A new baby brings change to any family routine. Having twins adds their own unique requirements. To guide parents of twins, we talked to family and parenting expert, Ms. Maribel Dionisio.
“Treat twins like having two different children,” Ms. Dionisio recommends. “Don't treat them like they are the same person, or like there is another person who is exactly like them.” While it may be cute for twins to wear the same outfits or have identical haircuts, the parenting expert suggests that parents stay away from these as much as they can unless, the twins themselves decide that they want it.
Ms. Dionisio also reminds parents of twins to ensure that the two kids have the freedom to choose and the freedom to be different from each other, so they can meet their full potential as individuals. “It's very important to start giving children choices at a young age. Let them decide for themselves, but of course give them the choices that are acceptable to you so it's a win-win,” she said. “Training them to decide, and negotiate is a vital skill they will need for the rest of their lives.”
“If you keep choosing things for them, and giving them the same things you are going to train them to be passive individuals who will be confused about their identity, and be confused about what they want in life,” Ms. Dionisio explains. She also adds that kids who are only used to following their parents’ decisions for them may make them vulnerable to peer pressure and other things other people will tell them to do.
Another important tip on raising twins is to never compare them to each other. While twins may have a lot of similarities, parents must remember that they are still two different people. Moreover, comparison will only create an environment of competition, which will strain the relationship of the twins with each other.
“Each has their own uniqueness and individuality,” says Ms. Dionisio. “Respect that by not comparing them, and treating them exactly the same way, or giving them the same thing. One twin might want something else. Give them the freedom, and space to differentiate themselves from the other.” Ms. Dionisio also suggests going on one-on-one parent-child dates so that parents can discover how different each child is.
When it comes to school, Ms. Dionisio said that it may be better for twins to be in separate classrooms especially if parents are given the opportunity to choose. “This will give them an easier time getting to know themselves better, what makes them unique and different from each other,” Ms. Dionisio states. “Putting them in the same classroom will risk the twins from being compared to another by their classmates and teachers, and pressure them to do the same thing.”
Parent self-care is also important. “Raising twins will be demanding, and taxing for your mind, body, and emotions. You need to recharge so you can take better care of them, and be pleasant around them,” Ms. Dionisio adds. “Having a grouchy and tired parent is neither fun to be with nor healthy for you and your children.”
Ms. Maribel Dionisio - Family & Parenting Specialist