Helping Twin Grandchildren Develop as Individuals

Question:

We have almost 12-year-old identical twin granddaughters. As they are getting older, their personality differences are becoming more noticeable. One is more outgoing and quicker in picking up new concepts in school and things like art projects. The other one is quieter and more analytical.

Any ideas on how we can help them become their own individual selves and not compare themselves with one another or think that they have to always be the same in everything?

Response:

It’s so great that you are sensitive to the differences between your two granddaughters.

We live in a performance-based society, so kids who are more outgoing and can show things they have created tend to get more attention than those who are quieter and more reserved. As we know, however, the quieter children are no less valuable.

God has given each of us gifts and many are not gifts that are so easy to see. So, as parents and grandparents, it is important to look for the strengths of each child and point them out. Praise them for their individual accomplishments and provide opportunities for them to show their strengths.

For example, if your quieter granddaughter likes to read, ask her about what she is reading and encourage her to keep reading as it is a skill that is needed in all subjects in school. If her analytical skills help her to make quick mathematical calculations, ask her for help when you are trying to figure out the price of an item or making change. Then thank her for her help. Her analytical skills may also help her to come up with good solutions to problems. If so, praise her for having good problem-solving skills.

When I worked in education with children K-12 and with college students, I often found that the outgoing children were picked for leadership roles over those who were quieter. However, I learned that this was a mistake because there were often excellent leaders among those quieter students. Her parents, and you, may need to provide more encouragement for her to pursue active roles in things she is really interested in.

If all of the adults in your granddaughters’ lives are intentional about acknowledging their unique strengths, they will likely learn to value those strengths in one another.

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