“Having twins made me a more relaxed parent…” Thinking of my own four-year-old twin boys, this statement from a father of twins threw me at first, but as I read on, I realised this dad was on to something.
Posted on the Facebook page, Humans of New York, this dad was reflecting on how his twins had developed at different rates, with each of them having different strengths and weaknesses. It made him realise that kids grow and develop at their own individual pace, and that it doesn’t make sense to stress about them doing it the way they ‘should’ when they’re simply not there yet.
Every child grows differently
“When you watch two kids grow up at the same time, it makes you less concerned about benchmarks. Each of them had different talents and struggles,” he says. “He could do all the physical stuff first. We had to put a net on the crib because he was always climbing out. He could swim first. He learned to ride a bike several years earlier than her. But she was potty trained first. She was reading by the age of three. And she was much better at drawing pictures– her fire trucks always had four wheels, and his were just red scribbles.”
Read more about parenting twins:
- Magical multiples: 11 facts about twins that will surprise you
- 11 things only parents of twin babies understand
- 7 fights my twins had today – because no, they don’t always get along
This got me thinking about my experience watching my own twins grow. They started walking at the same time, and they’re speech started emerging within weeks of each other, but as they’ve got older, I’m noticing their different abilities and strengths becoming more apparent.
Alfie got the hang of a pencil grip first, and is light-years ahead in his writing and drawing compared to his slightly younger twin brother. But Jimmy is the more independent twin overall, being the first to wee standing up and has been going through the night without a nappy for months now. Alfie isn’t quite there yet.
We need to relax more
This dad is right on the money, in fact. Kids grow and develop at their own pace, and while it can be hard not to worry about where your own child is at, we could probably all stand to relax and about it a bit more.
The dad of twins goes on to say that as a parents, we all want our child to feel special, and ‘on track’ for their age – but at the end of the day, every child is different, with their own path for development already mapped out.
Children don’t learn to crawl and walk at the same time, so why would we expect them to learn everything else at a specific age?
“Having twins made me a more relaxed parent. When you watch two kids grow up at the same time, it makes you less…
When you have just one child, it’s easy to get caught up in where they’re at skill-wise. Can they write their name yet? Ride a bike? Recite the alphabet? And comparing strengths and development with other children can make it even harder just to relax about it all.
This great dad reckons it’s crazy to focus so much on this when kids are young.
“If I’d only had one child, I’d probably have been obsessing over these talents and struggles,” he says. “But twins made me realize that all children grow differently. And it’s absurd to rank and classify them at such a young age.”
It’s about appreciating the differences
Reading about this dad’s perspective made me appreciate the differences in my children and the individual strengths they have. And with school just around the corner for my boys, this message couldn’t have come at a better time.
I’m going to spend these early years encouraging them and fostering the strengths they have instead of worrying about whether they can both read and write within a certain time-frame. I’m pretty sure that pushing them too much when they’re not ready is going to cause more damage than good, whereas providing opportunities and support for growth will help encourage their strengths when they’re ready to emerge.
And surely they’ll enjoy the process a whole lot more too – which can only be a good thing.