Guest Author - Julixa Newman
Teaching your children to share is always important, but do they have to share everything? As a mother of both singletons and twins, this is one question that had me researching all the opinions on the subject. My singletons were taught that it was nice to share with other children, but they didn't have to share everything. So, why is it that from day one I have been teaching my twins that sharing is a must? Only because they're twins-which I now realize is not fair. After doing my homework, I realized that I was affecting the individuality of my twins. Just because they were "womb mates" and the same age playing with the same set of toys did not mean that they had to go through life sharing everything. That is simply not fair.
You don't need to share “that” if you don't want to.
I like to divide the toys between their room and their playroom. That way they know that the toys and items in the playroom are for everyone. Toys or special items that are left in their rooms do not have to be shared. They can also each have personal space on their side of the room, or under their beds. It's as simple as that. They need to know that they are allowed to have their very own things. If they decide to share with their siblings, all the better; but it is not mandatory. Also, make sure that you ask whether or not they prefer to share a birthday cake or if they want individual ones. Do they prefer "Happy Birthday" to be sang to them one at a time or both together? These are things that are a given when you have one child so why should you assume any differently with twins?
Have them pick for themselves, you'll be astounded by what you will discover!
One of the most important things is to let your twins pick out what they want for themselves. If it's clothing, you may find that even though they pick the same item they might pick it in a different color and that's fine. They have a reason for this. It's their very own way of letting others know that they are different. They might look the same but that does not mean that they have the same taste! Some parents like to show their twins to the world in identical clothes, but it is very important not to force that upon them when they start expressing themselves. A parent can easily rob twins of their personal identies by grouping them into a pair, intentionally or not!
Make time for both twins
It is such a special feeling for any child to be able to spend some quality time with their parents. It helps with the bonding process and can really teach you a lot about them. Make sure that you take the time to go out with one at a time. Do you have family around? Let them take one to the supermarket while you take the other to the car wash. Different experiences are the building blocks of an individual identity. Get to know them separately. Talk to and praise the children individually. Ask them about their friends, their likes, their dislikes. I know that as parents of multiples we are always on the go, but we really need to see this from our twins' perspectives-separately. It will make such a difference in their lives to see that you see them for what they are-individuals.