A New Series published by Los Tweens & Teens
Whenever a friend or family welcomes a new baby- somewhere along the way my husband and I get asked- ‘HOW did you do it with two?’ The ‘toughness’ with twins almost always is associated with the infant and toddler years (and perhaps the teen years) but no one really tells you about those ‘in between’ years known as tweens!
I’m not going to sugar coat it- this is not an easy phase, but it’s so important. As tweens, children are forging their true personalities. They’re setting their future study habits, they are challenged socially and culturally and their self-confidence is questioned daily. Twins already have a hard time forging their independence because the world simply wants to see them as a ‘unit.’ As tweens they’re compared constantly- from grades, to the amount of friends they have, to their sports or physical abilities, and more. As a parent of twins- you have to be more vigilant and dedicated to helping them be individually successful more than ever. Your decision and support during these sensitive years will help them conquer their teens years and adulthood.
The best decision as parents of identical twins that we made ahead of their tween years was separating their classrooms in kindergarten. Since (as often is the case) one of our twins had stronger verbal skills, we had a spokesperson for the twins! By separating their classrooms earlier, each of them learned to communicate and learn on their own- outside of their ‘twinness’ and away from the inevitable comparison by teachers. Now as we enter the tough years of 4th grade and beyond- we can more easily support their study skills because we clearly know their individual weaknesses and strengths.
With all that preparation- it’s still tough. You have to prepare yourself that their grades are likely NOT going to be the same. You have to support the child that may be struggling while the other one may be shining and both need your attention as strongly. Watch carefully for the comparisons! Even other parents and family will want to compare them. I sound like a broken record repeating – ‘you are you and your sister is another person- love who you are and let’s focus on your goals.’ That focus to make them proud as individuals has helped guide our decisions. And while it’s easier to keep them together for activities- let them fly solo whenever you can. They need their own friends and their own hobbies- they DON’T have to do everything together because the more they are together- the stronger the comparisons. My children play different instruments and it’s great- no way to know who’s more ahead than the other!
I’ll continue sharing insights from raising Twin Tweens- please chime in with your thoughts and experiences.
Next up- getting the twins to focus on another language! When culture comes into play- it becomes even more fun in our house.
Cristy is the founder and publisher of Los Tweens & Teens, as well as the co-CEO & partner of DiMe Media, based in Miami. Born to Cuban parents, she’s a ‘Jersey Girl’ who is the proud mom of twin teens and wife to her college sweetheart, a “gringo” with a Latino soul! Cristy is also a teen cancer survivor, lover of travel, tech, good food, all-things beauty related, family cooking and social sharing.