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The Twinning Process: Biological and Family Aspects Essay

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Updated: Mar 13th, 2022

How can a person live hisher life always being compared to their other half? Many people wonder if they would even like to have a twin. Most twins find they love it and it is helpful in many different aspects of life; growing up with a twin sister, I did not always think so.

Twinning is the process by which a pregnancy leads to more than one offspring, usually a pair of twin children or in more rarity, triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, sextuplets, septuplets or octuplets (The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2004). It occurs through the biological processes of meiosis and mitosis (Saltsman, 2005). The fertilized egg splits in the early stages of development to form two identical zygotes, which grow up to be monozygotic (identical) twins sharing the same genetic make-up. On the other hand, twinning can occur where two eggs are fertilized at the same time so that they develop at the same pace. These twins are said to be dizygotic or fraternal twins (The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2004).They share only 50% of similar genes and are like any other siblings of the different ages in terms of genetic likeness. Because of this, most of their traits are discordant, meaning shared by only one of the two twins; just like a brother and sister having completely different personalities. Lastly, there are the Siamese or Conjoined twins. Here the splitting process takes place too late in development such that the twins come out not fully split from one another (The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2004).

No matter how different you look, people usually just see you as ‘the twins’. That is what I hated the most. I have encountered other twins just like me who actually choose to be different from each other for a variety of reasons such that they are around each other less often or go to different classes or even schools. Twins sometimes do this because they want to distinguish themselves from the other twin and cut out their own niche, independent of their twin sibling.

Then there is the aspect of growing up a twin. For some twins, the thought of some one always crowding your space is exasperating. “Why can’t she just find her own friends?” Why can’t she just leave me alone?” These thoughts sometimes cross the minds of twins fraternal or identical. Then of course, there are the physical dissimilarities. Sometimes fraternal twins have very different physical appearance where one is short and the other tall. This may bring animosity between twins because they wonder, “Aren’t we supposed to be alike? Why does she get to look better than me?”This gets so much worse in teenage with the discovery of boys. If the other twin is more popular and “more attractive”, the introverted and “less attractive twin feels even more outcast and dejected because they just cannot understand why this is so (Kay, n.d.). For me it has been more about the raising of twins and growing up as a twin in our household.

I think the reason I have an issue with being a twin stems from my parents. I know raising twins is a difficult hands-on task. It is also more psychologically challenging than raising children of different ages who are developing at a different pace. It is not rare for parents to have mishaps when parenting twins because of the intimacy between a set of twins, and sometimes it is not easy to make a clear distinction between real personality differences between them. As discussed earlier, fraternal twins are just like any other siblings. They have different personalities and they have different likes and dislikes. The common mistake made by most parents and caregivers is the tendency to treat twins the same. This is not because they are worse parents but because they simply find it too tasking to fully give the same attention to each child regardless of them being twins or not. Most parents are now stressing the need for individuality (“Twin parenting”, n.d.). One method of raising one twin may not necessarily work for the other. Effective positive discipline of the twins is also crucial in raising twins (“Twin parenting”, n.d.). The parent should not discipline the child for one thing and have selective amnesia when disciplining the second for the same mistake. In addition, the parent should not be harsher on one twin than the other should. These are tenets of wisdom, which will go a long way in influencing how I raise my children especially if they are twins.

It is common for mothers to be inundated by their twin bundles of joy and allow them too much time to spend together. Extrication of twins takes a certain amount of effort and time during a phase when mothers are obviously over exerting themselves and are snowed under by their “double trouble” children. The aspect of having your patience tested two-fold is not only stressing but depressing as well. Because of this closeness, twins tend to band together when doing things such as playing such that they tend to get in a lot of mischief. This in turn causes more stress and eventually the mother decides to give them even more time together to avoid dealing with this issue. They probably find it easier to leave them be rather than try to spend more time with the cause of their stress (“Twin parenting”, n.d.). They probably figure “At least they are spending time with each other.” This is particularly troubling for me since it comes back to the same thing: individuality. It is awesome to have someone there always, but sometimes it feels like they are just crowding your space!

Lastly, most twins usually have a great deal of difficulty explaining the experience of growing up as twins through infanthood and as a young child of 4-11 years to others who have not been in these circumstances. This difficulty in explaining themselves to others is partially due to the actuality that twins have grown up with so much proximity to one another, that they do not necessarily want to learn to explain these experiences. As twins mature and develop into teen hood, they will likely lack the drive and adeptness to verbalize their privately shared relationship between each other with other people. This is most likely because they feel they lacked privacy while growing up, and that they shared were therefore forced to share so much of their lives with the other twin that they do not feel the need to open up to other people.

I had to do a little research about being a twin, beside my minor annoyance. Growing up a twin can be quite difficult but overall it is great having someone there for you. It is quite a challenge for the mother but it always comes with some joys. The most important thing for me concisely is that in raising twins, parents should never forget the individuality of the child.

Reference List

Kay, R. (n.d.). Who Regrets having a Twin Sister. Helium. 2010. Web.

Saltsman, K. (2005). Cellular Reproduction: Multiplication by Division. National institute of General Medical Sciences. Web.

The Columbia University. (2004). Twins. NY: Columbia University Press. Web.

Twin Parenting- the challenges and the joys.(n.d.) Raising Twins. 2010. Web.

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