The opinions stated in this post are solely from LauraC and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of other HDYDI authors.
I was very excited to read the book “Emotionally Healthy Twins: A New Philosophy for Parenting Two Unique Children” by Joan Friedman. One of my major twin parenting concerns is how to help my boys feel as if they are not seen as a unit. In the first chapter, Friedman lays out her philosophy, developed as a psychotherapist specializing in twins. Her philosophy is simple: treat your children as individuals and ensure they each get significant one-on-one time with their parents.
At this point, I could have put the book down. She goes through each phase of a child’s life and gives concrete examples of her two major points. Over and over and over. But the reason I felt I should have put the book down is her dire tone on the disastrous results to your children if you don’t give them enough space from each other. From her viewpoint, they should have separate rooms, separate pre-schools, separate activities, large amounts of one-on-one time with each parent, and their own friends. If you do not do all of this, you are the reason your children may have a tough time adapting to school or social situations.
Let’s get real. In an ideal world, of course we would be able to accomplish all of this. But in the real world, parents have a lot going on. How does a stay-at-home mom fit individual activities into their day, every day? How does a working parent get enough individual time with everyone? The reality is that families are going to spend a lot of time together, twins or no twins. And there are many other considerations when making the decision to have children share a room, share a birthday party, and go to the same pre-school.
In general, I agree with her principles. Jon and I try very hard to treat our fraternal twin boys as individuals, and we reinforce with our family and their teachers that we want them treated that way as well. In that light, I thought the book was good. And reading the book did provoke some thoughts for me on how I can give my boys more individualized attention. But as a whole, I worry that Friedman sets the bar too high for multiple parents. Like many sleep books I’ve read, I felt I was being told how I was screwing up when in reality, I was doing the best I could.
Has anyone else read it and have thoughts to share? (If you would like to read it, I’d be glad to send you my copy.)