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.


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I just have to say that my twins had this kind of interaction. My boys are normal. There is nothing wrong with this. I think that you are way off base with this. Twins do have a special bond. I know that some twins do not get along in their lives, but I think that it is the way that they were raised. I raised mine as individuals and they have turned out great.

Comment by Cassandra Tinder on May 11th, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

Hello Jane,
I am a little bit concerned about what you say in this post. I belong to the twins parents assotiation in Madrid and hear your speech last year. Now my children are 21 months old. I believe that they have a much stronger relationship with us that with their twin, although every passing day their interaction grows. for example, they’d rather play with one of us that with their twin alone. We have allways talked to them, all the time, and now they understand a great deal of what we say, but they don’t speak much other than “water, open, that’ all, rice, mum, dad, ….” although many times they try to imitate what we say. Among them they use the same “codes” they use with us to make themselves understood, and they can have a sort of “conversation” where they understand each other.
Are we missing something? Is there anythin we should or shouldn’t do to enhance their speaking abilities?
Thank you very much

Comment by Teresa on May 18th, 2011 @ 9:49 am

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