It is perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions from mothers of twins: When I have twins, do I purchase two of everything, or do I instill a sense of sharing in them from an early age? Sadly, the answer is still not clear and may never be. But every mother can think about what message she wants to send to her children through their gifts.

To Share or Not To Share

Parents always have the best intentions of their children in mind when they make any decision. While their decisions may have been well thought out, they may not always get the end-results they anticipated.

My girls at 7 months Toy Sharing

It is easy to think that twins will be willing to share. We all have an inherent belief that twins are inseparable, and that what belongs to one automatically belongs to the other. However, these are from parents who generally are not twins.

Twins, although born as a pair, do not necessarily believe that they must share everything. They, like other children, need to have their own personal items as well as ones they share with others. It gives them a sense of individuality, and it helps them learn how to be generous.

Baby bouncers are a great example of where each twin should have their own item, from the very beginning. Not only do bouncers for babies provide entertainment to the baby, they also provide relief to the parents when the baby is cranky. If the baby is forced to “share” their time in the bouncer, they are more likely to become resentful than learning the emotion of sharing.

It doesn’t mean that learning to “toy share” cannot be taught, or that with twins, you are bound to purchase two of everything for the rest of their childhood. Parents need to select what types of items need to be shared, and which are designated as individual possessions.

Related: Multiples Etiquette 101: Do’s and Don’ts

Walking The Thin Line Of Possessiveness

Sometimes twins find it very hard to be seen as an individual, even at a very early age. When twins discover that they are continually grouped into “one person”, they tend to be very possessive of their personal belongings and do not want to share. This is a direct response to having to “share” their identity.

Parents should encourage others, and practice this as well themselves, to treat their twins as two separate people. Yes, they may look and sound exactly alike, but they are individual people. When each twin feels that they have value as a separate human being, they will find it much easier to set aside their possessive tendencies and learn to share their belongings.

My girls at 7 months Toy Sharing

There is a fine line that parents must walk, but it is not impossible to accomplish. If you have twins, be prepared. You will have to invest in two of many items during their childhood. However, you will also be able to purchase single items of many things because they will learn to share if you treat them as individuals.