Previously, psychologists did not single out any features of development in twins. It was believed that they pass through the same stages of formation as an ordinary child. The only thing, the results of the “comparative analysis” showed that the cognitive and mental functions in the first years of life in twins are on average 6-10 months late.
They later recognize themselves in the mirror, later master the speech, later they learn to think abstractly and so on in almost all key parameters. But today it is already known that comparing the pace of development of twins and ordinary children is a fruitless exercise. Everything happens differently, when your twin exists side by side with you.
Specifically, the “delays” in the development of cognitive skills are explained by the fact that until a certain point the twins become so close that they do not feel that they are separate individuals. By the way, so they do not interact with the outside world as actively as they do with each other.
There is always a close emotional connection between the twins. In early childhood, they feel themselves as one, in adulthood they feel and understand each other subtly.
The prerequisites for the emergence of such a strong attachment are laid before birth in the period of intrauterine development. When a child is alone, he focuses exclusively on his mother: hears the sound of her heart, thanks to hormonal metabolism, learns to respond to her emotions. After the birth of these good habits help both feel better each other.
In the case of the twins, the situation is quite different. Two children can hear not only the sound of the mother’s heart, but also the heartbeat of each other.
And they need from the very beginning to establish a “dialogue” among themselves. After all, to get comfortable in my mother’s close stomach more comfortably, it is impossible not to take into account the desires of a brother or sister.
So, from an early age, life side by side encourages the twins to adapt and adapt to each other’s needs. This becomes the basis for the “merger” – the emergence of a strong psychological dependence. After the birth, the twins are very comfortable together, they seem to lock on each other, exist in their intimate microworld, communicate in their own language.
By the way, it is for this reason that they very rarely compete for the attention of parents, but sometimes they compete with each other very fiercely. If parents seek to emphasize only the similarity of the twins, not trying to discern individuality in each of them, the close connection between nature grows stronger. And when it is impossible to overcome the state of symbiosis, dependence on one another prevents one from finding oneself.
Without each other, such twins often cannot fully function.
The development of twins takes place in several stages. The period of complete merger lasts from birth to two years.
The twins perceive each other as one. A brother or sister at this age becomes an ideal partner for communication and games, as the second and integral half of himself. This is not only completely natural, but also necessary for survival.
Due to this symbiosis, parents also treat twins as a single organism. Neither mom nor dad unconsciously and consciously want to infringe the needs of one child in favor of another.
To remain impartial, they have to ignore the individual needs of the children and provide care for them according to the same scheme and uniform schedule. If one twin asks for a bottle, then it will automatically be given to the second one. So the twins are fed, bathed, washed, taken out for a walk at the same time not only for practical reasons and to save time.
But this does not mean that in the first years of life, the twins do not need an individual approach. Just the opposite: the sooner parents begin to emphasize their differences and treat them as separate individuals, the easier it will be to pass the stage of emotional separation in the future.
What exactly do parents need to do at this first stage?
1. Your name. To begin with, you should call the twins by name, and not “Masha-Tanya, let’s go swimming” or “Petya-Vasya, now we will draw”, as many parents do.
2. Different clothes. The choice of wardrobe, too, should be taken seriously.
The vast majority of moms and dads prefer to wear twins equally. It’s so cute and funny that adults quickly get involved in the game. However, psychologists warn: such a hobby is not safe.
In the first weeks and months of life, while the little ones are still very small, there is no great value for what they are wearing. But soon the twins begin to actively explore the world and notice their outfits.
If they are always or most of the time dressed in the same way, the state of symbiosis in which they are and so is strengthened even more. Looking at their exact copy, which is also dressed equally, they seem to see a reflection in the mirror and unconsciously begin to perceive a brother or sister as an integral part of themselves. And if the parents keep this pernicious habit further, problems cannot be avoided.
Freedom of choice in clothing is the first step towards the independence of each of the twins, the ability to act independently, without regard for each other.
3. Different interests. The desire to equalize the twins, not only in matters of care, but also in the field of hobbies is another very common mistake.
Often parents do not want or are not able to take into account the desires of each child individually, so they plant to draw, sculpt, watch books or cartoons at once both. And later they give them to the same sports section, club or studio.
This approach is fundamentally wrong. The twins are alike as two drops of water only in appearance.
Their character, temperament, interests and hobbies do not coincide.
Between 2 and 6 years, the twins begin to gradually separate from each other, to recognize themselves as a separate person, but so far they are constantly comparing themselves with each other. At this stage, the principle of opposition works: the qualities and desires of one seem to complement the features and interests of the other.
Parents take an active part in this process, often “awarding” children with too subjective labels (“Timosha is a good boy for us, and Egor is a real prankster”). In the same period, there is a sense of rivalry between the twins.
To gain independence, sooner or later, the sweet couple must disconnect. This need for emancipation leads to fierce competition, including for the attention of parents.
When each of the twins want mom and dad to love and accept him, regardless of brother or sister. But it also happens that one twin is very comfortable in a state of symbiosis, and he does not want to separate.
Then between brothers or sisters can play a real drama, almost like a married couple on the verge of divorce. Total confrontation or excessive closeness are signals of one problem.
This means that one or both of the twins have difficulty in identifying themselves.
If the parents do not try to stop the children from trying to find out which of them is the main one, one twin, as a rule, becomes the leader, and the other – the slave. In the future, such relationships will only strengthen the emotional connection and prevent one of the two from realizing themselves in life.
For example, the “leader” can become more successful, and his “subordinate” will forever be content with secondary roles. And if adults competently intervene in conflicts and regulate the communication of twins, the competition subsides after socialization begins.
Kids go to kindergarten, then to school, where they learn to exist autonomously from each other.