16 answers

Can Twins Be Too Close?

My identical twin daughters are 6 years old. They attended preschool and kindergarten together and now we have split them up for first grade. They have always been extremely tight with one another and with their big sister. There is a ton of fighting between the three girls but they can barely stand to be without one another. My husband and I have to institute "alone time" to physically keep them all apart and to help them learn how to entertain themselves and just be alone.

Lately, the twins have been crying about school and how they never get to see each other and that they want to be together for second grade. They don't seem to be making good friends in their classes and I am not sure if it's because of the makeup of kids in their classes or if they don't know how to branch out or that no one can compare to their twin. We want them each to forge their own way so we feel that keeping them apart is the best choice but I feel like we are breaking their spirits. We have had a couple of kids over for playdates from their classes but no one has reciprocated. I suppose I need to keep encouraging separate playdates and just keep at it both having a child over and seeing if I can make arrangements for one to go on a playdate without the other. Their teachers indicate that they are both doing really well with the adjustment.

I am seeking advice from those who are adult twins on how it feels to be a twin and how to respect that unbelievable bond while also helping to nurture the individual. What do you wish your parents had done differently or what did they do right? Or, if you have identical twin girls, what has your experience been? Any psychologists out there who have twin knowledge could chime in too!

Thank you! And please just help me focus on what to do from here (not what we could have or should have done in the past).

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you for the thoughtful and candid responses. We have a lot to think about over the next two months as the school will begin to put next year's classes together in March. Obviously, as most parents make the best decisions they can with the information they have, we had felt that separating them was the best thing to do based on our gut feelings, teacher recommendation, pediatrician recommendation, and other moms of multiples feelings on the subject. Maybe it's a failed experiment for our particular girls. Perhaps it's not in their best interest and that is why I wanted to hear from those of you who have lived it to gain a perspective that I don't have as a singleton. I would say that having a close in age older sister who so desperately wants to be their triplet contributes to the complexity of our family dynamics as well.

I stand by our alone time activity which is usually for only a half on hour on the weekends as we feel that it's important for children to know how to entertain themselves and enjoy their own company. I see that as a life skill.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to respond to my post. I greatly appreciate it!

Featured Answers

I have no experience with identical twins. But my daughters are "Irish twins" (12 months apart). They are still young, but so far they share everything. They get along great.

IMHO, trying to separate them to "foster individuality" is just as bad as treating them like 1 person instead of 2.

I wish I had a sister to be best friends with.

I would let them be in the same class if they wanted it.

1 mom found this helpful

My identical twin sisters had separate classes most of the time. I think in high school they ended up with a few classes together. I think the school made an attempt to separate them. I remember a couple of twin boys from school while i was growing up and they had separate classes too.

My sisters are very close and fight a lot. I think that is how it goes.

More Answers

My husband is an identical twin and he absolutely hates when people decide to split up the twins to foster their individuality. It insults him on a primal level. Your children are different people, but they have a twin and are naturally close. Forcing them apart is not necessary. They are different people, they are individuals, they're just happiest together. They will naturally split apart when they get to the age where they start switching classes and pick things they want to take that the other may not. If you want to keep them apart in school, which I don't agree with, fine. But stop forcing them to be apart when they're at home as well!

My husband and his twin went to the same college, majored in the same major, and even work for the same company now, although doing different things (one is in IT and the other is a software programmer). The only thing my husband regrets is not continuing to play sports because his brother didn't like them. They both even tend to pick the same sorts of people to be with (although of different genders, as his brother is gay.).

They both agree that splitting up twins is just going to cause problems. Forcing yours to be friends with people they don't want to be friends with is obviously not helping them. You said it yourself, you're breaking their spirits. Instead of allowing them to be comfortable and grow, you're forcing them to be in uncomfortable situations.

I lived in a small town where we did k-8 in the same building, and my class had an abnormally large amount of multiples. 1 set of boy/girl twins, one set of girl triplets, and 2 sets of girl twins in grade school, then in high school 2 more sets of boy twins and 2 more sets of girl twins. No effort was made to seperate any of them and all of the one's I've kept in contact with (the triplets and the boy/girl twins in particular) have had any ill effects from it and have grown up to be close but also have different interests. My husband's cousin decided to separate her twins and has had nothing but trouble since, when they were fine before they decided to separate them in first grade.

3 moms found this helpful

There's so much to struggle with in elementary school. Why add to it? It's hard to make friends when you're sad and missing your best friend all the time, and elementary girl drama hits early and hard. I wish everyone had a natural companion by her side in school!

2 moms found this helpful

I am an identical twin. Our school did try to separate us in the third grade and we were miserable! Seeing how sad we were our parents talked to the school and put us together. It just made more sense since we were happiest together. Now we live in different countries, have different interests, different friends but still are very close.

Since the kids are missing each other so much you could possibly keep them together until they are a little more older?

2 moms found this helpful

Speak to the school psychologist. He/she may have some good advice and study information for you.

I know a set of identical twin men. They are in their 50s and have never lived a part. Never got married and are ALWAYS together. It's weird. They are odd and cheap as all hell. I'd say that you guys are doing what you think is right and I agree with it. You want your girls to grow up to make their own choices (college, men) so it's important that they can cope alone.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I have no experience with identical twins. But my daughters are "Irish twins" (12 months apart). They are still young, but so far they share everything. They get along great.

IMHO, trying to separate them to "foster individuality" is just as bad as treating them like 1 person instead of 2.

I wish I had a sister to be best friends with.

I would let them be in the same class if they wanted it.

1 mom found this helpful

Our school didn't really look at twins as separate or not separate from first grade one. They were grouped with some kind of academic formula and some times they landed together and sometimes they didn't. A friend of mine has triplets and sometimes 2 of the 3 are in classes together and sometimes none of them are (this school starts switching classes for math in grade 1 and reading, math and science in grade 3, so the chances of overlapping and being in the same class is greater). My cousins are twins and they each had their own set of friends and interests.

As for the play dates, my kids are not twins, but we don't get a whole lot of play date invites, mainly because everyone is really busy with activities. So that may have nothing to do with them being twins.

My identical twin sisters had separate classes most of the time. I think in high school they ended up with a few classes together. I think the school made an attempt to separate them. I remember a couple of twin boys from school while i was growing up and they had separate classes too.

My sisters are very close and fight a lot. I think that is how it goes.

I have twin sisters, now all grown up with kids of their own! They were inseparable as kids, and almost always in the same class. This worked for them. Things tend to ebb and flow with twins, they will work most of this out on their own- they will try separate friendships (often because a friend may like one twin but not the other) and either be ok with it or find it just doesn't feel right. Most often, they had the same group of friends. They usually had girls in the group that one liked better than the other and girls in the group usually preferred one twin over the other. Totally normal.

If they have expressed a desire to be together, I would let them. They will feel safer to explore other friendships when they are most comfortable- which is when they are together. Think of kiddos when they are toddlers. They start to want a little independence to explore, so they start to wander away at the playground, but look back often to make sure you are there. Same thing with your girls. This is what is was like for my sisters. They were happiest together, but did seek out other friendships.

When they were in high school, they wanted their own rooms, so my parents moved them from sharing a room to each having their own. We constantly still found them sleeping in the same room by morning. Funny.

Now as a parent, my daughter is friends with twins. I stressed about if one twin would feel preferred over the other and how my daughter would make sure she didn't hurt their feelings. We do always invite the twins together for things, but mostly- I stopped stressing. They all seem quite happy, so I let them all work out the friendship bugs and they do! This is middle school, so a bit older. But just to emphasize that these things work out usually without help from us, and also to let you know how others might not be totally sure how to have their kid approach a friendship with one or both of your girls.

btw- my sisters still talk pretty much daily, but they live states apart and have well-adjusted independent lives.

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