Parenting is a tough job, but it gets enough tougher if you are parenting twins or multiples. It is becoming more common for women to deliver twins these days, with one out of every 60 births being twins. Raising twins or other multiples bring with it special challenges and special joys. Twins have a unique place in birth order, and the often display various characteristics, depending on their place in the family. To help you with this challenge, here is a look at some of the common characteristics of twins and some great parenting tips to help you along the way.
Characteristics of Twins
Sometimes it is a bit difficult to label the characteristics that twins will show. Since there is only a few minutes between the birth of twins or other multiples, often the twin that is born first does not portray traits of a first born child. After all, birth can vary depending on the delivery and babies switch positions throughout pregnancy. Usually the personalities of twins tend to develop based upon their place within a family. For example, if twins are the oldest in the family, usually the will have a few firstborn traits. If they are the youngest, they can show youngest born traits, and if they are in the middle, they often exhibit traits of the middle child. There are some cases where one twin may take on the role of the dominant older child while the other twin is a follower. However, studies show that throughout the lives of twins, traits can switch and dominance may be exchanged. Since the characteristics of twins can change and they are so hard to define, this can make it even more difficult for parents to know how to properly raise their twins to adulthood.
Effective Twins Parenting Tips
There are many differences between raising single children and raising twins. While raising twins and multiples poses a huge challenge, you can raise successful children. Here are a few effective twins parenting tips that can help you through the unique situations that face the parents of twins.
Tip #1 Realize That Twins Need to Be Parented Differently
The first tip you need to remember when parenting twins or multiples is to realize that multiples need to be parented differently. The experience is different for the entire family. You’ll find that there are two children you must split yourself between and twins often have a strong bond with each other and not as strong of a bond with their parents. As a parent of twins, you’ll find yourself tired on a regular basis, and there may be times when you even are inconsistent. Realize that parenting multiples is an entirely different experience than parenting a single child. This will free you up from the preconceived expectations you have for yourself as a parent.
Tip #2 Treat Your Twins as Individuals
Probably one of the most important tips you should keep in mind is to treat your twins as individuals. It is so important that your twins are able to develop personalities of their own. This means that you need to treat them each as an individual. Instead of referring to them as “twins”, make sure you refer to them as individuals. Also, encourage your family members and others that interact with your children to treat them individually as well. Call your twins by their name. Allow them to dress differently. Get them their own presents for their birthday. Just allow them to be themselves instead of forcing them to be looked at as simply “the twins”.
Tip #3 Have One-On-One Time with Each Child
To effectively parent your twins, you also need to make sure that you have one-on-one time with each child on a regular basis. It is more difficult for twins to have interactions with a parent one-on-one. Create times when each child can have alone time with each of the parents. This helps to teach them independence from their twin, it encourages them to build other relationships, and will even help them to develop language skills and better social skills. Sometimes the bond between parents and their twins is not as strong as it is with single born children. Taking time out for each child can change this and help to improve your bond with both children.
Tip #4 Don’t Compare Your Twins
Don’t compare your twins! It is very easy to start comparing your twins, setting expectations that can be difficult for the other twin to live up to. This can start while they are infants. It is easy to talk about which one cries more, the one that sleeps more, or the one that walks first. Don’t let yourself begin these comparisons. Allow your twins to be individuals and don’t compare them to each other. This way you avoid making one twin feel that they are not worth as much as their sibling.
Tip #5 Don’t Neglect Your Other Children
If you have other children as well, it is very important that you don’t neglect your other children. For children that are siblings of twins, sometimes it is tough for them to be noticed with all the activity and work that goes into raising twins or other multiples. Twins can make an older sibling feel that they are displaced. Often a lot of attention from friends and relatives will go to the twins as well, which can make other children feel left out. Make sure you spread your time around to all of your children. This will benefit your other children and your twins as well.
Raising children that are happy and healthy includes positive discipline and a lot of love and it is no different when raising twins. Although you may find yourself harried, tired, and tested, raising twins can be exciting. With these helpful tips, you’ll be better able to help your children both grow up to be unique and productive adults.