As if researching inexpensive balloon artists for one birthday party isn’t enough, a parent of twins should now do it twice?!
Dr. Joan Friedman, author of Emotionally Healthy Twins: A New Philosophy for Parenting Two Unique Children, strongly advises that parents host separate birthday parties for their twin children. Having a separate party shows your children that you value them as individuals and gives you a chance to celebrate each child’s entrance into the world. This makes perfect sense to me. Although I might hesitate for logistical or financial reasons, it does feel consistent with my other endeavors to ensure that each of my twin children understands how unique and special she is.
That being said, every single twin or triplet adult I interviewed had a joint birthday party with his twin/triplet siblings and I was amazed that almost every individual expressed nothing but joy in recalling the shared occasions. The vast majority of responses were that they never resented sharing the party; it never made them feel less special. In fact, they loved having all of their friends in one spot!
But there was one notable exception in the large group of interviewees… Erin said that she and her brother Jason shared a birthday party and that it never bothered her because birthdays aren’t that big of a deal to her.
Erin then recalled that last year, she felt a little annoyed when Jason’s wife called her to invite her to Jason’s birthday party.
“I thought, Uh, sure, I’ll go to a party to celebrate his birthday, which is also my birthday!” Erin was flabbergasted that her sister-in-law didn’t once acknowledge that it was also Erin’s birthday.
This incident seems to have upset you, I probed during our interview. So maybe birthdays do matter to you?
Erin paused and then said, “I don’t know, maybe… I think birthdays never mattered to me much because I always had to share the day with someone else. Maybe I would think birthdays were more special if I was ever able to enjoy being the only birthday child.”
Apparently, your twin child might resent, rather than appreciate, the combined celebration. The problem is, it’s hard to know what’s best for your own twin children and how to proceed when one of your twins prefers a shared party while the other does not.
My advice is to remain flexible on the issue rather than follow an absolute rule. Talk openly with each twin child — privately. Ask what he prefers. If one twin prefers a separate party and the other twin does not, have two separate parties. You could explain to both children that it was your decision and desire to have separate parties for each child because you wanted to celebrate each child individually.
For parents whose kids don’t mind sharing the party, next week’s post will offer tips on making sure each twin child feels special on her birthday, even if the party is a joint one!