The Hardest Things About Raising Twins

Double the fun. Double blessing. Double delight. Having twins is definitely a double dose of joy, but parents of twins will admit that it is not always easy.

There are definitely some challenges when you have twins. This list examines some of the hardest things about having twins, from pregnancy all the way through the teenage years. 


Difficult Pregnancy

Reasons why twins are born early
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How lucky, one pregnancy that yields two babies! Right? While there are benefits to a two-for-one pregnancy, there are also some extreme side effects and potential complications that can prove unpleasant.

Some of the regular symptoms of pregnancy are often magnified with twins, and sometimes a twin pregnancy brings its own risks and complications.

The increased risks can add anxiety and fear to an already uncomfortable physical state. That's why, from the very beginning, pregnancy is one of the hardest things about having twins.


Lack of Sleep

twin babies sleeping
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Yawn! Most bleary-eyed parents would agree that the lack of sleep is perhaps the worst thing about having baby twins. Any newborn is likely to keep odd hours, but balancing the demands of two newborns means that sleep is a scarce commodity for parents of twins.

The physical exhaustion adds strain to an already stressful situation as parents learn to cope with multiple babies. It is hard enough to function when well-rested, but parents of twins must learn to survive on shots of sleep measured in minutes rather than hours.


Finding One-on-One Time

mom and dad on bed with twin babies
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Is there enough of you to go around? When children arrive at staggered intervals, parents can find ways to engage with them individually. But parents of twins often feel very concerned that they are short-changing their multiples, who must share their love and attention from the moment they are born. 

The demands of modern life leave barely enough time for family activities, much less unlimited opportunities to interact one-on-one with each child.

Yet, that exclusive attention is vital to multiples as they develop their individual identities. The guilt often experienced as a result is one of the hardest things about having twins.



mother of twins breastfeeding
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If only parents of twins could be in two places at once! With only two hands, there are times when it is simply impossible to meet the needs of both twins at the same time.

It starts in the earliest days of twinfancy, with two babies who need to be fed, burped, and changed at the same time, which is no easy task! The challenges continue as multiples become mobile and can't be contained. But it doesn't end there.

As twins grow up and become involved in activities, the logistics of accommodating two simultaneous schedules can become overwhelming.

Back-to-school can be a particular nightmare when twins are in separate classes! One of the hardest things for parents of teenage twins is the transporting around town to school and different social events.


The Squabbling

twin babies fighting
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Everyone assumes that twins are best buddies. While, overall, that might be the case, parents of twins can often share a different side of the story.

Competition between twins starts surprisingly early in life, and the squabbles can become incredibly intense.

The constant cycle of fighting and refereeing is a burden on parents. Many parents would agree, the squabbling and competition between twins is one of the hardest things about parenting them.


Being Fair and Equal

Dad with twin babies
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With two children the same age, there is a lot of pressure on parents to keep everything equal. What you do for one, you have to do for the other. You want them to have equal access to resources and opportunities.

And mostly you want to deny an appearance of playing favorites or giving one twin an advantage over the other. It can become an exhausting effort, ensuring that everyone gets to take their turn, receives a fair shake and an equal portion.

And no matter how hard parents try, it's unlikely they'll succeed in establishing a perfect balance.



twin baby photoshoot
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The twin relationship is unique and complicated. Twins are individuals, but they are also part of a twin dynamic. Parents are charged with raising them as individuals, yet the world wants to see their children as a set. Comparisons and contrasts come from every direction, and parents even have to fight their own instincts not to juxtapose one child's characteristics against the next.

Parents are supposed to encourage their twins' individuality, but it's not always clear how to accomplish it.

Decisions are difficult and there is often criticism at every turn. Is it okay to dress them alike? Keep them in the same class? Encourage separate friendships? Call them "the twins"? Raising twins as individuals is definitely one of the hardest things.



messy twin babies eating
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You know the old saying, "Two heads are better than one"? That certainly seems to be the case with multiples and their messes.

Where one kid can certainly wreak some havoc, when you get two twins together, their messes can be monumental.

With helping hands to share the work and bravado fueled by encouraging siblings, parents of multiples have to be ready to face their share of disasters.


Simultaneous Situations

twin babies eating birthday cake
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There are many difficult aspects of parenting. There are tough moments and trying stages. The difficult thing about having twins is that parents must address the particularly challenging times with two children at once.

Let's talk about teething, potty training, homework, puberty, teen driving, dating. Parents have to split their attention between both children, differentiate their approach (in some cases) to problems, and find individual solutions.

Even in the good times, the milestones are shared and it can be difficult to savor and appreciate individual moments. Birthdays, the first day of school, prom, graduation are all shared events.


Twin Discrimination

twin baby girls sitting in grass with bubbles
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One of the most heartbreaking aspects of parenting is seeing your child hurt or disappointed. And while twins often find themselves the beneficiaries of certain entitlements because of their twin status, they sometimes also face discrimination.

They may be excluded from activities or overlooked for opportunities that are available to singletons. Some of the challenges of growing up are more difficult for twins.

At some point, twins will face disappointment when one isn't invited to a party or event. They may struggle in social situations or have difficulty with friendships. Some twins are even victims of teasing or bullying. These difficult issues are one of the many challenges in parenting twins.

1 Source
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  1. Chowdhury S, Hussain MA. Maternal complications in twin pregnancies. Mymensingh Med J. 2011;20(1):83-7.

By Pamela Prindle Fierro
 Pamela Prindle Fierro is the author of several parenting books and the mother of twin girls.