Do fraternal twins outgrow twin issues that stick around for identical twins?

Outgrowing “Twin Issues”: Identical vs Fraternal

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Categories Multiple Types, Parenting Twins, Perspective

Several of the HDYDI Moms stopped writing for this site because their children have outgrown twin-specific issues. Several of them have contacted to say something LauraC articulated in her farewell post: “As my boys are almost 3.5… they are two very separate individual little boys who just happen to be the same age.”

An interesting pattern I noticed was that all the Moms who said something along these lines have fraternal twins. Here I am, with nearly 8-year-olds, still finding twinny things to talk about. A lot of my posts aren’t twin-specific, and many are reflective on my early years of parenting, but my identical daughters do encounter and present experiences and challenges that are unique to the twin experience.

I started asking around and got confirmation from several other moms of identical twins. We continue to tackle twin-related issues longer, it appears, than our peers with fraternal multiples.

Do fraternal twins outgrow twin issues that stick around for identical twins?

Perhaps it’s that, on average, twins who look alike get asked about whether they’re twins far longer than twins who look different. Perhaps shared DNA does hold a greater intimacy than just a shared womb and family. Perhaps identical twins have a greater tendency to see their twin relationship being at the core of who they are.

Whatever the reason, my anecdotal evidence indicates that identical twins seem to be more “twinny“, or perhaps just twinny for longer, than fraternal twins.

Do you see this distinction? Parents with older fraternal multiples, is their multiple birth less of an issue as they grow? Parents with identical multiples, what’s your experience with “twin issues” over time?

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school. She also blogs at and Multicultural Mothering.

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Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 10-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. They live in the Austin, TX suburbs, where Sadia works full time in information technology. She contributes to a number of parenting websites and magazines and also runs The Mommy Blogging Guide, where she answers mommy bloggers' technical questions.

4 thoughts on “Outgrowing “Twin Issues”: Identical vs Fraternal”

  1. Our only twin issue this year in school has been helping people tell our boys apart. We don’t usually dress them alike, but occasionally (school pride day) they do end up wearing the same shirt and their teacher and classmates have trouble keeping them straight. My boys have no problem with being called the wrong name occasionally though, so it really hasn’t been an issue. It will be interesting to see how things progress. Honestly, since about 2 years old, I’ve actually thought I had things easier having identical twins. But now that I have foolishly typed that ‘out loud’ all sorts of twin ailments will soon hit my house! GAH!!!!!

  2. It’s true. My fraternal twin girls who look nothing alike just seem like sisters. I don’t have “twin” issues pretty much at all anymore, other than the reality that I still need to buy double the amount of clothes for them all the time.

  3. I would agree. While my boys definitely have a very special bond, I’m not sure it’s anything more than same-age brothers who spend a lot of time together. Honestly, the biggest twin issues were in the first year, and they were mainly MY issues – how I was going to cope with two infants. My boys never even liked sleeping together as newborns.

    And yet…I still wonder if there is something twinny under the surface that I don’t notice because it’s going to come out later, or because it’s so subtle, or because twins are the only normal in our family. I guess time will tell.

  4. Personally, I think being a twin in general is special and many twins (specifically identicals) have an incredibly close bond.

    However, we place a lot of emphasis on identical twins, and fraternal twins? We don’t really care about fraternal twins. Although I’m fraternal, I was pulled into the true world of twinness since I look almost exactly like my fraternal twin sister. Twins that look alike (aka identical twins and some fraternal twins) get the full twin experience (not always a good thing).

    If I could count the amount of times I was asked if I was a twin! I would be rich if every question was worth a dollar! That’s a pro to being a fraternal twin, or being part of a boy/girl twin. In public, most often random people don’t come up to you and ask questions. There have been times where I wished my sister didn’t look like me or I had a boy twin!

    Also, of course, the bond. Identical twins tend to have a different and slightly deeper bond. Since they are literally clones of each other, sharing DNA. Fraternal twins are any two siblings born at the same time, which is pretty cool, but having a clone fascinated the world more. They may have similar interests and when they look at each other, they seem themselves.

    The twin bond is certainly swayed by their upbringing. Boy/girl twins have the most individuality since because they are different genders, they often aren’t lumped together and make friends of the own gender. Where as same gender twins have a different and maybe deeper bond, since you’re treated more as one and have always been compared. Also, the bond between two people of the same gender is different than with one of the opposite gender.

    But I would say that twins that look alike/similar and are of the same gender have the twinny bond. The true one.

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