Advice for raising emotionally happy and healthy twins and triplets
With the increased use of fertility drugs, it is not uncommon for parents to have twins and triplets in today’s world. However, it can be stressful to raise multiples.
Parents must be efficient and organized with their time to be able to provide care for their children and to also save their sanity. Additionally, understanding the deep and primary bond that multiples share is incredibly important so that parents can support their children’s healthy development and emotional well-being. If parents grasp how twins and triplets relate to their parents–and to one another–their job as parents will be easier and more successful.
- understand the relationship between multiples
- establish individuality in each child
- respect the twin attachment
- learn what causes conflict and fighting between your children
- acknowledge that your children are special
- deny the power of two or three
- allow multiples to become overly dependent on one another
- ignore your children’s fighting
- encourage attention and staring from others
- dress multiples alike
Do understand the relationship between multiples
Take some time to understand the twin/triplet attachment by observing your children and watching how they relate to one another. Also be sure to read the literature on twin/triplet relationships.
Do establish individuality in each child
Developing a sense of each child as an individual will lead to more harmony and less fighting in childhood and adulthood. While your sense of your children will change as they grow, it should be rooted in a distinctive way of interacting. The emotional attachment to each of your children will be different and unique.
Consider each child a unique individual and treat each child as a separate person. Don’t expect your kids to be together all of the time or treat them as a unit by constantly referring to them as “The Twins.” Additionally, be sure not to treat your children as halves of a whole. For example, considering one twin to be the good one and the other as the bad one.
Do respect the twin attachment
While this attachment is calming for each child, do not intensify your children’s bond by using your twins to entertain one another on a regular basis.
Twins and triplets come into the world together. Separating from one another begins at birth and is a long and often painful process for children to experience. Parents need to be sensitive to this deep and life-sustaining bond.
Do learn what causes conflict and fighting between your children
Ask yourself questions about your children’s unhappiness. Does one twin feel favored? Does one twin have more than the other? Do they miss each other? Why do they miss each other? Are they too dependant on one another?
Understand your children’s actions and reactions to one another. Twinship is similar to a marriage with deep love and deep resentments. Verbalizing what you think is going on between your kids will help both you and them.
Do acknowledge that your children are special
Talk to your children about what it means to be a twin or triplet–and how being a twin or triplet is different that just being a sister or brother. Recognize that your children are special and what special means. Ask your children if they like being twins. Talk with others who take care of your children about how you want them to relate to and manage your children.
Do not deny the power of two or three
Twins and triplets can be double trouble for overwhelmed and overworked parents. It is an observable fact that twins and triplets can–and do–create havoc for their parents and siblings. Double trouble not only translates into extra trouble with feeding and cleaning, but psychologically as well. Multiples know how to form an alliance and gang up against their parents or other siblings. If you look for signs of this type of misbehavior and are aware of the reality that the power of two can triumph, you will be more able to counteract these fun, but frustrating adventures.
Do not allow multiples to become overly dependent on one another
When busy parents allow their twins/triplets to keep each other company and entertain one another for long periods of time, this can hamper their emotional development. Too much time together creates an interdependence, which is hard to unwind. This can affect their school achievement and social skills. Be sure not to let multiples play alone most of the time because you are too busy to spend time with each of them alone or together.
Do not ignore your children’s fighting
Many twins or triplets fight with one another over what seems to be small things. Parents tend to become frustrated with this continual fighting, and some parents will punish or discipline both children to avoid looking into the problem more seriously. Other parents see one child as the bad one or the troublemaker, and the other one as the child who can do no wrong. Both of these strategies are very harmful to your children’s emotional well-being. Consequently, it is important to try and figure out what is going on. Do this in the best way you can, and then talk to each child and set different consequences for each.
Do not encourage attention and staring from others
It is not uncommon for others to stare at your multiples with curiosity. But it is vital to try and limit these intrusions as best you can because this attention can make multiples feel like freaks and limits their sense of themselves as individuals.
In addition, encourage close friends and family not to call your children, “The Twins or Triplets,” if they know them well enough to tell them apart. Establishing a sense of individuality in children begins with each child knowing his/her own name, which is not “The Twins or Triplets.”
Do not dress multiples alike
Buy your children their own clothes as sharing clothes promotes and endorses enmeshment or interdependence within the pair. This merging of identities will complicate their lives and make them feel out of place with non-multiples. Because individuality is extremely important to establish early in life, do not dress your kids alike unless they request to be dressed alike for a special event or occasion.
Raising multiple-birth children is a challenge. It is important to avoid or diffuse competition and fighting. Additionally, respecting your children’s need for individuality, while respecting the twin/triplet attachment, is critical to the emotional health and well-being of your children.