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Teen Perspective: On Competition Between Twins

by Louise | January 19th, 2011 | Teen Perspective

If it ever comes up in conversation that I’m a twin, the person I’m talking to often jokingly asks me, “Do you have twin telepathy?” No, I don’t have telepathy. Then he or she asks me, “Do you guys get along?” Well, I’d say that my twin sister and I get along quite well, though we have our off moments or weeks, like any siblings. Lastly, he or she states the assumption, “You two must be very competitive.” Well no, actually, we aren’t, and there are a few key things that contributed to that.

In school, I’ve always liked math and sciences, while she was more interested in law or writing courses. As a result, she is now a freshman at a liberal arts college, while I am at a university that focuses more on science and engineering. Having different interests inherently lessens the amount of direct comparison there can be between us. However, there are many interests that we do share, for example: running.

My twin sister has been a cross country runner since elementary school. To be honest, I tried it in 5th grade, did poorly in a race, and immediately decided that it wasn’t my thing. In middle and high school, we both ran track, but I ran mid-distances, while she took on the longest distances she could. Some people might have thought that we purposely picked different races. Yet, during my first semester of college, I picked up cross country for the first time, because my track coach recommended it. My father was talking to that coach and “jokingly” said something along the lines of, “I hope she improves, but don’t let her get faster than her sister, because cross country is her thing.” That bothered me, but it bothered my sister more, because she entirely disagrees with what his statement implies — that she would be angry to see me excel in something that she also loves. Sure, we compare results if they are there, but there is a difference between comparing and competing. In the end, we love seeing each other succeed, whether we have failed or done well in the same area.

There is always a better way of reproving or even praising a child than through comparison with the other. If you have twins, whether they choose to follow entirely different paths or the same one, let a competition between them be their own decision.

  1. Joan says:

    I so enjoyed reading your post. So often twins do not express the difficulties that arise in their relationships because of this “twin mystique”. I am an identical twin and mother of 22 year old fraternal and an author of a twin parenting book and a psychotherapist that specializes in twin issues. At the moment I am writing a book for adult twins and would love the opportunity to speak with you about your experiences. Please contact me via my website http://www.joanafriedmanphd.com when you have a moment. I would love the opportunity to explore other issues.
    Thanks so much.
    Joan Friedman

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