All about having Twins: Perks, struggles, and scientific importance

two twin sisters lying bed
Helping both your children to embrace their individuality while simultaneously nurturing their special bond is another challenge that faces most parents of twins. (Photo: Envato Elements)
Bonds that twins form as they move through life’s constant changes, from the early years of infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adult life, certainly have their benefits. اضافة اعلان

Due to proximity since conception, twins usually learn many of the same habits, such as learning to sleep through the noise, understanding that they need to wait their turn, and generally exhibiting less separation anxiety because they have a constant companion.

This built-in friendship may comfort these twins, but sometimes many may lump them under one umbrella. For parents, the distinction between the two is essential, which is why they need to understand that each child has a unique personality, desires, and temperament that requires different demands.

As parents, it may be beneficial to view twins as independent from each other from the beginning as it can help avoid certain issues, including unhealthy sibling rivalry, down the road.

Twin studies
Twin studies have been carried out for well over a century — with the first twin study being conducted in 1875 by Sir Frances Galton. The study incorporated twins to determine the relationship between nature and nurture. Researchers have long seen twins as a fascinating topic, especially in psychology, due to their unique relationship providing valuable information about genetic and environmental influences.

Findings from twin studies have been essential to detecting and treating various diseases and psychological disorders. In fact, twin studies are one of the main ways that researchers try to answer for the inadequate understanding of genetic and environmental factors’ role in personality and life satisfaction. And information from twin studies can be used to develop better ways to prevent and treat different disorders and maladaptive behaviors.

One study at the University of Virginia looked at the heritability of IQ and how it is affected by growing up in a low-income household. The study found that the IQs of identical twins vary just as much as fraternal twins and that the impact of growing up poor can overwhelm a child’s natural intellectual gifts.
I can imagine how hard it must be to be twins and have to share everything, but it is also not easy to be a parent and have to decide on who gets to go first. I understand you are annoyed with me, but I could use your patience now.
In 2001, a Michigan State University Twin Registry was set up to study genetic and environmental influences on various medical and psychiatric disorders. One of its most surprising findings is that eating disorders, such as anorexia, have a genetic component. Before such twin studies, eating disorders were entirely attributed to the influence of culture, media, and social factors.

Facing the challenges
Parenting twins does not come without its challenges, beyond the usual support and discipline required for a single child or even siblings of different ages. While there are the typical daily struggles faced by parents who have twins, such as double the homework and the mess, there are significant challenges that last for much longer and can harm each child unless dealt with healthily.

Dividing time is perhaps one of parents’ biggest challenges when raising twins. Often parents might wonder if both their twins need the same thing at the same time, and consequently, who gets their needs met first? This type of challenge might always be present and develops as twins grow. It might be about who gets to hold their parents’ hand in pre-school; in middle school, it could be about parents dividing their time between activities, and in high school, it most likely will be revolved around which one of your teenagers made the poorer decision that parents have to deal with the consequences of.

When it comes down to it, perhaps one of the most honest ways of dealing with the challenges of dividing time is to respond with gentle realism. Twins might accuse parents of favoring one over the other, to which the parent can respond with, “I can imagine how hard it must be to be twins and have to share everything, but it is also not easy to be a parent and have to decide on who gets to go first. I understand you are annoyed with me, but I could use your patience now.”

On a more long-term note, parents must let go of the idea of a perfect balance of making sure each one of their twins is getting equal amounts of attention at all times. Parents must trust themselves to study each situation, provide the fair amount of support needed, and avoid burning themselves out by trying to keep track of everything they do for them.

Helping both children embrace their individuality while simultaneously nurturing their special bond is another challenge that most parents of twins face. The challenge is mainly in knowing what a healthy balance is.

When should parents remind twins to embrace their uniqueness, and when do they encourage them to be the same?

One of the main solutions can often come from outward appearances. Something as simple as allowing twins to choose their own outfits and hairstyles can set a precedent for making them feel like their different choices are equally respected by their parents. This can later turn into encouraging them to participate in different extracurricular activities and, if possible, even look into going to separate universities.

It is also important that each twin has their own circle of friends. Parents should not expect twins to go to the same school and get along with the same people. Parents need to ensure that twins do not always share the same classes and that they both get to invite their own group of friends over and spend time with them without the other twin there. Parents can use that time to spend quality time with the other twin.
actually, they both have their shy and outgoing moments
More importantly, beyond style and hobbies, it is important for parents to understand and encourage their twins to have different approaches to their problems. For example, twin A might be the one to verbally vent to a parent after a tough day, while twin B will refuse to say a word, but will snuggle close to a parent instead.

Competition is one of the biggest issues faced when raising twins and one of the hardest issues to fix. Even if parents try their hardest not to compare their twins to each other, they will still get it from other family, friends, teachers, and even strangers. Whether one gets better grades, is more athletic, or social, competition will be the enemy of a close twin bond. It will be difficult for twins not to internalize the constant comparisons made by others or themselves. If twins are not identical, parents need to pay close attention to comments that may be made comparing their appearances and take swift action to ensure that it does not negatively affect their self-esteem.

While it might be impossible to eradicate any competition or comparisons being made completely, certain steps can be taken to help alleviate some of the tension. For example, parents verbalizing the different interests of each twin, while avoiding basing it on actual talent or skill can help ensure that they are not hearing unintentional comparisons being made by parents.

It is important to note that even tone matters when statements about accomplishments are made. If a parent sounds more excited talking about one twin’s academic talent while seeming neutral about the other’s talent for art, they will most certainly notice. Reframing comments they hear from others in front of them is beneficial. If someone points out that one of them is super outgoing while the other is very shy, parents can respond by saying, “actually, they both have their shy and outgoing moments”.

Parenting twins is, in no doubt, both a challenge and a source of joy for parents. Knowing that their child will forever have a companion certainly brings a great deal of comfort for many parents of twins. Through education, preparation, and focus on embracing individuality while promoting the same values in both twins, parents can help ensure an easier time on the long road ahead.

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