Raising Twins: Treating Twins As Individuals, Not As Half of a Pair by Heather Holter

Parenting Opinion
8 months ago
Raising Twins: Treating Twins As Individuals, Not As Half of a Pair

Growing up as a twin myself, I know a few things about twins. My sister and I were compared, shared most things, called twinners instead of our names and were always dressed alike. I have my own twins and I wanted to raise them differently than I was, so here is what I do to ensure they will feel like individuals:

  • I do not compare them and I embrace each of their strengths.
  • I let them wear different clothes, not matching stuff, even if they own identical outfits. They can wear them different days.
  • I don't give them shared toys unless they want an expensive item and want to share it.
  • I call them by their names, and when referring to them I call them the girls, not the twins.
  • I don't expect them to like the same kids and have the same friends – they each have many friends the other isn't friends with.
  • I don't make them do the same activities. They are both in dance. Some years they want to take the same class and some years they choose different classes.

Twins are very special, but I want my twins to feel important just being themselves, not because they are twins. I feel they will become more independent and less competitive with each other if I follow these guidelines.

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Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds
As the mother of identical twin girls, I agree with everything you said here, Heather Holter . I have watched my daughters embrace and push back on being a twin their entire lives. It sometimes seems to be a blessing, and other times seems to be a challenge. It's hard for people to understand. As teens, my daughters strive to express themselves as individuals however they can (hair, clothes, interests, friends, etc). Thank you for sharing your insights as a twin and as a mom of twins!
Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds
Curious what other parents of twins/multiples think of this great post? Would love it if you would comment here! Samantha Kemp-Jackson Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP Dr. Sarah Allen Dana Pieper Lynette Patterson Jeff Jackson Alicia Gonzalez Mary Kleberg
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Love this! Shared on fb with my friends with twins- and triplets too! What do you think, Mary Kleberg ?
Jeff Jackson
Great article and advice! I do the same thing with my boys, keep their identities separate via clothes, interests, toys, etc. Twin raising is not for the meek!
Charlene Ericson
Hi Heather,
Great article! I am also an identical twin with identical twin girls. My mother used to force my sister and I to wear the same clothes, have same friends and do the same activities because she believed 'that's what identicle twins should do'. I used to rebel against this and was quite upset about this as it happened all the way to our teens and I ended up running away from home at 14 years old and have been looking after myself ever since. I allow my girls (I also never refer to them as the twins) to dress and be individuals. Sometimes they choose to wear the same outfit and although I do not favour it, I allow them to make that choice.
I have been part of a multiple births club where I served 3 years as a club president. I always encouraged other parents to treat their children as individuals, however try and respect their decision if they do not agree.
Lemi-Ola Erinkitola
I have twin girls. It took our family a long time to use the word "twin" at home. This helped me to treat them as separate but equal. I still make mistakes but I so love the parenting journey.
Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP
I totally agree with this Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds I am not a twin myself, but I always wanted my boys to have their own identity. I never called them the twins, while our family members always referred to them as the twins. To me, they are my boys. Even as a fraternal twin, there is that sense of always being compared to one another and I saw how my boys rebelled against that, especially in middle school. I have two unique and individual young men that I am proud to call my sons. Everyone who knows them say, "It's so funny that they are so different being twins?" Really, aren't all siblings different?

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