Parenting Seminar

“Using Emotional Intelligence to Raise Compassionate and Resilient Children”

Sunday, June 12

12:30–5:30 p.m.


$50 General

$40 Skirball Members

$30 Full-Time Students


In this seminar, participants learn to help their children become emotionally intelligent and find ways to express their feelings authentically and appropriately.

Through a keynote presentation and multiple workshops, participants will learn how to use Mindsight with their children to help them discover their feelings as a source of strength.

Techniques for cultivating resilience and well-being will be explored. The seminar will also enable parents and caregivers to strengthen bonds with children, leading to stronger families and communities.

Designed for parents, expectant parents, mental health care practitioners, and teachers, the program includes the keynote lecture and two ninety-minute workshops, Session A and Session B.

Dr. Joan A. Friedman will be offering a worshop during Session B, from 4:00pm till 5:30pm.

Raising Emotionally Healthy Twins

Facilitator: Joan Friedman, PhD, author of Emotionally Healthy Twins

Drawing on her experience as a twin, the mother of twins, and a psychotherapist specializing in twins, Dr. Friedman outlines seven key concepts for helping twins develop into self-realized, resilient individuals. Her current research about adult twin development will enhance parental awareness about twins’ ongoing emotional growth.


Date: Sunday April 3, 2011
Posted in: Dr. Joan Rants

Perhaps I am the only person who cringes and feels a visceral pang of fear and sadness watching the eighteen month old twins babble incoherently in the wildly popular youtube video. Of course, they are adorably appealing, and their expressive “conversation” combined with their synchronous bodily movements are very comical. Nonetheless, from my perspective, this viral exploitation of twin behavior serves as yet another misrepresentation and distortion about twins and their development. While the boys look and sound “twin adorable”, this “twin talk” may be the result of inadequate parental interaction. Since many parents of twins mistakingly believe that the twin attachment is more important than the parental relationship, they may be unaware that speech patterns evolve from children listening to and imitating adult speech. Studies show that twins’ speech can develop a bit more slowly because of less than adequate parental interaction. I am concerned that the boys in the video do not demonstrate age appropriate speech milestones.
While I may be considered somewhat of a naysayer by those who find my thoughts exaggerated or extreme, nothing could be further from the truth.  I am devoted to educating the public about the realities of twin relationships. Videos such as these perpetuate the “twin mystique” - the nontwin population’s idealized thinking and perceptions about being and having a twin. This “twin mystique” mentality can interfere with understanding and managing some of the real life struggles and challenges that twins confront as they grow.

The media announces that the quadruplets born in Baltimore will be presented to the media next week!

The keynote speakers at the upcoming annual convention of the National Organization of the Mothers of Twins Club (NOMOTC) are the parents of twins and sextuplets. Their family life is filmed and aired frequently on the Discovery Channel and the Learning Channel and they have been Oprah’s guests.

I remember hearing about the Dionne quintuplets. They were identical quintuplets whose lives were sensationalized and destroyed by the exploitation of the Canadian government and their family. Their books reveal the horrific aftermath of their lives’ ordeals.

Perhaps, seeing other parents with so many children to care for makes some of us feel less burdened by our parental obligations and tasks. Having twins is a breeze compared to these broods of children.

I think about these large families and wonder how the kids will develop.

Certainly they will thrive emotionally and physically within the framework of their sibling network. They will grow up in a rich communal environment. Yet, will these experiences provide them with any opportunity to know themselves as individuals?

Jon and Kate plus 8 put enormous faith in God to help them with their large family. Faith is a viable resource along with the monetary benefits of television fame and exposure. They certainly will need all the help they can get.

Parents of twins often feel like dreadful failures if their twins are not close. Do they need more reasons to feel inadequate?

Most parents hope that their children will be close; however, some parents of twins seem to assume or expect that closeness is part and parcel of the twinship.

I do understand how this expectation is created.

It is another manifestation of the “twin mystique” – a mindset which defines how twins should feel about one another. While it may seem counterintuitive, the more latitude and permission that you give your twins to have ambivalent feelings, the more psychic room you are providing to articulate, manage, and negotiate predictable conflicts that most siblings encounter.

Remember, often in the course of human interactions familiarity breeds contempt. Are twins exempt from these feelings just because they have that special twinship bond? I don’t believe so.

I do firmly concur that twins share an undeniable intimacy that is viable and authentic.

In my opinion the healthiest way to nurture this special bond is to foster free expression of twin differences so that they are free to love one another as individuals instead of feeling obligated to love one another because they are twins.

Food for thought? What do you think - do twins have to be best friends?

I do understand that it is very difficult – especially the first time – to send your child off to preschool. The action itself proclaims that the child is entering into a wider world where parents can’t control their well-being. Letting go and helping your child feel that he can master feeling safe in the world without mommy and daddy is a vital developmental hurdle that lays down the internal groundwork for inner reliance and self-confidence. In this generation of “helicopter parents” this fundamental child development tenet is largely ignored.

Parents of twins approach the preschool experience with a special perspective.

Granted, mom may feel bereft since she needs to separate from two babies at the same time. However, she can minimize her loss with the knowledge that the twins have one another and therefore they will not feel alone. Of course, the twins’ close attachment needs to be approached with sensitivity and good sense .

Nevertheless, mom’s difficulty around separations should not be managed by the twinship. While twins might need to be with one another initially, there also needs to be opportunities for them to have some experiences away from one another via separate playdates, alone time with mom and dad, and eventually separate preschool classes if that is an option.

Parents must find out in advance if their twins’ public school mandates that twins be separated in kindergarten; if this is so, it is the parents’ responsibility to prepare their twins so that a smooth separation occurs.

Yes, it does take more time and effort, to be sure.

Yet, just remember that a healthy separateness beginning as early as possible helps to ensure healthy individuation throughout their lives.