Sibling rivalry is one of those things you come to expect when you’re raising more than one child. You naturally expect some friction and competition as they grow up and while most do overcome it, some drag it on to adulthood.
But what if you’re raising twins? How do you deal with it when one twin outshines the other?
As a mother of twins, my sister experienced this when one of her girls started outperforming her twin at sports. Their mother eventually noticed that although both enjoyed the sports equally at first, one inevitably lost interest when her sister pulled ahead of her.
This was causing a lot of friction in the household and where the twins once supported and encouraged each other, now they were constantly competing. To further compound matters, the one who excelled at sports also gained a new crowd to hang out with and her sister felt completely left out.
Things couldn’t go on and a solution had to be found, for peace to reign once more in the house.
Encouraging Individuality In Twins
Thinking it over, my sister finally realized the friction between her twins stemmed from their shared twin identity. From a young age, the twins had taken on certain roles and now the need to forge their own separate identities meant that those roles had to be relegated.
The shared bond they had made one feel betrayed when her twin made more progress while the other felt guilty for outshining her sister. While sports were intended to give them a new avenue to work as a team, it was pulling them apart. One twin felt her sister was the favorite and received all the attention while the other felt she wasn’t free to celebrate her success. Left unchecked, both girls might have turned to unhealthy coping methods to deal with the issue.
So here’s what their mother did instead.
She encouraged the inherent personality differences in each child.
Even though they were twins, each girl had her own personality and my sister sought to bring out these differences to encourage their individuality. For instance, one twin loved art and cooking and was enrolled for these classes while her sister played various sports. This separation gave each twin the room she needed to bloom.
She started cultivating a unique connection with each twin.
Additionally, their parents rearranged their schedules so that they could spend one-on-one time with each of the girls. This eliminated the constant competition for attention and allowed each parent to forge a unique bond with the twins.
She began rewarding hard work and effort instead of performance.
Instead of rewarding each girl based on her performance, my sister emphasized effort and hard work. She taught her girls that showing up, doing their best and being supportive of each other was what really mattered and the lesson stuck.
Competition and sibling rivalry are common with kids but it can be more intense when twins are involved. Helping them develop their individuality and celebrating their differences goes a long way towards reducing friction as each feels they are special in their own unique way.
This is a TwinPickle guest post from writer and mother, Cindy Price.