Recently I was reading an emotional post from a mum of newborn twins. She was having a tough time after one of her babies had needed to spend an extended time in the nicu. For a few weeks she’d had only one of her twins at home and now they were both home she said she felt a stronger bond with the one she’d spent more time with.
Basically she had a favourite twin and felt awful about it. This got me wondering whether I favoured one of my girls. It’s a bit of a taboo subject to say you have a favourite child. Of course you are supposed to love and treat them equally but that’s not always easy.
Children are complicated
Children, especially toddlers and older ones have their own temperaments that may or may not be similar to your own. They are also trying to navigate new and complex emotions and can deal with these in very different ways.
Nature vs Nurture
My twin girls are very different. They look very different and they act very different. Seeing as they have been raised as similarly as two children can be, it just goes to show how much is down to nature. They have completely different strengths and face challenges differently.
What I realised was that I don’t love one twin more than the other, I just find one twin easier to parent at this point than the other. Whatever your style of parenting, if it’s working with one and not so much with the other, of course that’s going to cause conflict.
Stage not Age
Thinking this way made me see that everything is a stage. Just because you have twins, it doesn’t mean they are going through the same stage at the same time. They may even go through completely different stages. Some stages are going to be tougher than others. You may have a screamer and one that’s laid back. However give it a year and they could switch entirely.
Something I’ve always remembered from my teacher training is that we should always label the actions they make as negative and not the child. If a child hits, it is the hitting that is bad, not the child. They are still learning boundaries and how to control themselves. As parents, we need to be there to guide them as best we can without showing any favouritism.
So to the mum who thinks she’s got a favourite, maybe one child is just more similar to you. Maybe one twin is going through a trickier stage and needs more of your support right now. Who knows what they’ll be like as adults but regardless, it’s not going to benefit anyone if you show preference.
Would you admit to having a favourite twin?