The moment you get the Good news, you’re jumping off your feet. And the moment you get to know it is twins, you are probably doing long jumps hitting the orbit of the earth. Been there, done that, I’m a mom of twins who never has things in control. But to have something in control, and to be able to understand it can be two different things. My earlier post grad degree in psychology, and the battered, slaughtered, parenting shenanigans I deal with everyday, pretty much makes me think through my everyday situations. I think (yes, i do find time for that!), observe and try my best to make mental notes on the behavior and changes of the twins. Every twin parent will agree that a set of twins, albeit identical or fraternal, will have a dominant and a submissive child. I somehow think that’s probably how the world functions – in a balance. Between spouses, siblings, co-workers, wherever, there is a dominant and a submissive force.
One definitely seems to have a better idea of how to get their will done, while the other simply complies.I know it sounds awful, we have a strong association with dominant and a meek association with submissive, but may be that is how life on earth manages to thrive. Through this blog post, I aim to share my understanding of the dominant and submissive relationship between twins.
What do we mean by Dominance
One will be stronger, more active, may be more talkative than the other. One of the twins will require more control on the situation and will exhibit more power. What video to watch, what game to play, when to complete homework, can be everyday decisions that a dominant twins is making for them both.
If you have always let your twins “decide” for themselves, you must have realized, that one of them decides and the other one just takes the left over from the options.
What Kind of dominance can be witnessed among twins?
As per a research article on Inter-twin Relationships and Mental health, 3 kinds of dominance was observed between various twin sets:
(and if I may, the fourth category would be – all of the above!)
I know for sure that when a sound of cry comes, it has to be from Chirag. Chitransh has mostly bullied him by sitting on him, hitting him, or even biting sometimes. We have worked very hard on the biting part, but these are some ways physical dominance is exhibited.
Offer your twins a set of tee-shirts – and one of them will always make the first claim and stick to it. Often imposing and dominating in terms of mannerisms, opinions or everyday decisions, psychological dominance is a whole different game. A physically or verbally dominant twin may not always be psychologically dominant as well.
In a set of boy/girl twins, often girls seem to take the psychological style of dominance, while boys tend to take the physical style of dominance.
In same gender sets like boy-boy or girl-girl twins, the more anxious or nervous seeming twin is actually the psychologically dominant one. Surprising, isn’t it!
Smooth talking skills come in handy when we talk about verbal dominance. Persuading the other, or totally having the others’ notion negated, verbal dominance can simply mean voicing out your own opinion so loud that it is considered correct and admissible. Sometimes, the bold twin becomes verbally dominant, also speaking on behalf of themselves as well their twin.
Haven’t you seen the example where a new person asks for their introduction, and often one will introduce them both? Or you ask them both what flavor ice-cream they want, and one will have answers on behalf of them both?? Now you know verbal dominance!
Tips for Parents of Twins
As much as you want to be fair, and as much as you want to be ‘just’, the reality is that it isn’t really possible. Read more about trying to be a fair parent here. Here are some tips and factors you could consider:
By Nature one twin will be dominant, and one will be submissive.
They will eventually build up an equation and happily thrive in it (well, on most days) This may not necessarily make them the same in all their friendships and relationships. Bottom line being, it’s ok to let them assume certain roles in their unique equation
I have always propagated different children, different management in all my twin related mantras.
Do not even attempt to be just the same with both. It just wouldn’t work. As long as your choice empowers and fulfills their needs, its all well done.
Make use of their dominance.
We have been talking about dominance in this whole blog, but don’t mistake it for being a negative trait. Yes, one beating up and the other always beaten up is not a great idea, but look at the bright side. One of them will always stay in the protective mode. the other would prefer being in the caring mode. So while one will throw fists because someone bullied their brother, the other will be the first one to fetch bandages and fix the hurt with a hug and a betadine.
They are a pair, a “SET” of twins
never forget that they both have roles in each others’ lives. this role is very different from a set of siblings. Their understanding is doubled in number and expertise is halved because of the no difference in age. But they somehow know how to make their partnership work. For you as a parent, it becomes crucial that you understand that. You have to make use of their capabilities and encourage them to bring about a better result.
With Chirag and Chitransh, I entrust Chitransh with leadership activities, as if he is somehow in charge of Chirag in my absence. So while Chirag is anxious and needs company to the playground, I make Chitransh ensure that his brother is holding his hand while walking down the playground. On the other hand, Chirag is very good with rules and boundaries, so he is entrusted with the role of ensuring that Chitransh walks straight back home and doesn’t stray around.
They can work very well in harmony and it is not important that you interfere and make it a 50-50 partnership.
Don’t let one dominate too much, but a 60-40 is just about ok.
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wow great post and it seems you had done great research for this post. I had heard about these terms but not knew the exact meaning and significance, after reading your post got all the insights. and at the end great tips for parents of twin kids, i am sure it will help them a lot. #Momology
Interesting write up. I like the way you contribute to every theme as a mother of twins. Enjoy reading your different perspective and approach as a mother of twins!
I never read about this earlier. This is a great insight on twins.
That’s a very informative post for parents of twins but I think it’s equally useful for parents who have kids who have less age difference between them. Siblings of more or less the same age exhibit these qualities too I have observed.
Oh God, I can so much relate to this post, Being a twin mother myself. Each and every word you have written is so true. We just need to be fair with them.
This post is so informative and interesting! I especially liked when you stressed that one child performs the protective role and the other a caring role. #momology
Well researched post. Your twins may award you a doctorate in raising twins. Haha. Good post dear.
Prisha I can relate to the post almost 99%!
At this age, though I have noticed few changes in my twins! The submissive one isn’t as submissive- and well I think with time they learn to get dominant!
Prisha, hats off to your sincere efforts in understanding the personality traits of your twins. Your approach is very practical and U love it how you use each other’s strength and weaknesses positively.
Apart from twins , in siblings too we see this dominance trait , but yes we should utilize it in a wise way 🙂
this is interesting
I feel most of the points would work well for any pair of siblings. One would be dominant and other would be follower. Very helpful tips to deal with kids.
Such an interesting post, I never knew that there’s a hell lot of research & understanding that goes into parenting twins. Twins can have such extremely different personalities & yes then it becomes important to follow a different parenting style to deal with each one of them. Hats off to you for doing it so effortlessly, your post will definitely help other twin parents in understanding the dominant & submissive twin relationship.
I was so waiting for your post on this prompt. I know when I was expecting the first time, I was so hoping they would be twins. hehe! But yes, having had twins in the family amongst cousins, I completely understand each and every word you have written. And kudos to you for doing this amazing job of bringing up twins.
My son just sent me an incredible 9.5 minutes video.
The video was taken by an infra-red camera that is installed in the twin fraternal girls room
(aged 4+) and takes continuous video through the night.
When the parents wake up in the morning and check the video, software alerts them to
portions of the video that show significant motion by the girls at night.
Normally, there is nothing to see.
When son woke up this time, at 7 am (wife, physician, already left to work), this is what he saw:
At 5:30 am, V woke up and stood in her bed, near A’s bed, and started talking to A.
A, the dominant sister, stayed asleep for at least 2 minutes but then woke up and
immediately understood what happened. V peed in her pajamas and needed to change
Very calmly, A went to the nearby cabinet, got a spare pair of pajamas, handed it to V,
went back to her bed and fell asleep.
V tried to put it on but it was not easy to do so in the dark.
A got up again, turned on the light. There was a visible wet stain in V’s bed.
A took a clean blanket, put it on the floor, put a pillow on the blanket and called V to lie down.
A helped V take off the wet pajamas and put on new pajamas.
A then returned to her bed and fell asleep.
V needed additional help.
A got up again from her bed, still very calm, put on another blanket on the floor,
carefully making sure the blanket was straight and parallel to the other blanket, put another pillow on it, turned off the light, lied down near V and both fell immediately asleep.
This must have made you surprised, proud, and so many mixed emotions to witness this! Thats the magic of twins that makes everything worth it!