What Happens When One Twin is Excluded?

Twins arrive as a set, a pair, a side-by-side little couple of womb-mates turned room-mates. Some of us often refer to them “the twins”, especially when they arrive after or before a singleton or two. For those of us who have more than one set of twins, calling each them “the twins” may be confusing, but that’s beside the subject! What happens to our twin duos when they get older and begin to socialize and become involved in sports and other activities? What happens when one twin girl is asked by a friend at school to be her best friend? How does the other twin feel? Is this other twin automatically invited in activities that involve the other two girls simply by virtue of her twin status? Are the twins assumed to be an inseparable set … or, is one excluded and treated simply as a sibling of this classmate’s best friend? What would happen if one twin was invited to a birthday party and not was other? Another example would be a set of 10-year-old set of boy twins who are both interested in a spot on the school soccer team. If one twin is a stronger player than the other, is it assumed that both will make the team regardless of the fact that one is not as strong a player as the other? A set of identical 16-year-old twin girls played for two years on the junior varsity volley ball team at my daughters’ high school. In fact, throughout their entire lives, the girls have played on every team and have been involved in every activity together. Following varsity volley ball team try-outs, one of the girls learned that she had not made the team, yet the other had earned a spot. The actual words of the coach were, “I’m sorry, but one is just a more valuable player than the other, and please don’t just assume that you’re automatically a packaged-deal …” In my opinion, the coach could definitely have chosen a more tactful way of explaining his reasoning. Hurt feelings of exclusion combined with the discomfort and disappointment of believing he or she is perceived as less important, less wanted, or less talented than their twin cannot be an enjoyable experience initially. However, growing independently and realizing that twins, even identical twins, will at some point in life have different friends, interests, choices and dreams, can only enrich their lives as well as have them develop in maturity, losing the need and constant dependence on his or her twin. When the tears stopped, and the girls’ parents had finished consoling one while also congratulating the others, the young ladies realized that this unexpected change in their lives would present a perfect opportunity for each to grow individually. They could each assert some much-needed independence and temporary distance from each other. The time away from each other would allow each to miss each other, and perhaps discover a new appreciation for each other! There’s no doubt that twins share strong, unique bonds, but when the situation presents itself where one is included and the other is not, twins should take this opportunity to celebrate their differences, and spend some beneficial time apart. Have you experienced this type of situation with your twins? If so, how did you handle it? How did your twins handle the situation? An About.com article article called “When One Isn’t Invited” by my friend Pam Fierro and mother of identical twin girls further discusses this topic.

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Blessings ~