Having twins is a wonderful blessing. They certainly are double the work, but also double the love! A question that many twin parents are asked is, “Do you have a favorite twin?” Of course, the answer is almost always, “No way”, but sometimes parents do favor one twin more than the other for various reasons.
Have I had a favorite twin?
I squirm at the question as I don’t want to admit that maybe someime sometimes yes. I had a friend once who pointed out that she thought I preferred one baby over the other and I was quite indignant over the comment but in reflection maybe I did. Did I pick up one baby more than the other, played with one baby more and cooed over one? Then in my defense I remember making a big effort to spend more time with the second twin.
Studies have actually shown that parents begin to favor one twin at some point along the parenthood journey. They don’t really intend to, but it does happen. Perhaps Dad tends to spend more time with the “easy” twin, while Mom handles the “higher maintenance” twin. Or maybe Mom and Dad sort of designate one twin for duties like feeding, bathing, rocking, and so on. The parental bond created by spending more time with that infant can carry on and cause favoritism.
Even if Mom and Dad do not show favoritism, some twins can feel it. I know of a family who had fraternal boy and girl twins and the boy always felt like everyone favored his sister. Even though there was no apparent favoritism, he felt like there was and it caused him to always carry a chip on his shoulder.
Keep in mind that when twins perceive favoritism, it can cause competition to occur between the twins. Jealousy is already very common in children, so combine that with perceived favoritism and a fierce battle can ensue. You can combat this by monitoring your behavior, as well as talking to the twins about the issue when they become old enough to understand it.
Remember that your twins are each individuals and it’s all right to spend more time with one than the other at times depending on the needs of the twins. You may have one twin that requires more health care or more instruction than the other, so do what you have to do, but be sure that in general you are spending quality time with each twin.
There may also be times when you tend to “like” one twin more than the other, such as when one is going through a rebellious phase and the other is compliant. In such a case, your more positive thoughts about the compliant twin does not mean that you “favor” him or her, it simply means that you like that particular behavior more than the defiant behavior.
Be careful what words you are speaking to you twins. Never tell one twin that you favor him over the other. Don’t even jokingly tell this to other people, as they may overhear you. You may simply be kidding, but the twins can take it the wrong way. Better to be safe than sorry.
Also be careful not to say, “Why can’t you be more like your twin?” This can make a child feel shameful and it can cause a host of emotional issues. If your child is not behaving or doing something wrong, let them know that you disapprove of the behavior. You don’t ever have to bring up other siblings on this issue. Letting them know that the behavior is wrong, but they are not wrong, will help them to understand that it is the behavior that causes consequences- not them in general.
I hope this article has shed some light on the subject of favoritism. Twins certainly are great additions to a family and can bring many blessings. If you feel that you favor one twin over the other and cannot seem to find a balance, feel free to see a professional counselor who can help you through the issue so that both of your twins will feel the same amount of love from you.
Do I have a favorite twin today?
Today my girls have just turned 3. They fight like siblings and play like best friends. Someone taught me recently with words of wisdom from parenting girls now in their 20’s the importance of spending one-on-one time with your children and it is paramount with twins. I think consciously taking turns spending one-on-one time with twins individually will reduce any feelings of favourtism. Something I look forward in doing more and more as the girls get older.
Have you ever had stages of a favorite twin or child?