News / Health

Same but Different: Twins Face Double Challenges

Psychotherapist and auther Joan Friedman (left) says when she and her twin sister Jane were growing up, they were treated like stars. (Courtesy Joan Friedman)
Psychotherapist and auther Joan Friedman (left) says when she and her twin sister Jane were growing up, they were treated like stars. (Courtesy Joan Friedman)
TEXT SIZE - +
Faiza Elmasry
Joan Friedman understands why being a twin can often be a blessing and a curse at the same time.

The psychotherapist, who specializes in twin issues, is a twin herself and the mother of fraternal twins.

While it’s wonderful to have such a close friend in life, she says, most adult twins struggle to learn how to face life as singletons.

Star attraction

When Friedman and her identical twin sister, Jane, were growing up half a century ago, there were few twins around.

“We were such stars and got a lot of attention," Friedman said. "People always knew we were the Friedman twins. But then we got older and you wanted to have your own identity. People really didn’t know who we were. It was, in a sense, like being noticed but not being known.”

Like many twins back then and even today, Joan and Jane dressed alike and were always together.

Psychotherapist and auther Joan Friedman with her twin sons, Jonny and David. (Courtesy Joan Friedman)Psychotherapist and auther Joan Friedman with her twin sons, Jonny and David. (Courtesy Joan Friedman)
x
Psychotherapist and auther Joan Friedman with her twin sons, Jonny and David. (Courtesy Joan Friedman)
Psychotherapist and auther Joan Friedman with her twin sons, Jonny and David. (Courtesy Joan Friedman)
“The first time Jane and I were separated was when we went to college," Friedman said. "It was an incredibly difficult adjustment. All of a sudden you find yourself sort of as a very unprepared singleton.”

Due to advancements in infertility treatments, Friedman says, the number of twins has grown.

“Today, I think the latest statistics show that one out of every 33 births is a twin birth," she said. "I think in like the 1980s, it was one out of 90 births.”

And, she says, twins are often still treated as two halves of a whole, rather than as separate individuals.

“People just project a lot of their own concerns. [They think that if you] separate twins, you’re breaking that twin connection, you’re going to interfere with their loving one another," she said. "I find this often happens across cultures. If you give them experiences where they learn to be on their own, where they learn to rely on themselves, they develop a resilience so they can feel they can be their own persons. If not, then they develop this overdependence, or really a co-dependence, because they've never been without each another.”

Different personalities

Twenty-two-year old Nazy Farkhondeh and her twin sister, Ranah, have always been inseparable best friends.

They went to the same school, had the same friends. Though they applied to different colleges, they ended up rooming together at the University of Michigan and graduated with the same major. Now, they both live in Los Angeles, California.

“The most fun part is probably just having a companion you can count on," Nazy said. "The most challenging part is the feeling that everything is a shared experience, when you want to have your own experience.”

Farkhondeh also says people perceive twins as the same person, while in fact they are very different.

“Our styles are completely different. She’s more of a girly-girl. She likes to do her make-up. She likes to do her hair, when she goes out," Nazy said. "I’m more casual. I don’t wear any makeup and I never do my hair. I’m more into literature and she’s more into music. Even growing up, I’ve been always a little bit more outgoing, she was the shyer one.”

Like most siblings, twins often disagree with one another.

“It's really funny as I actually see a huge irony in disagreeing with your twin," Nazy said. "Because on one hand, you appreciate it because it’s a way you differentiate yourself from them. But on the other hand, it’s kind of irritating because it’s like someone who is really, really, really close to you disagreeing with you. So in that sense, it kind of burns more.”

Twin boys process their differences differently than twin girls, says psychotherapist Friedman.

“Identical twin girls have the closest relationships just because girls tend to need and find more intimacy with one another," she said. "Identical twin girls really do try to keep the competition under wraps, whereas boys will be able to express their feelings or their hostility in a more open way.”

Raising independent twins

In her new book, The Same But Different: How Twins Can Live, Love and Learn to Be Individuals, Friedman offers this advice for raising independent twins.

“I have certain things that I always tell parents, which is, of course, not to dress them alike, not to give them alliterative names like Tom and Tony, Natalie and Nancy," she said. "Give them different names. Make sure you take separate pictures of each twin. If they grow up and never see a picture of themselves by themselves, it’s very difficult for them to think of themselves as separate. And alone time is really what I feel is the most [important]; if you take one to the grocery store, take the other one to the park, which gives you a sense of connection with both babies.”

Reinforcing different personalities and nurturing different temperaments, Friedman says, is key to raising happy, close twins who have their own, individual goals and paths in life.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: doomrabbit from: Iraq
February 17, 2014 10:45 AM
i have been told i have a three Twins but i don't meet any one yet


by: Ashlee
February 12, 2014 6:04 PM
Can this article be published in an Australian newsletter? We would acknowledge the source.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid