Guest Author - Julixa Newman
Anyone with multiples, no matter the age, will be able to tell you that there are distinct differences in their personalities. Even at one year or sooner, identical or not, the multiples will have somewhat different experiences. As time goes on, it will be those tiny differences that will eventually branch their personalities into the different entities you will see in the future.
I have heard every multiple parent use the term ďbuilt in best friendĒ at one time or another. Parents are busy these days, and a good many of them with multiples are staying home to work (or not), and avoid the costs in having more than one child in out of home care. It makes sense that multiple parents rely on the twins to be their own social interaction. It builds the bond(s), itís easier than getting everyone ready to go out, and itís certainly easier than having another mess-maker over for a play date. Plus, while many parents may take the play date offer, reciprocating may be at a minimum because no one wants to handle more than one of someone elseís children. They just arenít used to the noise and the messes we get to deal with, and it could seem overwhelming to them.
It is important to make an effort to make these play dates happen. Yes, the children learn a lot and build their bonds, but they need the other dynamics associated with extra children. As time goes on without these experiences, eventually they may blatantly compete with each other for another childís attention. In addition, it is not uncommon for two out of three children to alienate the third on occasion. For this reason, we say why not try play dates with two or more extra kids? Not only does it keep the alienation factor at bay, but it also gives the multiples a chance to make decisions regarding who they want to play with. By now, twins and triplets will naturally have different personality traits that makes each seek out certain characteristics in a playmate, so they may each find someone they like separate from each other.
As time goes on and your multiples reach school age, try to monitor their social development as much as possible without seeming overbearing. Since they are out of the house and (partly) out of your sight now, it may be difficult to see things like sibling jealousy over a friend. This will naturally be more prevalent with twins, since they are the same age and thus have relationships with the same groups of people. It may also come to be that one or the other falls behind in popularity, and the other sibling isnít sharing the same concern for their brother/sister that you would expect. Remember that it isnít the siblings fault, but you need to find creative ways to reinforce their bond if you can.
The best way to circumvent some of these circumstances is by developing their individual identities early on. Take them out separately; if one is introverted, perhaps there are activities you can seek out where they can come out of their shell a bit. Let them make lots of friends too-teach them that they may be a twin, but they are just as much of an individual as everyone else.