Twin parents strive hard to do a fair play to both the kids. They have to constantly face in-numerous challenges in raising the little ones. Irrespective of these barriers they give their best to bring up well mannered, confident and optimistic kids. But still unknowingly some of their every day behaviors or practices can have a negative influence on their twins. Here I will be discussing the 6 innocent mistakes made by twin parents which can have a great impact on their twins. If you are a twin parent, you will be able to connect with this pretty well.
The perplexed twin parent
Parenting twins is not all plain sailing. We strive with zeal to raise the two little people healthy, active, intelligent and good mannered. We want to nurture our twins to the fullest and give the best to both the kids. However this doesn’t go as smoothly as described. Each one of us have our own ups and downs. Raising two kids of the same age can be very stressful and tiresome at least during the initial few years.
This can have adverse effects on our parental behaviors sometimes knowingly and most of the times unknowingly. We may be baffled often and struggle to make decisions on which is best for our kids or how we should handle any situation involving our twins. All the concepts, believes and suggestions about twins and how we should raise them will seem mystifying most of the time. We simply wouldn’t know which is the right thing for our twins.
I have felt myself many times, “Oh! Where is all my cognizance? Why I am not able to decide this for my twins? How should I be reacting or what should I do on this situation? Am I doing the right thing for my twins or will this impact them over time? and more and more”
Amidst all these clutters, some of our everyday behaviors or practices, which we think are pretty normal can have a negative influence on our twins. This will be happening simply without our knowing. We wouldn’t have thought such actions could even have an effect on our twins behavior and character.
So let’s find out some of those simple, innocent mistakes made by twin parents. I referred it innocent as we really do it without our knowledge, without even knowing it can have an impact on our twins.
6 Innocent Mistakes made by Twin Parents and the Impact
Here are few behaviors or practices of twin parents which might look usual but can inconspicuously create a negative influence on their twins.
#1 Dressing the Twins Alike
We all feel special as parents of twins. We adore the fact that we have two babies of the same age who look alike. We boast about having twins all the time. We enjoy dressing them with same colored, same patterned clothes and at times wonder ourselves who is who? We totally relish doing this.
Whether it is because of an ideology or our own intuition many of us always dress our twins alike. Does it give a pride or inner joy is up to the parents mindset.
The delights of dressing our twins alike at all stages of their life is something which we couldn’t contain. But is it right doing it every day even after they are grown up? May be NOT.
Though twins they are still individuals
Dressing our twins alike everyday can be of no harm until they land into the toddler life. This is when our kids will start to show their individuality. They will understand about their likes and dislikes. They will start learning about the outside world from their world (HOME). From this stage, we should be ready to treat them as individuals. We should not suppress their emerging unique personalities.
Toddlers tend to learn from their surroundings. So if the twins are always dressed alike, possibilities are there for them to engulf in the below thoughts.
- We both are one and the same.
- I have to always wear what my other twin wears.
- I have to always follow whatever he/she does.
- Whatever may be the task, we both have to do it together in the same way.
This may sound weird. And you might be seriously yelling , “What ! Dressing my twins alike has such an impact?”. But it is true. It can have an impact and disturb their individuality without us even knowing about it. This is a very common and one of the unnoticed innocent mistakes made by twin parents.
So you need not panic and stop dressing your twins alike right away. Every now and then we can dress them alike. But don’t make it a practice once your twins are old enough to start building the unique person in them.
Of course, if you have boy-girl twins you wouldn’t have this problem though 😉
Recommended : 7 essential tips for managing twin babies
#2 Identical Pair of Toys
How do you shop toys for your twins?
- Two toys which are exactly the same
- Two toys which are same but different only in the color
- Two totally different toys
If you belong to the third category, then you might be having tough time making your twins share their toys and play without a big brawl. But eventually you will win this game and your twins will soon learn some good and valuable virtues – Discipline, Perseverance, Cool-headedness and Patience.
But if you belong to the first and second category, then you are unknowingly fueling a bad conduct in your twins.
Temporary fix is not the solution
You may be choosing the first option for the reason, you don’t want your twins to engage in a quarrel and want things to be settled in peace.
Those who choose the second option will have the thought, let them play with the same toys but with a difference in color to avoid any further dispute due to malfunctioning of the toys, broken toys etc.,
Sure! Your intentions are right but this will only be a temporary fix. However, this can internally restrict the twins from learning discipline, the art of sharing, patience and more. Instead your twins will be growing with the mindset, whatever we need Mommy and Daddy will get it in doubles. I will always have my own toy and I need not request others to share or myself share with others.
You will also be in trouble when you are buying something expensive and could not afford for a double treat this time. Your twins who are always used to a double toy joy will make your life hell.
So think twice before getting any toy in double. Your kids are twins but their toys and things need not be in twos always unless essential.
#3 Separating Twins
Twins were formed together, stayed together in their mother’s womb, born together, grow up together and are perfect soul mates for life time. They have an unknown, unforeseen bond between them which only they can feel and understand.
There can be times when we have to separate our twins for a short while or a long period based on certain situations.
The stage of separation – as toddlers or as teens?
If we separate the twins after they attain some maturity level they will be able to manage their emotions and impact. But if we have to separate them in the very early stages of their life, when they are still understanding the world and people, it can turn out to be a psychological blow.
The period of separation – long or short?
The kind of impact on your twins also depends on the period of separation. Do you keep them away for a long time or a short while?
Some of our situations can be very demanding where we don’t have an option except for separating the twins and raise them at different places. If the condition is out of our hand, then we have to keep them in constant touch through daily video calls and other means to cater the separation anxiety.
We may also be opting to separate twins for reasons like
- Couldn’t raise the twins together because we don’t have the energy to raise two babies
- Family has to split and stay at different places due to career options of the parents
- Someone else in your family wants to raise one of your twins
These are some scenarios which could be fixed with some effort and you could avoid your twins from being separated for a long period.
However a short separation is also needed every now and then for your twins. Like one twin having a day out with the daddy. Other twin visiting the grandma’s place for a day or two and more. This will create space for your twins uniqueness and ameliorate their bonding even more.
So short separations are healthier and long separations can turn vulnerable!
Recommended : Survival guide for a NICU Parent
#4 Comparing Twins
When we have twins, comparison is something which we cannot avoid happening at any stage. Though we understand the impact it can have on our kids and be more cautious to avoid weighing their differences, still we couldn’t stop our mind and tongue at many situations from comparing them. Comparison tops the list of innocent mistakes made by twin parents which can impact their kids very adversely.
Comparing kids with their siblings have been detrimental in all cases, not only twins. This can have a huge impact on our child’s psychology. So we should be very heedful before uttering anything that can often injure their tiny hearts and minds.
There can be two types of comparison as I have mentioned below.
Comparing growth and maturity
This starts from the very day our twins are born. We simply couldn’t restrain from comparing our twins regarding anything. The mission starts right from
- how much weight they have gained
- how much feed they have taken
- number of times they pass stools
- the way they sleep
- their colics
- how fast they turn over, crawl, sit, walk
- how they respond to solid food
- their tantrums
- their height
- how fast they get potty trained
- and more and more.
Thank God! the infants won’t understand or mind our talks. But if we keep on doing this even as they are toddlers and in the further stages, we will be crashing their confidence very badly.
Every child is unique and has its own timing for everything. Whether it is the growth or their maturity levels it will happen at the right time for the kid. There is no necessity for the twins to adhere to the same growth or maturity levels as they were born together at the same time. We should constantly remind ourselves that the twins are meant to be partners for life, but with a difference.
Comparing behavior or performance
This comparison starts when our twins are toddlers. I have heard from many twin moms, that their kids are extremely different in their behavior and character. This is no surprise. As I have mentioned before, though they were born as a pair, still they are distinctive individuals.
They will have their own good and bad manners. They will have their own strong and weak areas. Of course we praise their good manners and strong areas. But when we want to correct their bad manners or teach them to improve their weak areas, are we just talking about them? NO, not many times.
We often couldn’t resist ourselves from saying, “See how your twin sister/brother behaves. See how well she/he is performing this task”.
If you are not doing this comparison or at least reminding yourself not to compare every time you start those talks with your twins then you are nurturing your twins in a very healthy mode. Kudos to you!!
If not, it’s time for us to realize
Comparing twins for their behavior and performance may be regular for us, but for our twins it is a blow on their ability, confidence, courage and optimism.
Comparison is a package of discouragement, cowardice and pessimism .
#5 Favoring One of the Twins
As parents of twins we show unconditional love to the two little ones. Our love towards them will have no discrimination or inequity. We want to do everything in the perfect way for each of them.
But unknowingly we tend to favor one of the twins at times though not always. Or we may not even be favoring one of them but it might look so in the eyes of the twins.
Seeming to be unfair
As kids they couldn’t understand the adult intentions all the time. All they know is “Mommy is not letting me do this now, though she lets the other one do it.” The kid will not remember that she let him/her do it sometime before. This might happen in scenarios like when you let one twin to take sweets and stop the other one from doing it as he/she is very ill.
This is when the twins assume that we are very unfair to them. This is unavoidable and we have to sit to their level and patiently explain them and clear their doubts.
Being unfair for a temporary fix
There may be scenarios where one twin is very adjusting and the other is very stubborn. In such cases, we try to be fair to both the kids and keep them in balance. But our stress levels and work loads will make us to insist the twin who is adjusting to do the same always to temporarily end the fights and tantrums they have. But we rarely realize this can create a permanent stubbornness in the other twin and permanent resentment with the twin who adjusts.
This is when we become unfair to them unknowingly. We have to be cautious about this and try avoiding this from happening again. Being fair to one twin to lower the tantrums can turn deleterious to both the the twins.
Recommended : How to fix tooth brushing problems with toddler
#6 Surrendering to twin tantrums
This is one of the very common innocent mistakes made by twin parents. Handling a toddler’s tantrum is the most toughest and trickiest job in the world. And when we have to handle the tantrums of two kids, we should request God for some super natural power. LoL 🙂
Twins though they don’t follow each other much on good things they are sure to follow each others tantrums. They know the ploy on how to get things happen from mommy. When one twin starts a tantrum and mommy is having a tough time handling it, the other twin knows very well this is the time to get what he/she wants. Simply the twins know how to trade-off with their mom.
Never let your stress handle their tantrums
Of course the stress levels of the parents will be very high during these times. We tend to solve the issues as early and as easily as possible. We never find the time to even think about the consequences of our solutions for these tantrums. We are pushed to the point “I need to somehow solve this now”.
But this is when we need to be steady with clear mind. We should know how to bring the discipline and how to make the twins settle with the right solution. We need to have loads of patience to bring things back to normal not temporarily but permanently and in a way which will inculcate good manners in our twins.
Never surrender to your twin tantrums and make them obstinate for life!
So this is the list of innocent mistakes made by twin parents. Of course, I am no stranger to these and find myself doing most of them at times. However I am learning to be conscious enough to avoid committing these mistakes with my twins.
If you have any more points from your experience as a twin parent, please feel free to explain it in the comments section. Lets share and support happy, healthy twin parenting!!
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Image credits : Main image by donnierayjones via Foter.com / CC BY ; Dressing Twins Alike by donnierayjones via Foter.com / CC BY ; Identical Pair of Toys by donnierayjones via Foter.com / CC BY ; Separating Twins by ljguitar via Foter.com / CC BY ; Comparing Twins by donnierayjones via Foter.com / CC BY ; Favoring one of the Twins by Catsmad55 Flickr via Compfight cc ; Surrendering to Twin Tantrums by donnierayjones via Foter.com / CC BY ;
Note : Added text to the original images used in this post.