WEIGHTY SUBJECT: DEALING WITH OTHERS’ PERCEPTIONS

Posted on May 18, 2018. Filed under: Making a Difference, Multiple Birth, Quadruplets, quintuplets, raising multiples, Triplets, Twins | Tags: , , , , , |

I am following a lead on twin multiples and the recent discussion has been around when there is a visual difference between the babies, usually based on weight, and how family, friends and strangers freely comment. With girls with a 3-5 lbs. weight difference, comments have included referring to the heavier as “chunky, huge, tubby, over weight, ohh look at that big one!” With boy/girl twins, a Mom shared that because the boy was the heavier, a stranger said to her, “Poor little thing. It is a good thing she has her brother to take care of her.” If there had not been another baby beside them, there would probably be no comment. Unfortunately, it is the comparison of the two, that invites negative observations and labels.
 
All of the Moms have expressed their frustration, anger and hurt and were looking for ways to answer such comments.
 
Some parents feel that correcting comments from family each time is the way to reenforce with their babies that each is acceptable and special in their own right. It is felt that this will balance what they will hear from others, i.e. the rest of the world.
 
When there are two, three or four babies involved, yes there will be comparisons. It can’t be helped. Even parents have a hard time not comparing. However, doing something in your head is very different from using words to point out differences words can really hurt. People don’t mean to be mean, but they can be thoughtless and misunderstand how such judgments can adversely affect the children over time.
 
I think it is important to let EVERYONE know that what they are saying is painful not only to the parent(s), but also to the babies’ themselves. Hoping that positive feedback from Mom and Dad will completely counteract what they hear from others seems to me to be similar to taking a book and only reading the left hand page and ignoring the right hand page. We will not get the whole story, nor will we understand the plot or how the story moves forward. It is important for parents to retrain the public EACH AND EVERY TIME anyone offers a negative perspective on your children.
Only in this way will children learn that not only was what they heard inappropriate, their parents reenforced the fact to the source that their comments were inappropriate.
 
A suggested response to size differences might be: “That is not the way we think. Both babies are healthy and happy,” or
“Our daughter is strong (fierce) and this attribute will hold her in good stead.” The only way society is going to be forced into breaking the stereo typing of weight and ability, especially for females, is to be called out on their outdated and ill-informed perspectives each and every time. Changes begin at the beginning and when we stand up against old stereo typical attitudes and bring them to the speakers’ attention, then we can hope things will change for the future.
 
HOW DO YOU HANDLE NEGATIVE FEEDBACK WHEN OTHERS SPEAK OF YOUR CHILDREN?
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