When Twins Perform Differently
It’s first grade, we are halfway through the semester and it’s time for parent teacher interviews. As if one child wouldn’t have been hard enough, you have two. Matt and Abby, and they’re twins. In being twins, when looking from the outside the two hardly differ. Though of course this is not the case. Matt is known for being great at mathematics and puzzles. He excels at absorbing the information told to him, yet his mind easily wanders. Abby, on the other hand is a great reader and loves stories. It may take her longer to get a grasp on things, but once she does, they always stick.
Now these differences are especially noticeable to you, as a parent. While reading, Matt takes a lot longer to get through a page, while Abby coasts along seamlessly down each paragraph. Meanwhile, in Matt’s stronger field, mathematics, Abby really isn’t too much trouble. Sure, it may take her a little longer to understand a concept, yet she is very capable.
This issue is raised at parent teacher interviews. Matt is just lacking in the literary department, and it’s important to figure out how to help. While doing this, though, it’s also crucial to ensure that the relationship between the two isn’t harmed in anyway. Abby must be able to feel proud in here abilities without making Matt feel bad about himself. Nor would we want Matt to dislike his twin for her natural abilities.
Comparisons between Twins can Ruin Relationships
As with everyone, all people are unique. This rule of life does not leave out twins, either. Throughout life they may look the same, yet as they grow older their differences become more pronounced. Each twin has their own personalities, comprised of interests and abilities, little quirks. Despite this fact, in the case of twins often people tend to compare them, for their similar looks. And when twins differ greatly in ability, for example in intelligence or athleticism, its easy to spot them as stark comparisons. This easily can lead to one twin feel lesser than the other, should they be less smart or fit than the other.
This, especially when acknowledged and commented on by the parents, easily leads to unhealthy competition. Instead, it’s good practice to encourage and comment on each child’s strengths as individuals. Instead of comparing twins, celebrate their differences, and support their natural formation into a team, as opposed to enemies. Author of ‘Twinspiration,’ Cheryl Lage states that “We must make a sincere effort to not diminish the achievements of the ‘excelling’ twin while continuing to encourage the endeavours of the ‘practicing-and-maybe-just-enjoying- twin.” By gravitating towards compliments and positivity the focus is taken away from success and instead placed on effort, which is a healthy ground for learning.
Everyone has unique talents, and so it’s no surprise that your twins will also. It’s important to enable understanding of this by sharing stories of things you’re good at, as well as things your not so good at. Perhaps you were once the best writer in the whole of school, yet could never bump that C grade in maths up to a B. It’s possible that your ‘struggling’ twin may just have not yet uncovered their talent, and so it’s up to you as a parent to help them discover what it may be. By enrolling your student in music classes, or sports, they have more opportunities to find something they are passionate about. Often, this passion and pride will spill into other aspects of their life too.
Twins in the Same Classroom?
Depending on the relationship that your twins have, putting both twins in the same classroom can be either beneficial or detrimental to their education. Some twins are very bonded, and thus rely on each other for support. Thus, with both in the same learning environment it creates a mutually beneficial atmosphere for the two. However, in other cases having two twins in the same classroom simply makes it easier for comparing twins. This can create a problem that affects performance.
When two twins occupy the same classroom, the struggling one often relies too hard on the other. This is why it’s important to separate them. It gives the ‘struggler’ a chance to develop their own learning styles and talents, rather than relying on the other twin to take charge. Furthermore, it allows the leading twin to grow individually as well, rather than finding themselves in the role of a caretaker all the time.
It’s also important to try other types of learning strategies with the struggling twin at home. They may be a visual learner, or an active learner whereas the other may be a strong listening learner. Perhaps it may be more beneficial to separate the two twins while teaching at home. It also never hurts to formally test the struggling child. Early intervention like this is important, for you don’t want them to give up with school.
Supporting the Struggling Twin
While it is important to help the struggling twin in their educational endeavours, it’s also important to remember to praise them and celebrate their strengths also. Failure to do this can simply exacerbate the issue and lead to more comparing of twins. Anyway, here is a few suggestions of how to fairly help your twins out at home.
Use the Internet:
There are plenty of educational internet games and websites that kids love to use. They’re great for ensuring motivation in their studies and easily can help the struggling twin to catch up, for they are incredibly accessible.
It could be embarrassing to know that you are the struggling twin. That’s why it’s important to split the pair up during study time, to allow each twin a free space to study.
Games such as Mad Libs or Scrabble are excellent for boosting literary capabilities. Even games such as Yahtzee help to accustom kids to use of numbers.
It never hurts to play sports with your kids. Confidence in sports also spills over into other areas of life too, creating a wholly beneficial practice.
Overall, create a supportive environment, praising success and bringing everyone together.