A father of twins raised a poignant dilemma during one of my recent presentations. He feels terribly uncomfortable praising one twin for his special talent and not being able to do the same for his other son. Specifically, he is uncomfortable complimenting one son’s musical skills because his brother does not demonstrate the same proficiency. He feels guilty and unclear about treating each one differently. That this dad equates praising one son as diminishing the other illustrates how much this father struggles with experiencing his sons as two separate individuals.
If one can try to imagine that the twins are just siblings or maybe cousins, perhaps that will help curb the tendency to compare and contrast. His attempts to make situations equal between his two boys attest to this father’s difficulty appreciating each boy as an individual. As another father in the audience aptly mentioned, parents must try to find activities and experiences that are the right fit for each child. As the twins get older and feel more individuated, they will feel increasingly comfortable with their differences and similarities, especially if they have not had to compete for limelight and love. Their singularity needs to be celebrated and appreciated.