Raising Twins As Individuals

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If you’re the parent of twins, you want to encourage their own unique personalities, but you might not know how. Read on for tips on how to help twins develop their own individuality and why it’s so important.

TIP: When twins are raised together, they tend to push and find their own individuality more easily. Want more information about twin individuality? Listen to our podcast episode or read our transcript!

Why is it important for twins to have their own identity?

Although twins are the cutest package deal, ultimately it’s important for them to grow up to be healthy adults with their own identity, self-esteem, self-confidence, likes and interests, strengths and weaknesses. While their relationship with each other is special, it’s vital for them to develop their own sense of self and understand how they are unique from one another.

At what point should parents start focusing on individuality?

Dr. Deborah Pontillo, a pediatric psychologist, says that you should start thinking about developing individuality around the six-month mark. At this point, babies have an understanding that they are separate from their mother and they are their own being. You can start reinforcing that they have different wants and needs and can be in different emotional states, depending on the time.

Are there differences in terms of individuality between identical and fraternal twins?

Identical twins are obviously very similar looking – others will have to try harder to distinguish them from one another. It’s important to note that even when you look for differences, identical twins have the same genetic disposition, so they’ll often want to do and like the same things. Parents should be aware of this and be cognizant that it can make cultivating individuality a bit more challenging.

On the other hand, with fraternal twins, especially if you have a boy and a girl, the differences are often apparent from first glance.

Are there recommendations as far as keeping twins together vs. separate?

In general once a child is approaching kindergarten age it becomes more important to develop cooperative play and social skills. By age 5 or 6, you want to ensure that the kids are not too reliant on their twin and can handle conflict and problem-solving solo. Depending on the situation, this might mean putting the twins in separate classrooms.

What are some strategies that parents can use in helping twins feel more unique and special?

  • Watch and observe the twins to determine their personal interests and their unique approach to things.
  • Focus on spending small chunks of time with each twin individually, even if it’s only 15 minutes.
  • Make the alone time with you regular and predictable. Let them choose what they want to do – a puzzle, a special toy, reading a book, etc.
  • Especially when the twins are younger, a slight difference in hairstyle or dress may help others distinguish them and see their differences.

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