Picture walking your boy- girl twins to the park on a sunny summer day. A truly exciting and picture perfect scene. But we all know it’s not perfect. Neither is it easy. As a new mother to twins, you may be anxious of what the journey will be like. Well, worry no more, here are 9 things to expect in raising boy- girl twins.
1) Your little girl fitting the mommy skirts
Girls tend to develop faster than their twin brother and she is probably taking the lead role in most of their games and activities. More often than not, the girl will become like a miniature mom to the boy while he takes on a passive role. Dr. Pamela Varady, a clinical psychologist advises parents to look out for this and teach their girl- boy twins that each person’s needs and ideas are important and valued. Let the twins know that you appreciate them as different individuals and do not send the message consciously or unconsciously that the girl is in the lead.
2) Time away from each other
Many parent’s prefer to keep their twins together even through school by putting them in the same class. However, Dr. Joan Friedman recommends it being a smart move to separate boy- girl twins in school to give the boy a chance to grown into himself without his twin’s sister shadow. Of course it may be the other way round, where the boy becomes the miniature parent. As cute as it is having the twin brother take on the role of miniature parent to his twin sister, parents should be on the look out to correct this kind of shadowing. Time away from each other will help them develop into their own individual personality as well as reduce the risk of Twin separation anxiety. Read more about it here.
3) Birthday Party’s come in two’s
More likely than not, you will find yourself planning a birthday party with two themes. One for the girl and another for the boy. If they are young, they do not have much say in the theme choice but as they become of age, you will have to deal with all the wants and preferences, two for each. However hectic it is trying to pull all that into one, at the end of the day, seeing your babies turn a year older will be a worthwhile price for all the work. On the flip side, you could go for a gender-neutral birthday theme to cut the cost and work involved. Get ideas here for gender-neutral birthday themes.
4) Tad bit competitions and squabbles
“He took my toy.”
“She ate my cupcake.”
Conflict is all part of the growing process and you should be fully armed to deal with this little squabbles that twins may be involved in. It can be draining and frustrating for the parent but that does not mean it is impossible to resolve and prevent such squabbles in the future. Separate the acts from actor and discipline equally where needed. Here is your chance to teach them all about emotional intelligence, conflict resolution and social skills.Dr. Pamela Varady recommends the steps below to teach conflict resolution in twins;
1) Promote labelling feelings
2) Encourage empathy
3) Show better ways to express difficult feelings
4) State the conflict.
5) Invite a resolution
6) Show confidence in their ability to resolve a conflict.
Dr. Pamela says “Resolving conflicts this way helps increase their emotional intelligence, and allows you an occasional glimpse of peace and quiet.”
5) The ‘favorite one’ blame game
In a moment of anger or hurt, one of your kids may air out how they think you are favoring their brother or sister over them. It may have rooted from a single incident which you probably don’t remember. You cannot keep account of each and every action you do in regards to raising your twins but you can give it your best to treat them equally and as individuals. Talk to your kids and help them figure out what interests they have and ask them how they feel about the actions you take in regard to them. If you do something for Emma, then do it for John to avoid this parent trap?
6) Alone time
Practically, alone time with each of your boy-girl twins may be impossible if you do not have help from a care taker. Most parent fail to have alone time with their twins due to the triadic connection they feel between their babies and themselves. Dr. Friedman says that “Committing to alone time and working through protests and anxieties on the part of both twins and their parents is an important goal.” She explains that a strong bond with one’s parent is the cornerstone of healthy emotional growth and an avenue toward achieving harmonious twin relationship.
7) Expect stereotype comments from the public
“Do you favor the boy or the girl?”
“A boy is way easier to raise.”
“Wait until the girl reaches puberty.”
All this and more are comments you are likely to receive from people who have not yet taken their time to study how true the myths are. These outrageous and unfounded may throw you off the balance especially when asked in the presence of your kids. Seize the opportunity and help them focus on the twin’s individuality and personality.
8) Marvel at the twin talk
Also known as Idioglossia, toddler twins will be involved in this adorable babble like words with each other which only they seem to understand. It’s comical and expressive but parents should ensure it is not as a result of inadequate parental interaction as Dr. Friedman puts it. Twin attachment is important but so is the relationship with their parent. Meanwhile, enjoy their babble before they outgrow it…
9) Over to you
One of the best thing of being a parent is that you can raise your kids into what you would want them to be while upholding the values you consider important. Through the years, you can help them discover their individual personality and watch as they turn into admirable adults.
Over all, raising boy- girl twins will be an exciting journey where a life time memories and bonds are created. Getting parenting wrong can be horrifying but the endless possibilities of how great your kids could turn out is worth all the trial and error phases. After all, isn’t life a journey of learning and unlearning?
Share with us, your journey in the comment section below.