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How to Have Independent Twins

Updated on June 18, 2012

We Are Raising Four Children, Not Two Sets of Twins

We Are Raising Four Children, Not Two Sets of Twins
We Are Raising Four Children, Not Two Sets of Twins | Source

When you find out you are expecting, the thought of bringing a new life into the world is amazing and overwhelming at the same time. My primary focus when I found out I was having a baby was taking care of my body. I was no longer just affecting me. I had a little baby inside of me!

At our first ultrasound, we found out we were expecting twins. Only two percent of the world's population are twins. I was shocked to find out we were having a set! Now I had two little babies inside me!

I had an uneventful pregnancy. At thirty-seven weeks and five days, we welcomed our two sons. They weighed 6 lbs. 3 oz. and 5 lbs. 12 oz. They were healthy and came home with us.

Seventeen months later, we brought home our second set, a little boy and girl. They were 6 lbs. 4 oz. and 6 lbs. 9 oz. They were also healthy and came home with us, too!

We made it a priority to raise healthy, independent twins. We planned to:

  • Treat them as siblings with shared birthdays
  • Emphasize their individual differences
  • Dress them differently
  • Address their individual learning needs and school life
  • Address possible dependencies

Fraternal Twins

Our first set is fraternal boys. Our second set is boy/girl and therefore are fraternal as well. Unlike identical twins, fraternal twins do not share any more genetic information than siblings. The only difference is that their gestation and births occurred at the same time.

We Dress Our Twins Uniquely

Our Twins Have Always Dressed Differently (ages nineteen months and two months)
Our Twins Have Always Dressed Differently (ages nineteen months and two months) | Source

How To Dress Twins

I have sisters that dress their kids the same for family pictures. I wonder if I would if I did not have twins. Our twins are fraternal. They look like siblings, but could never be confused for one another after you know them.

Dressing twins starts out as a preference by the parents. We have always dressed our children uniquely. Even though they were the same size and shared clothes, they never wore the same outfit at the same time. We asked for the gifts to be different. Unlike many twin parents, we did not want two of everything.

As the children became older, they began to pick favorite colors. I had a son that would only wear orange for years! I used to buy green for our oldest son, orange for his twin, blue for our next son and then pink or purple for our daughter. They began to identify themselves by their colors.

Even though the older two are in Catholic schools and wear uniforms, they change right when they get home. The three oldest boys share a wardrobe. No clothes are alike. But, I do have to double take if two happen to be wearing an orange shirt.

Our First Set Of Twins: The Boys

Our First set of twins
Our First set of twins | Source

Our Second Set of Twins: The Little Ones

Our Second Set of Twins
Our Second Set of Twins | Source

Do You Separate Twins In School?

Do you keep twins together or separate in school? This can depend on the parent's preferences as well. I think this completely depends on the children. In our case, we treated them as individuals from day one. To this day, set one is ‘the boys’ and set two are ‘the little ones’. We never even called them twins.

I have a sister with a set of boy/girl twins. Sometimes they shared classrooms. Sometimes they were together. She said it is absolutely easier on the parent when they are together. You get one set of homework, one set of directions and one set of projects.

My husband and I agreed to keep them together as long as the following occurred:

1. They are at different tables in the classroom.

2. They are not holding each other back.

3. They are continuing to develop independently and at their own rate.

4. They have their own friends.

I am sure the teachers love me at parent teacher conferences. They have their agenda and I have mine. I always review my 4 items with the teachers. They laugh at me, but they understand.

Additionally, we review, yet again, do you see any reason they need to be separated? They agree that because they have been independent siblings up to this point, they are still functioning well in the same classroom. We will continue to review this topic every year as children change and so do their needs.

The Fear Of A Dependent Twin

Before our first set started Kindergarten, I was a little concerned that one of my boys was becoming dependent on his twin. He is the more sensitive of the two. He really enjoys drawing so I found him an art class. Every Thursday for a couple of months, the whole group dropped him and only him off at art class. He was worried at first. He wondered why his brother wasn’t in his class. I said that we wanted him to try something on his own and practice drawing. He smiled getting back in the car after each class. He had fun at class and did a great job being on his own.

I enjoyed the art projects he created. Even more, I enjoyed watching the confidence and independence grow.

Our Singleton

Our Singleton
Our Singleton | Source

Our Singleton

We started with two sets of twins. Twins were what we knew. I felt like we were becoming experts in raising independent twins.

When our twins were four and three, we had a singleton. He arrived at thirty-nine weeks four days and weighed 8 lbs. 12 oz. He was healthy and came home with us.

For years our focus was creating independent twins. Suddenly our concerns shifted to how my singleton would be by himself! This little guy was flying solo! My older kids had always had playmates.

My concern was unwarranted.

He acts just like ninety-eight percent of world. He is excited when they return to school, but he does things on his own just fine. He is naturally independent.

Twin Life

There are advantages to being a twin. Twins have always had a playmate. Most of their encounters in life occurred with their twin. They were born with their best friend.

However, they have challenges as well. People forget who is who. People forget to treat them as individuals. People forget that twins are simply siblings sharing birthdays.

While a synonym for twin is duplicate, don't forget that they are in fact unique.

© 2012 Karen Lackey

A Twin Essential: The Double Stroller

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      Kaddy 2 years ago

      An error that we parents make most of times is wanting to raise our kids "as we enjoy/are pleased" and we many times forget to ponder about impacts on their future.

      When it comes to identical twins most of us act illogically by forcing ourselves to make them be alike all the times in all aspects of their lives which is very bad.

      This begins by dressing them same clothes, always buying everything doubly, same activities, same class,... and we don't realize how we are forging one combined individual instead of two different ones and this makes them very dependants to each other.

      At adulthood, we end up blaming them because anyone of them can't do anything unless the other do the same( Business, Marriage, investments etc...). And we forget that is the fruit of our careless attitude we adopted since their early childhood.

      Thanks for your story, it is very instructive and inspiring.

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks again for spending time reading my hubs, justateacher! I think embracing the children for themselves is essential regardless of birth order, multiples, etc. I am sure you have even more insights as a teacher! Thanks again for all the kind words and comments!

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      I always wanted twins - I only wanted two children and thought it would be great to have just one pregnancy. I did have my two children - but were four years apart. I am now glad that I didn't have twins - I would have been one of those who forced her kids to wear the same things and do everything together. As a teacher, I now have different views about that.

      The tips you have here are just as good for singletons! What a great hub- and what beautiful children!

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, KrystalD for comments!

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      This was an excellent hub! Great topic, writing and pics :)

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, jellygator. Thanks for the comment on the kids, too. We are biased, but we think they are beautiful, too!

    • jellygator profile image

      jellygator 4 years ago from USA

      Love this! I haven't ever had much exposure to twins, but have always been interested in how they relate to each other. By the way, all five of your children are beautiful.

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, sofs! I agree that many are overwhelmed by twins. We are surviving so far! Thanks for taking the time to read!

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 4 years ago

      That was an interesting read. Sounds great, the way you have taught them to value their independence an still be close. I am sure that people who fear having twins will take courage from your hub. Useful information. Have a lovey day.

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks for reading again, Debi! I bet you have a different perspective on twins being together or separate being a teacher!

    • profile image

      Debi 4 years ago

      I like how you said, "People forget that twins are simply siblings sharing birthdays." I have a twin in my classroom and her brother is across the hall. These two are so much fun and yet so different from one another!

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Jimmy! I think independent children is the goal of all parents, not just those with twins. Thanks for commenting!

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, goodlady for all the kind words! More and more twin parents are out there. Hopefully they can benefit from the article! Thanks for the comments!

    • jimmythejock profile image

      James Paterson 4 years ago from Scotland

      Thanks for sharing this insightful information, as a father of four, I can relate to this.

      great hub.....jimmy

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      How sparing you were with all the information that you have to share, how succinct you were, and how important your experience has been and how very helpful and encouraging to parents who find themselves with twins.

      Sensible, practical simple humane advice.

      Just great!

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, angela michelle! I didn't want my son to have any issues in Kindergarten. PreK is such a smaller setting and he was never nervous there. The money for the art class was well worth the intangibles he learned. Thanks for commenting!

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 4 years ago from United States

      I think that is so awesome you have two sets of twins. I think it was great that you signed up one of your boys for a class independent of the other. It shows that you are a very attentive parent.

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Janis. My kids are definitely not lonely! I am kind of common sensical and luckily this method is working for us. However, we will keep adjusting as the kids grow up! Thanks for commenting.

    • Janis Goad profile image

      Janis Goad 4 years ago

      I found your hub engaging and humourous. I like the straightforward style and common-sense advice. I raised one child, and I think she has often been lonely. Raising two sets of twins sounds like a challenge, but you've got it figured out. The best grounding parents can give any child is a strong sense of self and personal worth.

      Voting Up!

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 4 years ago from Ohio

      Another twin mom! Love it! Classes together are working so far for our older boys. I will be curious about our boy/girl twins. That might be a different situation for sure! Thanks for commenting!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I too am a parent of twins. When they were young relatives always bought them the same outfits. I never said anything except I did ask that if they had to buy them the same outfit at least get them in different colors. Most of the time when they were in school they were in separate classes, which I liked.

      Excellent and very useful hub!

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks for reading, Laura. I found a pair of orange Gap 'khakis' once. He wore them for Easter and Christmas mass. Nothing like orange! Thanks for the comments!

    • LauraGSpeaks profile image

      LauraGSpeaks 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Good hub to point out the importance of raising children to be individuals. This is important for twins and non tiwns. Great no nonsense approach! I too had a son who loved to wear orange!

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, practicalmommy! It was fun thinking about this topic and how BUSY we were when they were all little! So far, it is working out well! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 4 years ago from United States

      I agree with theraggededge: how sensible you are with raising your children! I'm sure they will be grateful when they are older that you allowed them to be identified as individuals and not just as twins. I had a few friends who were twins who had to endure the same outfits, the same classes, and the same activities. Most of them resented it all, wanting to be different and have their own life. Very few of them liked dressing alike.

      You're doing an awesome job! Great hub. :)

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, theraggededge! My kids are all so unique and so much fun. Thanks for the comment!

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 4 years ago from Wales

      How completely sensible you are. Your children are very lucky to have parents who take the time to think it all through. I haven't got twins, but if I did, this is the approach I would take.

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Simey C! I didn't realize you had twins, too! Thanks for reading!

    • SimeyC profile image

      Simon Cook 4 years ago from NJ, USA

      As a parent of twins I find this very useful and informative! I agree with everything you say and find tha it's important to allow your twins to be independent if they want! Very Good hub!

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