Four ways to provide support to both twins when one makes the team and the other doesn’t.
Twins have a unique connection, and often the bond is unbreakable. They support and encourage each other at home, at school and everywhere in between. They share their deepest secrets, their special treats, and sometimes they even share their illnesses with each other. Usually one gets a cold and begins to feel better, then the other twin starts coughing. Witnessing the interactions and shatterproof connection between twins can be a beautiful image to behold.
How do parents handle the angst that arises when their twins’ bond is compromised or interrupted when both twins try out for the same sport, but only one makes the team. As a mother or twins and a licensed psychotherapist, I say “it stinks.” It’s extremely difficult being overly excited for one twin’s accomplishment. On the other hand, it’s quite disheartening to believe that the other twin tried equally as hard but wasn’t chosen to play. How do I support them both?
- Celebrate with Cake!
Celebrate both of their accomplishments for completing tryouts and their hard work during the conditioning. Bake or purchase a cake and “include for your hard work” on it. As you enjoy the cake, encourage positive communication between the two. Discuss their experiences surrounding the practices and tryouts for the team. Be sure to question their thoughts about making the team or being cut from the team. This will allow them the opportunity to process their feelings of failure and success in a non-threatening atmosphere. It’s vital to ensure that the twin who made the team feels validated and encouraged to celebrate her accomplishment. Now some colleagues may warn that eating cake and expressing emotions may lead to one potentially becoming an emotional eater in the future. Feel free to select something else to celebrate with, perhaps a smoothie, a hike, a jog, a board game or a puzzle. We chose cake, because we like cake! Sharing thoughts and feelings is the most valuable piece of this activity.
- Seek alternative activities!
Encourage the twin who was not chosen for the team to pursue other interest and opportunities. Help him/her discover other sporting activities or join other clubs. Point out the fact that if he/she participates in a different sport, that each one may always have a personal cheerleader at the competitions.
- Encourage more practice!
Encourage the twin who was cut from the team to continue practicing during the off season in hopes of being prepared and ready to join the team the following season. If possible, he/she could practice his/her sibling. Not only will this help them both get better athletically, it may help keep their bond intact. Of course, it will also encourage some friendly competition.
- Display love!
Continue to display concrete love to them individually, by spending time with them separately. A simple activity like asking them the help cook dinner on alternating nights will provide individual support. You could also use their grooming time as a moment to connect. Whether you’re brushing hair or braiding hair, cherish those times and use them wisely. Those precious moments will allow each twin an opportunity to share individual thoughts and feelings exclusive of the fear of harming their “twinship”. The interaction will also allow you an opportunity to deepen your bond with each twin individually.
As a mother of adolescent twin girls, the ups and downs are sometimes overwhelming. We celebrate hard, and sometimes we cry and pray just as hard. This one true fact remains, love, empathy, compassion, support, and forgiveness are at the center of every interaction that we share collectively or individually.
This feature was submitted by Tamara Bogan, LPC
From Virginia, to Texas, to South Korea and many counties in Georgia, Tamara Bogan has completed 17 successful years in the educational arena. Her career includes middle school teacher, reading specialist, and high school counselor. In addition to school counseling, Tamara is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Georgia who owns Seat of Resilience Consulting and Counseling in Ludowici, GA. She believes that parents have their children’s best interest at heart, but there are times when additional tools are necessary. Tamara is happily married to retired Sgt. Andrew Bogan, and they enjoy parenting 4 amazing teenagers.