Twin individuality

Picture of identical twin girl toddlers hugging each otherTwins are individuals, not clones.

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

  1. Try not to use phrases like “this one” and “that one”
  2. Refer to each child by name
  3. Try not to call them ‘the twins’
  4. Talk to each child separately
  5. Try to give individual attention whenever possible
  6. Read to each child separately
  7. Try to allow each child to have their own clothes
  8. Each child should have some of their own toys
  9. Take photos of each child individually too
  10. Try to take each child out individually if possible (if only to the shop?)

Picture of twin girls

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.








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19 Responses to Twin individuality

  1. Brinabird says:

    My older sisters are twin but non identical and I think what my mum found difficult was that you could not get something for one and not the other and still feels that to this day. Never mind they are like chalk and cheese.

  2. I don’t do 1, 3, 6, 7 or 10. And I don’t intend to until they are older.
    They hate being apart, so I can’t do 10 or 6. I also think it’s cruel to seperate them at this age.
    I dress them the same because, it’s cute, I used to have ocd and also because I don’t want them fighting over clothes.
    You have to do 1 when talking to people who can’t tell them apart.
    It’s easier to say the twins, than two seperate names. Conversations get confusing for other people if you use three different kids names in every sentence.

    Despite only being 1 year old, my twins personalities are so very different. They have individuality in that.

  3. Coombe Mill says:

    I have triplets and you wouldn’t believe from their characters that they were the same family never mind born together. However there is also a special bond between them. Popping over from #PoCoLo

  4. I’ve taught a few sets of twins and no matter how alike in looks they were, or how well they got on with each other, they always seemed to have very different personalities, interests and often abilities. I definitely think it’s right to encourage people to treat them as individuals, but I think anyone who actually knows them probably couldn’t help but do that anyway. #PoCoLo

    • karen bell says:

      I find it fascinating how different they are and just wanted to promote this fact to others, as not everyone seems to be aware of this.

  5. sarahmo3w says:

    What an interesting post! I don’t have twins, but I found much of this list could equally relate to any siblings – particularly same sex siblings. There is over 2 years between my boys, but they are a very similar size (and have even been mistaken for twins on many occasions). They share a room so have always had stories together, they rarely go out individually and share many possessions!
    Popping over from PoCoLo.

    • karen bell says:

      Yes, it is also true for siblings, especially same sex siblings. Thanks for your comments :)

  6. Jaime Oliver says:

    This really is fantastic and what really great list! i am an identical twin and spent most of my childhood being referred to as twin, twinny, one of the twins (not by my family) i hated it and grew as teen to resent my sister a little bit x

    • karen bell says:

      Thank you very much for your lovely comment. It is really nice to know someone feels the same as me. x

  7. Victoria Welton says:

    A really well-written post and never a truer word spoken. So important to treat people as individuals – especially twins, triplets or more – which must be harder than single children. Thanks for linking to PoCoLo xx

  8. Queen Lear says:

    Very interesting post. Totally agree – my twins are not a set. They are two wonderful, different, special people. I used to be really careful not to call them ‘the twins’ but since their little sister came along, I confess I do do it now as they’re all girls so it’s the easiest way to say who I mean! #PoCoLo

    • karen bell says:

      Yes, I agree it is hard not calling them the ‘twins’ when you have another child. I must confess, I often say ‘the girls’ as my older child is a boy.

  9. Great tips – have pinned this. Visiting from the Pin It Party.

  10. nylonliving says:

    We have twins too! I always insist on separate birthday cards and gifts for them. I get some grief because you can buy a bigger/better toy if the money is pooled. but the point is that they are each given something of their own even if it is less nice!

    • karen bell says:

      That’s true, they need their own things, like they would do if they were ordinary siblings, especially at Xmas and birthdays I think

  11. Mammasaurus says:

    Ooo good tips – I’ve not had twins, despite having 8 children but can see how these could work. Popping over from the Parenting Pin It Party ! Now following you on Pinterest – I’m on there x

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