Time to Buy Different Clothes, Not Just Different Colors

Many parents of monozygotic twins recognize the importance of not dressing them identically. They often decide to dress the twins in different colors to simplify shopping and make it easier for others to identify who is whom. However, around the age of two to three years, children become keen to make decisions for themselves. Naturally, this developmental need for self-determination can lead to unintended conflicts. One solution for parents is giving the twins some control over choosing their own clothing. While I do not advise offering too many choices, allowing each child to select one of two shirts or two shorts, for example, can de-escalate the battle of wills.

If twins are always color-coded, they may lose the opportunity to choose what they want to wear. Giving young children the control to choose their outfits (within reason) helps them develop confidence in their decision making. Since many identical twin pairs insist on having the same possessions much of the time, they miss out on chances to exercise self-expression and freedom of choice. One mom told me that each of her three-year-old daughters has two different pairs of shoes, but the girls will not leave the house unless they are both wearing the same pair. In such cases, the drive for parity is stronger than the desire for creativity or individuality.

Thankfully, many of my client families are making plans to spend separate time with each twin again. Obviously, the pandemic disrupted many opportunities for individual activities. As I often state on this blog, one-on-one time facilitates a parent’s attachment to each child rather than to the dyadic unit.

Image courtesy of Melissa O’Donohue (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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