Raising Multiples: The Comparison Trap With Twins
Raising Multiples: The Comparison Trap With Twins
My very different little darlings are 5 years, 1 month & 6 days old.
I think if you are a twin mom or dad and you say that you have never once compared your twins to one another you would be a complete and total liar 😛 .
Twin parents are told all of the time, since birth or even earlier really, to not compare their children, but is it possible to never EVER compare them in some way? I mean in absolutely no facet of life along on this journey? I think that it is. To what extent you do this and on what level you take this to is what I feel matters most in a realistic way.
I find that there isn’t any actual harm in ‘noting differences’ and making ‘slight comparisons’ internally, unless it causes you distress or worse yet the children themselves any distress or harm to their egos, and in turn their lives. Some parents do this to any number of their children, twins or not. You have to tread lightly here. You always want to praise and be positive towards your individual child’s strengths, not ever noting and harping on their weaknesses. It is never one vs. the other. They will do that to themselves over their lifetimes as it is, as siblings do and even more so twins. It is your job to always boost and boost and boost them up as high as the sky in all that they do, and in all they choose to do, eventually, with their lives. They are different people like any other two siblings right from the start. Twin parents need to realize this and live by those words. It might be easier, granted, for those of us with fraternal twins that look very different physically, but the prior statements should be words to live by for ALL twin parents, identical or fraternal.
Looking back 😆
I don’t think that I ‘compare/ compare’ as much as I note personality differences and very obvious physical differences. These aren’t things I voice. They remain inside of my head. The only time I really compared one vs. the other in any way that I had to really slap myself internally a few times (that I can recall right now) was when they were babies and were going through their milestones. That point in twin life is when it is VERY hard to not compare because one twin is very likely able to do certain things and reach certain goals before the other, which can cause a parent some real worry. Despite being told not to do this it is absolutely easier said than done. Even if you had children before, life circumstances change, people change and grow and memories fade. We forget things. Even if they are written down it is much easier to note differences between two children if they are going through the same stages and phases at the exact same time. There is no forgetting. BOOM- it’s right there in your face.
Different stages at different times =’s perfectly NORMAL!
When my Allie couldn’t sit up and Annie could, as time went on – I worried. I did not worry really when Annie walked 1st because she did so very early for even a singleton child, and I did remember this milestone with my others, as it is a huge one. I was actually fearful of two toddlers walking at the same exact time and being all wobbly all at once, so it worked out well, that 2.5-3 month buffer. But rolling over, sitting up.. I did compare. One was always a bit ahead on things, but nothing was wrong in hindsight, so I assure you to not freak out about this if you are in that boat. At 5 years old I could not have more beautiful, more intelligent and lovely little girls that are perfect in every way. They both have their own identities, their own personalities and their own talents and likes/ dislikes. They share some things, but I never say to myself, ”Oh, Annie is smarter than Allie” or ” Allie can dance and Annie can’t.” And these are just examples because they both rock out and they both are very intelligent, maybe in different ways sometimes, but that is totally normal. They are NOT the same person. Twin parents also need to realize and accept this to, and I think 99.999% of them do.
Admittedly, I do enjoy dressing them alike, but I know that very soon that won’t be happening anymore.
The same clothing NEVER makes them seem ‘the same’ to me. It’s just cute!
What every parent of multiples and parent in general has to do is not ever harp on comparisons and allow them to distress you. (My example: when one twin accomplishes early life tasks before the other.) Don’t sweat the small stuff, I say now in hindsight. Everything will turn out A-OK! As far as say one twin being into sports one into books, it DOES NOT MATTER! Whatever they are good at you must always praise them for, and never make them feel bad about things that maybe they aren’t the best at. I know I’m not great at everything. People are forced to accept me as is because this is who I am. This goes for any person. It isn’t reserved for twins.
I always say if my girls (and my son) try, and are doing things in life and with their life that make them totally happy, I will always be happy in everything that they do. It is part of life to have strengths and weaknesses, and it is a parents job is to nurture and to encourage only and always! It doesn’t have to be twins. Any 2 children at all or more.
My twins may have some of the same interests, but not everything. They are quite different people.
They are also still young.
This only grows (and will continue to grow) more and more obvious over time.
They are just like any other two siblings.
(Of course, boy/girl twin pairs will most likely share fewer interests beginning at earlier ages, but each pair, and each child within the pair, is unique.)
So is comparing twins something we shouldn’t do? Yes. Should we strive to NOT do it? Yes. Will we do it? Yup. The best advice I have is to always show love, optimism and give equal attention and praise. It is something I am always fighting to do because I know that one twin may harbor some sadness if she feels like, ”Mom looks like she is gravitating towards my co-twin more so than me. Does she love her more?” NO!!! We tend to do this as parents at times, inadvertently, but it is important to fight to break that, as twins’ physical, social, developmental, emotional needs are all the same at the exact same time, and they need that security from you. It is a balancing act, but as long as you realize this and fight to embrace this knowledge and work hard to meet everybody’s needs as equally as is humanly possible.. you are raising happy, emotionally healthy children.
It’s even harder to create absolute balance if you have other children like me, but you just got to give it your all. That is all that you can do. And never do anything to harm their egos. ”Why can’t you be more like your sister” and things of that nature. Watch your words and your actions always. They can never be taken back once said or done. (True words to live by.) I should know. I grew up with a mom and dad who did not praise me, I never felt like I made them proud, I never heard positive things only negative. It affected me VERY deeply. I believe to an extent it still does.
I know you guys out there reading this now are NOT those kind of parents, but I just want to say that I know between that and my abusive ex-boyfriend that words can hurt more than actual physical abuse. So, for me, I am the exact opposite of my own parents. Praise, I love you every day, always encouraging, always saying I am proud of you, you are beautiful, handsome, talented, incredible, and I try and always think before I speak, not just to my children but to everybody. I am imperfect. I have made mistakes with my own husband, but I have learned from them.
I know you are loving parents. I know this isn’t something I really even need to tell you. I am just throwing it in. Please take no offense to it. Just explaining why I am the way that I am with my own bunch.
So, what do you think about comparing twins? Do you keep it in your head? Do you proclaim absolute innocence or admit to guilt in it? Explain!
Enjoy those bambinos!