A New Philosophy for Parenting Two Unique Children
By Joan A. Friedman, Ph.D.
Finally, a book for parents of identical and fraternal twins to help them raise their children as individuals, instead of as halves of one another.
Anyone with two or more children, twin or not, can tell you that no two are alike! It never ceases to amaze me how completely different my two girls are - even though they have the same parents and are only two years apart. Although they share some skills and preferences, I am beginning to think that they are more different than alike. Even though twins can start out as one entity, they can develop very differently in their personalities.
Having been a twin herself, when she discovered she was carrying twins, the author Joan A. Friedman struggled since she "wanted each boy to take pleasure in his relationship with his twin brother but also to discover and appreciate his own uniqueness." She had counseled parents and twins, young and old, through identity issues during her many years of psychotherapy practice. Now was her chance to fine tune her philosophy from another perspective.
The book, Emotionally Healthy Twins, offers seven basic concepts to raise these special children as individuals, nourishing their emotional health, while also taking pride in being a twin.
She outlines these concepts through well-organized chapters, like Two Unique Children, Mentally Preparing for Two Separate Babies, and then chronologically, gently guiding parents from babyhood to young adulthood. She even aids the fathers in their special role by devoting a chapter to them, Fathers and Babies, Fathers and Mothers.
She even includes a resource guide of support groups and online contacts for a variety of families with multiple birth experiences.
Many of her tips are great for parents of singletons as well. I've enjoyed and have already put to use some of her information in my daily loving chaos with my preschool daughters. I especially like her suggestion to journal my thoughts and her tips in disciplining; which can be broadened to include parents of non-twin children. She reminds parents to treat the children as individuals by "paying attention to each child's individual behavior and responding to it accordingly".
This book is a must-read for anyone dealing with twins, providing insight in a positive manner and encouraging the parent or caregiver to contemplate a variety of issues.
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"Friedman makes sound arguments...her tone, while strong, is appreciative of the unique separation anxiety that twins face. A timely, important, and well-presented theory of parenting...Friedman might be the holy ghost of twin literature. As a psychotherapist specializing in twin issues, the mother of both twins and singleton children, and a twin herself, she comes to her topic with unmatched depth and breadth of experience." --Library Journal
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