While it may be cute to dress twins up in identical clothing and provide identical bedding and toys, there will come a time when they want to be viewed as individuals. Although choices and likes may remain the same as his or her twin, they could just as easily begin to differentiate themselves from the other. In order for your child to grow as an individual, you need to give them those choices and let them develop their own personalities.
1. Comparisons and Labels – Sometimes it may be hard on a parent, but you need to stay away from comparing one child to the other. Saying things like, “your brother likes it” and “why can’t you be more like your sister” can be some of the utmost disparaging remarks you can make to someone who is trying to solidify himself or herself from the other. Sayings such as these can also make it seem you are putting emphasis on the allure of the other twin. You don’t want to split your affections and you need to realize that each child is going to look at the world differently.
2. Food Choices – Allowing them to choose their own meals can be beneficial to each child securing their individuality. His or her tastes are going to change over time and there is nothing to say that each child will prefer the same dish that his or her twin enjoys. Something as simple as food can make a difference in how children feel about themselves and empower them to make future decisions.
3. Clothes – Avoid forcing them to dress alike. If they wish to wear the same clothes, then that is their decision to make. However, too many parents force wearing alike onto their children in order to promote that they are indeed twins. Allow them to choose their own wardrobe and encourage the individuality.
4. One-on-One – In order to help promote individuality, spend one-on-one time with each child separately, but equally. Try to avoid spending more time with one over the other. This could seem like favoritism. Let the child specify which activity he or she would like to do with you. This helps him or her develop decisions on the child’s own without being influenced by the twin. Passive and submissive behaviors in one child could make it seem like they’re alike when they’re truly not.
5. Birthdays – When it comes to the birthday cake, let each sibling decide which one he or she would rather have. Instead of one large cake for both of them to share, why not use two smaller cakes each with their own candles for the children to blow out individually? This could help the child signify that although the date on the calendar is shared with their sibling, it is still a special day for him or her as an individual.
Although the above helps develop individuality, don’t try to discourage a bond that twins have the ability to form. They may simply enjoy being the same as their twin and prefer to remain that way. Allow them the chance to discover themselves without driving a wedge in between them. You can promote individuality without forcing it on them. Allow each to make their own decisions and let situations develop from there.
This post is contributed by Christine Maddox. Currently she is pursuing her Master’s degree from University of Texas as well as blogging for www.4nannies.com. She loves to write anything related to parenting, kids, nanny care etc. Send Christine an email
Foodie in WVJune 28, 2013
My two cousins were twins and my aunt tried dressing them alike, putting them in the same classes etc. They hated it and when they were old enough told my aunt 🙂 Great tips!
SuzanneJune 28, 2013
Thanks it was a great article by Christine. My girls love to have the same outfits but seem to wear them when they want to, unless they just both love the top and have to wear it as the other is as well. I try and dress them differently but they decide if they want to look the same. We were trying to see if the kids might make it in modelling or TV and earn money for their future and I dressed them the same as we were showing casting agents that they are they look similar as they would share a role if so blessed with a job. We were not lucky in securing this and gave up. I would like to do it again but hate the thought of paying for being a member of the organization if we never get a job. I think we will take our lead from the girls and see how we go.
TamaraJune 29, 2013
Couldn’t agree more, I think babies are individual from day one, and its wrong to push sameness on a child simply because they are twin, its actually a pet hate of mine when people do it, especially when they become frustrated when you cannot tell their kids apart, I have had friends in the past get upset at me over this. No person is alike we are all different, even if we look the same.
SuzanneJune 29, 2013
Thanks Tamara, I try to allow the girls to do their own thing and give them the chance to dress differently and also do different activities. It depends on them though as they are so close they tend to want to do the same things. I want to value the difference and also embrace the closeness of them as twins. It is nice that they are so close but sometimes hard as they don’t want to be apart.