A mom of two and a half year old twins explains that one daughter cries whenever mom attempts to take her out alone without her sister. Her daughter yells and screams and protests that she does not want to leave her sister at home. Mom feels angry and guilty about this situation.

She feels badly about the fact that her daughter misses her sister but at the same time resentful that her daughter is unwilling to spend time with her alone – without her sister present. Mom reports that her other daughter exhibits none of these behaviors when she is separated from her sister. In fact, mom notes that this daughter relishes the time alone without her sister present.

How do we understand this dynamic? Sometimes, one twin is more attached to her twin than to her mother.

Thus, the over dependent attachment to her twin is an attachment to mom via proxy. Parents need to understand this dynamic and attempt to make some restitution. While it’s exceedingly difficult to see one of your twins longing for the other, there is an important developmental lesson to be learned.

The intense separation fear has much more to do with an insecure attachment to mom and NOT unrequited love for one’s twin.



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