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Fraternal Twin Parenting Concerns

Identity and Your Fraternal Twin

For the most part, throughout this article I refer to a fraternal twin in the singular rather than the plural "twins." This is to emphasize the individuality of each twin. Too often twins are defined only by their being a part of a whole, rather than by their own individual identity. This can be very damaging emotionally, especially during the time children are struggling to establish their own self worth and place in the world.

Treat your fraternal twin as the autonomous, unique child they are. Genetically, fraternal twins are no more similar than their siblings who were born one at a time, and they certainly have personalities all their own. DNA tests can be performed to determine which type of twins your children are - fraternal, identical, etc. Far too often people look too hard for similarities between fraternal twins that simply aren't there - and in the meanwhile, they miss the opportunity to get to know each twin individually.

As a parent, do everything in your power to encourage each twin as they develop their own identities. If one wants to play soccer and the other has a passion for bagpipes, encourage each of them to work hard and excel at what they want to do. You will be doing the twins and the world a gross disservice by pigeon-holing both children into the same activity just because they happened to be born at the same time.

At the same time you are encouraging and accepting the difference between your fraternal twin and her brother, accentuate the similarities. There is no doubt your twins will share a special bond, if for no other reason than that they are growing up with a sibling their same age. The bond that fraternal twins share can be the source of love and support throughout their lives, and you would hate to destroy that by being overeager to make them lead different lives.

Dressing Your Twins Alike

When they are little, it probably matters very little what you dress your twins in. But when your fraternal twin starts to become conscious of the fact that she is different than most people, you will need to be especially sensitive to her needs with regards to establishing her individual identity. Simply put, if your children like being dressed the same, do it; if they don't, do them and yourself the favor of letting them wear different clothes.

In the end, as is the case with all children, there is no clear cut answer when it comes to the best way to raise your twins. Learn everything you can from those who have been there and done that, but trust your parental intuition and do what's best for your kids. Finally, remember that "the most important work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home."



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