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School Days

Written by Ashley


Here is the issue with twins: They will be compared to one another for the rest of their lives. Like it or not, it's true. One will always be considered "the good one" or "the smart one" or "the pretty one" or "the athletic one" or "the nice one" and so on. If you are already a twin mom, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you are a twin-mom-to-be, you will soon understand.

People can't help but compare twins. I don't think they even realize they are doing it half the time. They may simply be trying to distinguish between the twins because perhaps the children are identical and hard to tell apart. Nonetheless, it can be hurtful at times.

As the twins get older, they pick up on what is being said about them. It can be detrimental—especially if they are the twin with the less desirable trait. Believe me, I know from experience.

Enter my fraternal twin boys. They look nothing alike and have very different personalities. Very early on, you could see signs that one was an introvert and the other was an extrovert. Shortly after their first birthday, it became clear that the extrovert was a little more daring, listened a little less, and was more rebellious. He was as loving and sweet as they come, just expressing his independence at a very young age!

Because of some of these rebellious actions, people would laugh and say things like, "He is sooo bad" or describe him as "the one who doesn't listen" or "the bad one."

These types of innocent comments are usually said with love and not meant to be hurtful. The problem is that over time the twin may start to believe what is being said and assume the characteristic assigned to him by others. If a twin is labeled "the bad one," for example, he might begin to act out because this is what is expected of him. It can be very problematic, as you can imagine.

In fact, over the past few years I have often heard things from my own twins like, "Well, he is the good one and I am the bad one" or "He is a better athlete" or "He is a better reader." It breaks your heart to hear these things.

I don't have any magic answer for dealing with this, but I think it is important to be aware that, like death and taxes, labeling of your twins is going to happen. And although you can't stop people from making these types of comparisons in the privacy of their own homes (and, by the way, you may even be guilty of it at times), you can put a stop to comments made in your presence and in the presence of your twins. Do whatever you can to protect your twins from this labeling as early as possible.


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