Educating twins while respecting their autonomy

For this post, I will deviate a little from Montessori pedagogy as such, but still in the field of education. With a subject that is dear to me, that of twins and their autonomy, since I myself have a twin sister.

True or false twins, what’s the difference?

Identical (monozygotic) twins are from the same egg and have grown together in utero, inside the same nest. They are therefore genetically identical. The fetuses of identical twins develop within the same placenta and are of the same sex. 

They look the same as two drops of water but do not have the same measurements: one of them is often bigger than the other. 

The fraternal twins (dizygotes) come from two different eggs.

They are genetically different because they are the result of two different fertilizations. They are not necessarily of the same sex and may not look alike.

The complicity of the twins

Twin fetuses have always shared everything, the nest and all the vibrations that come to them from the outside. They also hear the beating of their mutual hearts.

For them, life has always been double and during early and early childhood, many twins are surprised not to be the “normality”, because for them all children are raised in pairs. 

Why are their ties so strong?

Mothers of two twins cannot fulfill their two children at the same time. The gaps they create when they are not there or when they are busy with another child, the twins fill them mutually.

They are a presence, “the double” protector. As twins we never really feel alone, at least during early childhood… And the habit is quickly taken of systematically counting towards each other.

Are they “identical”?

Twins may look the same physically, but they have two distinct personalities that should normally assert themselves over the years. 

A pair of twins is a true duo in which each is complementary to the other. It is therefore not uncommon to see one or the other twin exercising a certain dominance over his brother or sister: the one who was born first, the one who is the strongest, the tallest or the one who was the tallest at birth… 

Twins, identical or false, of the same or different sexes, therefore have their own identity, which must be respected. 

Encourage them to assert themselves individually!

About clothing: Should I dress them in the same clothes? My answer would be: NO, don’t dress them the same way. Especially when it comes to identical twins. Obviously for you as a mother, it is easier for you to buy several identical T-Shirts, pants, dresses etc… at the same time… in this case, vary the colors, shapes….. 

You don’t have to ask them for their opinion before they are mature, because it’s a responsibility that doesn’t necessarily help them. They will make choices later, when they are more confident of their own tastes!

It is true that many mothers, starting with my own mother, were to enhance us by dressing in the same way, always walking next to each other, etc… and to “play” with our similarity. 

Of course, in our early childhood we found it worth it. As children, we were fascinated by each other by our similarity, we sometimes made each other look like each other. In the end, we were a kind of mirror from which it was difficult to turn away! 

I understand that you may find it “appealing to see twins dressed like that”, but the problem of identical clothing choice reinforces the impression that twins are one and are one. This may delay the acquisition of their independence and their own personality. 

(I would like to reassure you, today at the age of 49, with my sister we are indeed independent and each have our own personality) 

This is why it is necessary from the beginning, to try to “separate” your twins little by little, by simple and daily habits…

Do twins suffer from being “separated”?

Of course, as twins we love and demand the presence of our brother or sister! So it is not a question of not frustrating them or making them suffer!

Very often, parents who are afraid to “separate” them and hurry to reunite them at the slightest cry are mistaken. They project their own desire to have a constant double.

I hope that these reflections from my experience will be useful to you.