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)
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

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

What Happens When Americans Eat What They Tweet

You are what you tweet, according to new maps that show a correlation between obesity and tweeting about high-fat foods 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs