The Difficulties In Raising Twins!
The Difficulties In Raising Twins VS. A Singleton Child
Raising twins, of course is harder, then having 1 baby, due to the obvious reasons, you need more hands, getting on a schedule is tougher, and it’s financially more difficult, but what are some of the less obvious things, that make being a parent of multiples, more difficult then our singleton counterparts? Well, we have to be prepared to deal with certain issues, later on with our twins.
Separation, can be particularly hard for twins, in school, and then throughout life. Even adult twins, that have their own spouses and children, often find themselves missing their twin siblings. In school there is always the question, of together, or apart? Then during the teenage years, your twins, will likely want to separate, and find their own friends, and identities, but may find it hard, because they aren’t used to having to be independently social, and may not know how to make and keep friendships.
Single children, learn through early childhood experience how to make friends, and socialize, while twins, often stick together, and become each other’s best friend, hence they are missing out on that crucial building block in their development, that needs to be formed, inevitably.
What can WE do about this? I haven’t gotten to this point with my twins, they are only 5 months old, as of now, but I will try and encourage them to look ‘outside of the box’. Yes I want them to be great friends, and yes, I want them to be bonded, but I will try and get them to realize that they are in fact two very different individuals, with different personalities, and talents, and should spread their wings, and socialize beyond their own comfort zone, which of course cannot be put into any big words come 3 or 4 years old, but I hope they will socialize outside of their family circle, with my help and encouragement. We just have to anticipate this issue, so we can try and intervene in it, and possibly help them down the line with future relationships.
They have to realize (You as well), they are NOT one person, they are two separate individuals. I know a lot of people go ‘Where are the twins?’, ‘Go get the twins’, and do this throughout life. It isn’t that you are trying to make them into 1 person, it’s just plain and simply easier to say TWINS, instead of two names Plus other people do it, so it’s easier to fall into that ‘niche’.
I never say twins, but I often say girls, which can also include my 5 yo. I don’t want her to be jealous, like why are they separate from me? So this is a whole other issue if you also have another child in the mix or children, that are close enough in age to feel the strain, and feel left out because of the twins. That is an extra battle, with it’s own issues to be worked out.
But as far as the twinkies go (and I say this to you, and not in front of her). Even at this young age, my babies have very different, well defined, personalities, and as the years go on, they need to be singled out, for their own positive and negative attributes.
Praised individually when achieving a goal, or punished individually when knocking over little Billy on the playground. (Just an example We will just have to try hard to build their self esteems, and help them find their identities, and not be bulked together, into one person, because they are NOT, and this will help down the line, for them to feel complete as a person themselves, and build friendships and relationships that are healthy and last. There must be life outside of their twin.
How can we give our separate experiences while living underneath the same roof? Hard but not impossible to do. As our girls (see, it’s just easier to say, I’ll single them out more as they grow, but I do say their names to them all of the time), as they grow, they will need separate experiences, and even now, I feed them bottles separately a lot of the time, so they get a one on one experience with me & my husband to. They play an important role.
In the early days, it was just “How can I feed both and have my hands not fall off”, they ate so frequently, but after the fist 4-5 months, when things settle in, and they eat fewer bottles throughout the day, especially after you start solids, you can even more so, start feeding them separately, sometimes, to help them get ‘seperate’ experiences with you, away from their twin. Granted you can’t do this every feeding, but just sometimes, is a good thing.
Spend separate time with each child, when it’s possible, meaning you have help on hand for the other twin and children, if you have others. When they are really small they may not even realize they are alone, but maybe at a year or so, this could be effective in them in seeing they are a separate person from their twin, and have their own special time with you. I already do this when I can, but am unsure if they realize it, at this point.
This separation time, may be hard on the twin at first, especially if the behavior on your part, isn’t started early on, but it’s vital, as it helps their urge, and your own urge even, to have them be constant companions. It’s such a fine line, because you want them to be close, and have a great friendship throughout life, but you have to be careful that they can still have seperate relationships with family, and in making friends, are able to successfully do so.
It’s a tough job mom and dad, no doubt about it, but it’s completely doable. I’m actually looking forward to the challenges ahead, because I find that each problem conquered, the more proud of myself, and the person I am, I become. You may find that same sense of pride as well. It’s a journey, not a struggle.
As much as they will be great friends, they will also, like any siblings, fight. Sometimes it may seem worse, because they are the exact same stage developmentally, and phycologically, so they are on the same wave-length, if you will. It’s funny because even at 5 months, my girls will coo and smile at one another, and then a few seconds later, they appear to be having a boxing match, and wanting to scratch each other’s eyes out. Granted, I don’t know if they are doing any of this on purpose just yet, but let’s just say, I’m not immensely looking forward to toddler-hood! He, he, but I’m sure it will be adorable to watch them grow, and as they learn, so will I. (So will you!)
Yesterday one baby was pulling the little hair her sister has left, and pulled on her ear, and rolled almost on top of her, and as funny and cute as some aspects can be, as long as no one is getting hurt and crying, is that it’s a realization of what’s to come, and wow, how does one manage THAT? But with twins, it’s just one phase at a time, and with one foot in front of the other, you’ll get there, and get through it. We will..together!
There is sibling rivalry with twins, despite being born on the same date, BUT on the brighter side, they do often try and avoid conflict more then they will with others, because it’s usually a deeper conflict then it is with you or a friend in school or something. Which means, it’s fewer & farther between, but can be more serious when it does occur. Their deep bond often keeps them protected from ‘petty fighting’, if you will, but it’s not a set in stone rule. I’m sure SOME small little squabbles occur, I’m just posting noted facts on twins in a whole.
They are generally, more sensitive to their co-twin’s feelings, which helps out in the fighting department, but there still will be rivalry, to some degree. All you can do as a parent, is to try and help teach them how to resolve their conflicts, in an constructive manner, Right from the start, and soon, as they grow and mature, should be able to manage their conflicts on their own. It’s just a matter of time and patience, as is everything in parenting, whether it be one child or 15.
What do you do about twins in the classroom? Well, most of the time, come Kindergarten, twins are normally separated at that point, which is at age 5. This separation may be particularly hard on them, just be there as a support for them, and know, that it is good for their long term development, as much as it hurts you at the time.
Aside from school, which is automatic, most usually, do not force separation on your twins, just encourage it, again by spending time with each twin separately, and praising each for his or her own completed tasks & good deeds.
Once separated in school, the twins, should start the process of leaning to make friendships. They may not be as good at this, as singletons who have started much earlier, but it’s vital in their overall social development, and need to be learned. Earlier is always better then later.
Dressing twins alike. I find this completely harmless. I have seen even non-twins, just siblings, all wearing the same clothes, which is much odder, but still often can be cute, I find no harm in it, HOWEVER, when your children are older, it may not be quite so cutesy any longer, not to them.
When this time will come can be different. There’s usually noo set time that says BOOM..I’m done with the look alike thing , unless you ave taken it too far, too long, but as babies and toddlers, they will know no differently, about what they are wearing, but come age 4, if they are anything like my daughter, will want to pick out their own clothing, and you should allow and encourage this.
You should never force them to dress alike, when they are old enough to have their own opinions, you should honor and adhere to them. Let them know they are special and unique beings, even when you heart might be breaking that your bundles, are growing up, so quickly, before your eyes.
If you want to help create healthy, well adjusted multiples, they not only need separate time, but separate PRAISE as well. I said it earlier in this article, but want to fully explore this, as it’s so relevant, and important. Comparing one twin to another, is not a positive thing to do, however it’s an easy thing to do, so parents often need to catch themselves on this one. Pay attention to your own behavior as mom (or dad), make sure you are offering personal praise, to each child’s individual achievements, just as you would with 2 separate children, whom were born several years apart. Treat them no differently.
If Bobby gets on the honor roll, recognise and celebrate his achievement. If little Jenny, joins the band and does a solo at a recital, give her ample recognition. Show each child you are proud of them, for their OWN accomplishments. This enhances self esteem, along with, helping to define the children’s individual roles in your family. They will always be specially connected, no doubt about that, but they aren’t the same person, and that need to be addressed from the get go.
In closing, I just want people to know, having, and raising twins, is an absolute blessing, and I feel the need to say this, because when I was pregnant and overwhelmed with the news of twins, my world stopped turning. I felt like ‘How can anyone say this is a blessing?’ It was worry, worry, worry, and fear x’s 10, right from the start, and reading other moms saying how wonderful it was, just didn’t compute, until I had my own duo, and now I CAN say it IS a blessing beyond measure, and I’d trade it for NOTHING.
So, I just don’t want to scare anyone about having twins, if you are pregnant with them now. You will survive and love it. YES, It’s got to be harder then 1, in certain ways, but my 5 yo was such a hard baby, these two make things look easy, so you just might be surprised. It’s just different. Please Don’t worry, I am now a firmer believer then ever, that God never does give you more then you can handle. And truly it is, twice the love, twice the hugs…twice the joy!
Good luck, and have a twintastic day!