“Figure It Out, Parents”
I am quoting a line from a wonderful article written by Meredith Bland for Time.com entitled “When One Twin is More Academically Gifted.” Bland is a well-known and well-respected freelance writer and blogger at pileofbabies.com. She is a fraternal twin herself and the mother of first-grade boy/girl twins. The conundrum she discusses in her article mirrors the dilemma faced by countless parents of twins: how do parents handle school placements when their twins have very different skill sets?
Bland shares how her life experience and her concerns about her children’s future prevented her from appreciating each twin’s unique temperament and personality.
In her book Quiet, Susan Cain devotes many pages to underscoring the importance of nurturing each child’s personality. She argues that introverted children should not be made to feel self-conscious or unsuccessful if they are not popular, outgoing leaders. Rather, she contends that these children should be involved in activities that maximize their creativity, comfort, and sociability.
Parents of twins often feel that parents of singletons don’t have the same difficulties with temperament and personality because there is not a same-age sibling alongside all the time to fuel comparisons. Nevertheless, Cain makes it quite clear that parents nowadays are so worried about their children’s career paths, earning potentials, and future choices that all parents can become blinded by societal pressures and expectations.
As Bland figures out, nurturing her daughter’s ethereal and imaginative spirit is just as important as appreciating her son’s mathematical proclivities. Parents of twins need to connect with each twin and recognize each twin’s uniqueness and stay the course without resorting to competitive comparisons. If children feel that their parents are happy and supportive of their best efforts, they can feel confident and celebrated in their differences, and children who grow up feeling distinctive have higher levels of self-esteem in adulthood.
Image courtesy of Kasey Erikson (CC BY-SA 2.0)