are always together, they are also more able to undermine mom and dad’s authority.
There is so much information, research and support available online, in books, or from childhood specialists. Parents and educators have a lot of knowledge about twins.
My experience working with twins and their families has taught me that finding solutions is always a good idea. Twins can have special issues, which I have dealt with repeatedly. Twin special problems will be solved by a positive “I can do this” attitude and careful attention to the details of your parenting concern. There is no single solution and no way to do it quickly.
Most parents are well aware of the importance of not dressing their children alike. However, there are still many things to be learned. Separate your twin children by their interests in all areas of development, avoid “compare-and-contrast” language and thinking, and try very hard to treat them equally. Your twin parenting issues cannot be solved by a neighbor, friend, or family member. You will surely find solutions. Your children will eventually outgrow your solutions, and you will need to start over. You will be further behind if you give up.
Leave a Reply