Are You Creating Sibling Rivalry by Comparing Twins?

I am visiting my twin grandchildren Liam and Dylan in Los Angeles, while my daughter is in Washington, D. C. presenting at the American Society of Aging Conference. While writing a book about siblings, Mom Loves You Best, I never expected to have twin grandkids.

But, now I have twin sibling grandsons

Liam and  Dylan are 11 months today. Dylan just started walking last week and is now is both walking and carrying toys.  Yesterday he climbed a small wooden slide in their room like a monkey. I was shocked and captured it on my phone for his mother. Liam the other twin is still crawling. Dylan crawled first while Liam did a swimming stroke on the floor. Liam crawled a month later. Their parents worried about the delay .So I started to look into how one twin sibling meeting developmental phase before the other affects twin siblings.

Since my twin grandchildren are fraternal, it turns out that twin development is much like singletons- they will reach their milestones- like walking, crawling, and speaking at their own pace. As twins, they can sometimes eventually do what the other twin does, just by watching or mirroring.

The important thing is for parents try not to compare  too much, though I know it is very hard especially with twins.  My daughter’s pediatrician offered the same advice. He himself is the parent of twins. After all, they are individuals so he told them not to worry if milestones aren’t being reached at exactly the same time.

Although twins begin life at the same moment they are not always headed to the same place at the same pace. Parents need to avoid saying he walked first, she crawled first, he’s more agile, and she is smarter. Comparison can lead to sibling “ I hate you stories “, in years to come, reaching into midlife and old age. After all, the first murder in the bible was Cain killing Abel over comparisons.

You know your twins best so if you think either child is lagging behind in one or more developmental stages, then, like my daughter and her husband, tell this to your doctor or pediatrician.

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About momlovesyoubest

Cathy Cress holds an MSW in Aging from U.C. Berkeley. Her new book Mom Loves You Best, Forgiving and Forging Sibling Relationships , New Horizon Press, was published October 2010. Cress’s book , Handbook of Geriatric Care Management, Jones and Bartlett, is the bible of geriatric care management and is out out in a third edition in February 2011 .Her book Care Managers, Working With the Aging Family, Jones and Bartlett,2008 is one of the few major books on the aging family. Ms. Cress is the founder of GCM Consult ,working with small and national who want to add or launch GCM businesses. She is on the faculty at the University of Florida in their on line master’s in geriatric care management -GCM . She has taught geriatric care management at San Francisco State University , UC Berkeley and teaches at Cabrillo College and San Mateo College. She was founder and director of Cresscare, a GCM business, for 25 years.
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