Being an identical twin, I think it is hard for some twins to do their own thing and not live in the shadow of the more dominant twin.  Especially during teenage years.  We both wanted to give our prospective.

Teri:

I was the shy one growing up.  Shari was more dominant and outgoing.  She always made it easy for me to fit in and I tried to do that for her (later in life).  But I did become a wallflower at times when I felt out of my league or not confident enough.   Later in life when I become more confident, I was very outgoing too.  We are both vivacious, and we have a lot of fun now that we are our own person.

Shari:

Growing up, I was the more dominant twin, I would throw myself into any sport, or try something new.  I wasn’t afraid to talk to anyone or make a new friend.  Teri was a little bit more cautious, but she would soon follow in my footsteps.  I will have to say that bothered me in that stage of my life.  I wanted my own thing, my own friends, and my own identity!  As Teri grew into her own self, this changed.  Funny, I think she is a subtler dominant twin now.

Two points we want to make here:  Teri had some many different talents than me, but she didn’t discovered those until later in life because she did what I did (maybe it was easier for our parents or just because she was more laid back and timid). After we separated, we figured our own talents and strengths, but Teri did focus more on hers later than earlier. 

Second: when you do sports together it’s a nightmare with Coaches.  They constantly feel the need to reward both twins for accomplishments one didn’t really deserve.  Teri and I faced that a lot.  Sadly, that award wasn’t meaningful at all.  Coaches are better off identifying them as players and not twins.  This is hard on twins and truly not fair.  I would encourage talking with coaches if you are having these same issues.  I have learned that most of the coaches do not know how to manage this so any guidance the parents can give, is helpful.

Teri and I were both athletic, she was better at some sports than me and I was better at some sports than her.  But Teri’s real passion was reading, writing, and cultural as where I just wanted to play sports.  I suggest parents really start focusing early on the different talents each twin has and steer them in their own direction. 

By the time we were about to graduate from high school we were so sick of each other, having the same classes being, on the same teams, having the same car, and basically the same friends.  We couldn’t get as far enough away from each other.  Two months being away from each other, we missed each other like crazy and that is when things began to change.  This time of separation helped us learn about our own self, we each figured out the person we were, not who we thought we had to be, and we discovered what we liked as individuals. 

Sometimes, as parents, teachers, coaches, etc., is it easier to have both do the same thing but if you can identify their talents early, this will help with future identity crisis.  Your twins and identical children will be very grateful because when you are young, we don’t always understand why it is happening.  Please share your stories or advice with us!

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