Parents with new babies are always sure to attract attention when they go out in public, and when that stroller holds two, three or four babies, that attention is… well, multiplied! “Are they twins?” “How do you find time for yourself when you have triplets?” “Your quads are adorable!” Friends and strangers alike usually can’t help but refer to your babies as a package deal (“the twins” or “the triplets”). So how do you make sure your children grow up feeling unique and valued as individuals while still embracing their lifelong special bond?

Promote individuality

When Cincinnati Parent Facebook readers were recently asked how they promote individuality among their multiples, we received dozens of responses:
I have triplets! I think the best ‘major life decision’ I’ve made for them that has had such a positive impact on each of them is separating them into their own class for kindergarten. They are flourishing – making their own friends, gaining independence and just for the first time, really figuring things out for themselves. It’s always been so much fun watching them grow, but this growth has been incredible! – Kara P.
I have 14 year old boy-boy-girl triplets. My best advice is to give them their own private space. Having their own bedrooms has been a blessing. If that’s not possible, give them a place they can go to and be alone and away from each other. They love being together but need time for themselves too. – Michelle S.

I have identical twins. We don’t dress them alike. We chose their names as if they were singletons, no rhyming or matching names. – Susan W.
I have 5 year old twin boys and the one piece of advice I would give was that each child had their own birthday cake and birthday song. They may share the same birthday, but they are two completely different people and deserve that ‘respect’. – Kris C.

Indeed, author Joan Friedman, PhD of Emotionally Healthy Twins: A New Philosophy for Parenting Two Unique Children and The Same but Different: How Twins Can Live, Love and Learn to Be Individuals says, “Twins who aren’t encouraged to develop their own sense of self often feel guilty, frustrated, disappointed or confused when trying to go about their daily lives as adults.” Friedman is also an identical twin and mother of five, including fraternal twin boys. She suggests parents try another tip of buying a single stroller so that each child can be taken out separately to spend one-on-one time with parents and grandparents.

Jodi Turpening, school counselor at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School echoes the importance of encouraging a separate identity when she says, “Providing a foundation of love, care and secure attachment allows for a child to feel comfortable and confident in being their true self. This secure attachment is created by a child’s primary caregiver being sensitive to the needs of each of their children. Parents who are able to consistently respond to their child’s individual needs will empower a child to trust and explore one’s own self.

Appreciate their special bond

That’s not to say that multiples shouldn’t celebrate their one-of-a kind relationship. Mom of triplets Sarah F. wrote that when of her triplets was meeting a friend of hers, he asked if she was “alone” or a triplet like him. “That same child boasts to strangers when he is alone that he’s a triplet. I love that he loves it.”

Another reader of triplets, Heather B., says “They are individuals but through all of that, they appreciate each other’s differences and are best friends. I am so blessed to experience the bond they have every day.”
Having a twin or triplet really is a special kind of sibling relationship. Who else can say they have been with you from the very beginning? Encourage your multiples to appreciate what makes their connection such a unique bond.

Learn from other parents 

Raising multiples can be daunting, but thankfully there are resources and support groups to help. A quick Google search shows several twins and multiples support groups in the greater Cincinnati area. Along with sharing parenting experiences, these groups often host sales where members can get great deals on clothes and baby gear

Another opportunity to share common experiences and celebrate your multiples is at The Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio. Twins Days is the largest annual gathering of twins and other multiples in the world and takes place the first full weekend of August.

Whether your baby arrives on his own, or with a sibling or two in tow, each child deserves to develop his own interests, talents and unique way of looking at the world. Enjoy your front row seat as you watch their journey unfold!

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