Very often when we have twins, we forget they each have their own separate identity and they if not separated enough never quite develop it their own. As parents it is cute to try and keep twins together all the time, we love to see how dependant they are on each other always looking over their shoulder just to make sure the other one in some where nearby.
With twins, they can sometimes forget that other children exist in a room because they have become so accustomed to always playing together. It would be wise to start to help them develop a sense of self and independence early on in their life. The best thing to do is start taking them places by themselves; establish times when you can be with each of them alone. Do not make it a point of them always having to play with the same friends all of the time. Divide them up between grandparents sometime; if they are in daycare suggest they are placed into separate classrooms. For some parents of twins that I have worked with this seems to be a very hard thing for them to do. The reason is having the two of them always together gives them as parents a false sense of security that if they are together they can somehow look out for each other.
In my years of dealing with children, my experience has been mixed. I have seen the twins that were extremely close and shared everything. Yet, on the other hand, I have seen the twins that were so aggressive towards each other that you had no choice but to separate them. Some time ago, I met a set of twins at that time six years old, who were so aggressive towards each other you expected at any given time to have to call the ambulance because of their fighting. When I spoke with the parents of these children, they confirmed they had been like this even before birth. Mom said, there was always constant movement by these two in the womb they even came out fighting. She related a story to me that when she would lay them next to each other in the crib, they were always either clawing at or kicking each other. In the early stages they thought it was cute or just because they loved each other, but the older they got the more they fought. They first drew blood from each other at the age of two. While having one of their fights, she shared that before she and her husband could jump out of their seats, one had bitten the other on the ear and the other bit the other in the face. Why, even though they were very careful to buy two of every thing, they only wanted to play with whichever one the other has. Even when they would show them there were two of the same toys, it simply was not good enough. They can be playing a friendly game of chase or eating dinner and one wrong look from either of them could lead to an all out battle of the wills
The twins are now 10 and have been force to lead separate lives all together. Mom and dad has since divorced they each got one of the twins. It is amazing the change that has occurred in them. When one visits the other, they get alone beautifully they always call each other on the phone to see what is happening with the other since the move has forced them to go to different schools. The twins’ relationship since the separation, for the first time has grown into a real friendship. Divorce usually devastates a family and I am sure this one did not come off without a lot of pain as well. Nevertheless, the up side to it is now that the twins each have their own space to be who they are as individuals they are so much happier in life and with each other. There is a valuable lesson that can be learned from this most unfortunate situation, every one needs space and sense of being. I am no psychiatrist, but we each need to know who we are as persons, and if we happen to be a multiple this sense of personage is needed even more. This is just one example of twins needing their individual space.