From the moment twins are born, twins are often clumped together and spoken about as one person. They are compared to each other with terms like ”this one” and “that one” being used. This, I have discovered from personal experience, so I wanted to write this post to promote awareness of the individuality of twins.
There is no getting around the fact, that twins are amazing. It is so wonderful to be able to watch two of your children grow, develop and reach milestones together, side by side. Watching twins interact, play and learn shoulder to shoulder is absolutely magical!
However, I believe it is important to remember, twins are individuals too. Twins start life together, some from the same egg, some from two completely separate eggs, they grow side by side in the womb. They share a birthday (although, my twins don’t even share their birthday).
Identical twins may have very similar looks eg, same sex, same eye and hair colour, etc, but they also have many differing features. My twins have different face shapes, different birth marks, different moles, as well as different medical conditions (which I find amazing). Whether they are identical or not, the same sex or not, they were born together, but need to live individually.
All children need to be given the chance to develop their own personalities, likes, dislikes and interests. Twins are no different. They are not a duplicate copy of each other, they have completely different personalities.
I believe it is essential that we assist twins in exploring their individuality and allow them to discover their own personality, beliefs and identity. Here is a list of ways to help twins become individuals:
Suggestions for ways to promote individuality in twins
- Try not to use phrases like “this one” and “that one”
- Refer to each child by name
- Try not to call them ‘the twins’
- Talk to each child separately
- Try to give individual attention whenever possible
- Read to each child separately
- Try to allow each child to have their own clothes
- Each child should have some of their own toys
- Take photos of each child individually too
- Try to take each child out individually if possible (if only to the shop?)
That was a list of ways to help promote individuality in twins. However, I am very aware of how difficult it can be sometimes to follow all 10 points. Personally, I need to improve and work on some of these. It is extremely rare that my children, especially ‘the twins’, get taken out individually. I wish I could do it more, but it is very difficult when you have 3 or more children and only two parents. I also must confess, I read to them together, rather than separately. None of us are perfect, but I try at least to think of them as two individual children with different personalities and needs.
Twins are 2 separate children, with 2 different personalities that should not be compared to each other. Twins are not a freak show (even when having a double tantrum in the supermarket, at double the volume)! They are 2 ordinary children living their lives, developing and learning about themselves and their world.