TWINS are known for being inseperable, but one dad has admitted to deliberately separating his, sparking huge debate online.
Sean Szeps, from Sydney, says that he is keen for his son and daughter to develop “individual identities” and relationships.
But many parents have argued that he will cause his children “separation anxiety” in doing so.
Writing for Kidspot, Sean hits back at his haters…
“You are not doing the best by your twins separating them.”
That was the comment I received on Instagram just a few short minutes after I uploaded a post celebrating our decision to separate our children once a week.
I was shocked, embarrassed, and a bit angry. But I’m getting way ahead of myself.
We first decided to separate our boy-girl twins a few months before their actual birth.
We had spent a great deal of time interviewing adult twins during the pregnancy, and one of the most common frustrations we heard was that twins are often lumped together.
Most twins reported that they very rarely got individual time or experiences.
And we really liked the idea of mitigating that problem by connecting with our children separately each week on solo dates.
You know, giving them a chance to step out of “the twin” shadow and blossom as a singleton.
That, and we selfishly wanted to ease the intensity of raising two tiny humans by giving ourselves a chance to parent just one child at a time, if only for a few hours.
Because guess what? Parenting decisions can be made for your best interest, too.
But then two years flew by and we woke up one morning realising that we had never followed through on our brilliant plan. Damn.
Our adorable boy-girl twins had quite literally never spent time apart.
And maybe, just maybe, if they hadn’t been showing signs of needing a break from each other, we would have never considered giving them that alone time. But they were showing signs of needing a break.
My daughter was hitting more and more. My son was stealing toys. They both were competing for “Dada Time” by throwing tantrums. And they disagreed on just about everything from dinner to movies to music.
Sure, it’s a big part of the sibling experience to fight and compete for attention. But who said it wasn’t part of the parenting experience to give them a break every now and then?
We decided to trust our parenting instincts and give it a go.
I took my daughter first. We made smoothies at home and went to the mall to buy Christmas pyjamas.
We hid from the mall Santa and sang John Mayer on the car ride home like we were a professional father-daughter duo.
Then we played in the woods, chased pigeons, and “took” ballet class with the Sydney Harbour as our backdrop.
I loved every second of our alone time together. I started noticing things about her that I had been missed while watching two babies all day long.
Instead of having to say “it’s your brothers turn” all the time, I was able to give her the reigns. I, for the first time in two years, gave her 100 per cent of my attention.
It’s important to discover who you are outside of your relationship with your siblings. Especially if you’re a twin
I felt like I understood her a bit better, which made a massive impact on how I parented her the following day. And week.
And now three months later, we continue the trend of giving our twins (and ourselves) much-deserved breaks.
I know, from first-hand Instagram trolling experiences, that not everyone will agree with our philosophy. But hear me out.
Raising two or three or four children is bloody difficult. The experience forces you to ignore one child’s needs for another.
And while patience and sharing are amazing skills that children with siblings are blessed to learn earlier on than children without siblings, it’s equally important to discover who you are outside of your relationship with your siblings. Especially if you’re a twin.
The woman who sassed me on Instagram added “Families normally do everything as a family #seperationanxiety” to the end of her rant. And to that I say: I’m not interested in “normal”.
Every family and child is different. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to raising tiny humans. The only thing we can do is trust our gut, do what we believe is best, and give ourselves a damn break.
Because one day your child will be alone, without you or their siblings. And how they cope with that experience is really on you.
It’s just up to you to decide how early on you want them experience and explore that independence. And whether or not you want to be involved.
For us, it was age two. And I wouldn’t change a thing. #SeperationSerenity
This article was originally published on Kidspot and has been republished with permission.
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