Even though our babies arrive at the same time, or very close to the same time, they are individuals within the group. A parenting challenge is to support and respect the special bond our multiple-birth children have with each other, while encouraging each to explore their own identities and to be the best they can be. Parents can, and need, to encourage others to also treat the children as more than just a group. Here are some ideas you may not have thought of to encourage individuality:
~do not call them “the twins” or “the triplets.” Do not let others use these labels either. Encourage the use of their names, “the babies,” the children, and so on. Labels present them as a group and encourage the world to also see them as a group (these labels don’t even point out what gender they are) rather than understand that they are unique individuals as well as being part of a group;
~rhyming names (Tim and Tom or Cody and Jody) also add to the package point of view. Over time rhyming names become annoying for teachers, doctors, and peers, especially if the children look a lot alike. In the Tim and Tom scenario, both boys became “TimTom” to school chums, as children will not take the time to see the differences between them rather than just focus on the similarities. Help your children out by avoiding such a pitfall.
~same with constantly dressing them alike. Would you like to have your sister or brother constantly dressed like you? Probably not. Break the mould of the package and allow each to also be the individual s/he is. Dressed alike children can also be a safety hazard as you are screaming the name of one toddler running to cross the road, but with no distinguishing visual markers, you are screaming the wrong name.
~twins, triplets and more will probably not reach the same milestones at the same time, e.g. rolling over, sitting up, walking, moving up to the next car seat size, thereby reenforcing themselves that they are individuals within the group.
How have you handled things with your multiples which encourage each to explore their own capabilities and individuality?