Many mothers / babies with twin or triple babies wonder how they can develop their individual identities, especially if they are identical twins. Psychologist Özden Dandul from Yeditepe University Hospital gives the answer to this question in his article.
It has always been a very important question, and often a matter of concern, to see how children who are physically very similar to each other and who grow up in the same living environment can develop their individual identities better. However, the temperament characteristics of children, that is, their inherent character traits, are not the things that parents bring to their children. I think that remembering this fact by parents will reduce the pressure on them.
Some parents who have twins or triplets complain about not being able to pay special attention to each of their babies from the chaos they experience, especially in the weeks after birth. The time parents spend in feeding their babies or changing their diapers is a special time in which one-to-one attention can be given.
Particularly, the period between 18 months and three years is a period in which the child tries to reinforce this by realizing their differences. There are some things that parents can do to support their children's identity development during this period. It is possible to sort them as follows.
• Give your twin babies names with very different sounds. If the names you give have names that are very similar to each other, then you can also call your children by giving them proper nicknames.
• Be careful not to dress your twin children as an example. So others won't confuse which one. The confusion of the environment makes them more confusing.
• Keep your children's clothes separate from each other. Every child needs to know which dresses belong to him / her and thus develop his / her own style of clothing as independently as possible. • Children need to know which toy belongs to them, just like their clothes. It is important to remember that the basic condition of sharing is to have it first. If they belong to both, children also find it difficult to perceive themselves as independent individuals over time.
• Instead of referring to your children as 'twins', speak by name, so that others around you will learn to speak of them as separate individuals instead of 'twins'.
• It is very important to make separate birthday cakes, even if small, on birthdays and to give them both separate gifts instead of a common gift and to be attentive about this issue.
You may not be able to do all of the above suggestions at once, which is perfectly normal. In particular, spending time with each other separately can force parents both time and financially. However, it is very important to spend a one-to-one time with your child, even for a short period of time, for 10 minutes. The creation of private talk times, albeit for a short time, is of great benefit in spending time before sleep or in the morning.
The fact that twins, even for a short period of time, remain separate from each other provides the opportunity for each person to have direct one-on-one relationships with parents, adults or another child. They also need to be separated from time to time in terms of language and personality development. Because usually one of the twin children is more extroverted and talkative than the other, it can cause an attacker to initiate and direct the relationship in a way that leads to a relatively more introverted child. But if you are having difficulty separating your children physically and this causes your children to worry, you should not be too persistent. It's not just the physical breaks that matter, if you build an individual relationship with each of your children, you also support their identity development. If you see your children as different individuals and establish relationships in that direction, they learn to perceive themselves as different individuals.
When it comes to school life, there should be no hurry to send children to separate classes. All the researches and experiences suggest that twin children should be in the same class, especially during kindergarten. If children wish to continue their education in the same capacity, they should not be insisted on separating them. For a child starting kindergarten, leaving the family and getting used to school life is a difficult experience in itself. If the separation from the twin is added to this difficult experience, this becomes a very difficult situation for the child. If the twin children are separated from each other before time, they start to worry about where and how the other is. In this case, their concentration and healthy socialization may endanger their mental health. Late separation of twins does not delay their identity development, but early separation may delay identity development.
The twin brothers' relationships with each other are even closer than a married couple. They may even be said to be more successful than most of us in dealing with potential problems in a bilateral relationship. The challenge they face is the difficulty of being independent on their own. The greatest support that parents can give to their children in this regard is not to see them as a whole and not to treat them as part of the same whole. Individual differences of their children should be realized by the parents and these differences should be reinforced.