It used to be cute; now it’s getting creepy. How can I get them out of this phase?
You are right to encourage their individuality, says our elder. Just try not to be judgmental.
I’m a 30 year-old mother of 10 year-old twin girls. My problem with these two brats is that they’re copying each other at literally everything: they have the same behavior, same interests, same habits. They use the same words and phrases. They like the same things (foods, activities, games). They even dislike the same things! When we go shopping, they insist they want to buy matching outfits (although I have recently started to buy them different outfits to contrast this tendency they have). I thought it merely an inaccurate stereotype, but now that I have it, I can see how ridiculously similar they are. I just feel I have two copies of the same child, and I’m not exaggerating. Even as their mother, it’s often hard for me to distinguish between them. My husband told me to ‘chill’, as he thinks there’s nothing wrong about it. He thinks that’ll change sooner or later without our interference. I told him they’re too old to still act like this! I’m worried about them. I want each one of them to be herself, not a clone of the other! I think it’d get even weirder if they reach their teens and still completely emulate each other on all aspects. I don’t know why are they doing that. The girls are very compatible with each other and they spend most of their time together. They’re like a cluster of two connected cherries. This used to be cute when they were younger, but now I think they should’ve passed that phase long ago. I tried to talk to them about it, but they don’t seem to understand or care. They’ve gone far beyond the normal similarity of twins and I think this is really odd and uncomfortable. I’m afraid this might have a negative impact on them later. What should I do about this? I appreciate your help.
Identical twins form from a single fertilized egg and have the same DNA. So your daughters are as close as any two people on earth can be. While it may seem strange or disturbing at times to you, their behavior is normal for them.
It is good to distinguish between them so that others can tell them apart. I commend you for buying them different outfits. Sometimes parents ‘color code’ their twins so that others get used to seeing one twin in certain colors (such as greens, violets and blues) and the other in other colors (such as reds, oranges and golds). This can be helpful when they go to school. You should explain to them (as you may have already done) that others need to have a way to tell them apart.
You may want to explore some online resources about twins and keep abreast of the latest research on twins. One organization that provides some information is the International Society for Twin Studies. There are events where families with twins can meet one another. Meeting other parents who have twins might be a good way to discuss the issues you have with your daughters. There may be online discussion groups as well.
I have known identical twins who played tricks on people when they became teenagers, playing on the fact that others could not tell them apart. Some of these tricks were funny, but others were more of the mean variety. If you even have trouble telling the girls apart sometimes, it is certainly going to be tricky for others to tell them apart without help!
You are right to be aware of the need to encourage your daughters’ individuality, even if it is in small ways. Even identical twins have differences and as they get older they will need to expand their circle of relationships and spend less time together. Helping them develop different interests and friendships will aid them in their process of development.
Having twins who are closely bonded is probably easier than having twins who don’t get along, but it presents unique challenges. Being aware of these challenges (as you obviously are) and addressing them without being freaked out or judgmental is the best way to proceed (in my opinion).
Letter #: 450567