As the parents of 10-year-old fraternal twins, the Peetes are looking for parenting advice specifically geared toward raising happy and healthy twins. Holly and Rodney talk with psychotherapist Dr. Joan Friedman, author of Emotionally Healthy Twins, about her advice for raising multiples.
Drawing on her own experience as a twin and as the mother of twins, Dr. Friedman says it's important for parents to help their twins develop a strong sense of uniqueness. Twins who don't develop their own identity often find themselves lonely and ill-prepared for the challenges of adult life, she says. "You're known because you're a twin, but nobody really knows you, and it's a very empty way to grow up because you don't get to feel your own specialness or what's unique about you," she says.
In order to cultivate each child's unique identity, Dr. Friedman says parents should give their twins attention, activities and opportunities apart from one another. In this way, she says twin siblings will actually grow to cherish their special bond as twins that much more. "Even though it sounds counterintuitive, the more you give your twins separate experiences, the closer they'll be," Dr. Friedman says.