Recently, a question popped up in my Facebook timeline from a group dedicated to parents of twins. This particular mother was asking about having identical toys for her young twins and whether this was okay. Many of the replies to her post were from parents insisting that she was wrong to do so and that her children would never, ever learn to share if she always bought two of everything.
Personally? I believe those parents are thinking about it all wrong.
My daughters are now 16 and let me tell you buying two of certain things just makes your life so much easier! Actually, they still get two of a lot of things. In fact even their 14 year old sister quite often gets an identical gift, all by request. At Christmas they have always sat with their backs to each other and everybody’s gifts are numbered so everyone still gets their own surprise.
Did my children grow up unable to share?
Of course not! My children grew up to be much more selfless than many other children I know. They would share more readily at playgroups when they were toddlers and always ask for a treat for everyone else if one was being offered to them.
Being a twin, in fact being from a large family in general, means that sharing is ingrained into your every day life from the day you are born. Everything is shared. Nobody gets a snack if there aren’t enough to go round, bags of sweets are shared, chairs are shared, hell even pyjamas are shared in this house!
So why should children have to share every single toy too? I’m not saying every gift needs to be identical, smaller things that go together can be given as a shared gift which they each get to open a part of, a tea set alongside wooden food to go with the main shared gift of a toy kitchen. Different character sets to go with the one larger shared playhouse. That sort of thing.
But if they both love Baby Annabel (or whatever the fashionable dolly that does everything is nowadays), Moana or spiderman, why would you only get one of those dolls? What if they both LOVED the red power ranger. Why wouldn’t they be allowed one of their own?
Humour me a minute.
Think about one thing you own that is special to you. Like something you love, be it your phone, a sweater or simply a favourite pen.
Now think about that thing not really being yours, but part of ‘the household things’.
Wouldn’t it be really annoying if you had to share that special thing with everyone you lived with and also had to share everything else with? How would you constantly decide who got to use that special thing? As adults maybe you would set up a rota right? But what happens when you decide you want, no need, that particular thing right this minute, but it’s not your turn? Wouldn’t you get a bit annoyed and try to pester the other person into letting you have it, just for a second? Or even resort to stealing?
Now lets go back to the toys. Remember that these are just babies. Babies don’t do rotas. That one toy that they want might be the most important thing in the world to them at that moment in time, and the same goes for their twin. Why would any parent force their children to always have to be in conflict with each other just so they don’t have to have some duplicated toys in the toy box?
I will also say that parents of twins are always shouting from the rooftops about their children being individuals, yet by making them always have to share everything single thing they own, aren’t those same parents in a sense, actually taking some of that individuality away?
Now I will add here that having two of everything doesn’t always solve squabbles, babies and toddlers are inherently selfish and that’s okay, they’re designed that way. We had two (and then three) of a lot of things when my daughters were small and yet they would still argue over something. My answer? put their names on EVERYTHING and then teach them to read it from a very young age!
Another thing I’d like to add is that obviously some sets of twins have completely different interests, you might have a set of twins where one loves nothing but cars and another adores all things ponies. Then this doesn’t really apply to you, oh your children will still definitely still fight over the same toy. You know. Just because they can. But hey, that’s just kids for you!
What do you think?