Thursday, April 11, 2013

Together or Apart?

Best Friends Forever!
I ran into this very informative article that shows an infographic about the latest research on how multiples do in school when either in the same class room or in separate class rooms. This is a very hot topic among parents of multiples and for a while now I've been feeling guilty that I cared so little about the topic even though I think a lot about life after the boys go off to school. The reason I felt guilty is because I want to keep my boys together as long as possible so that I don't have to deal with three different teachers and three different sets of homework packets each night. Yes I'm selfish and want to take the easy road (see, sometimes it is easier to have multiples!). Over and over again I hear the argument about multiples needing to be separated in school so that they become individuals and less co-dependent. It makes sense but still, I don't want to deal with three different sets of homework every night!

So, along comes this article Twins in the Classroom and now I feel like I have a clearer view of things. If you don't feel like reading it, I will summarize the main points:

1. Multiples separated early had more anxiety and emotional distress than those kept in the same classroom. And that this is especially true of IDENTICAL multiples. (red flag for me!)

2. Multiples separated had LOWER reading scores than those kept in the same classroom.

Fraternal vs Identical

1. Identical multiples separated in school showed higher levels of depression, anxiety, social withdrawal  and other internalizing problems.

2. Identical multiples when separated at age 7 had poorer reading abilities.

3. Fraternal multiples separated after one year in school together worked harder in school than those kept together

 It just goes to show what a special and unique bond identical multiples have and that it is a different kind of bond than those seen in fraternal multiples (and of course frat multiples share a unique bond that is different from fraternal siblings).

I read all of the sources that were used to write this article and found an insightful quote about the argument of separating multiples so they become individuals,

…”Many people may think this might be micro-parenting . . . but this idea that twins won’t be individuals if they stay in the same classroom is so misguided and not based on research,” said Nancy L. Segal, a psychology professor and director of the Twins Studies Center at California State University, Fullerton. (taken from here)

This argument has always bothered me a little since the same thing can be said about sharing the same room. Are your children doomed for life because you can't afford a house with more rooms? Or what of kids who are home schooled, are they doomed too? I'm very glad to hear it has no real basis and is contrary to what research has found.

And another one of the sources argues this:

"There's research that suggests that when friends are in the same class, they're more exploratory, they cling to the teacher less,"..."So if we're worried about individuality, why do we let best friends go to school together?"(taken from here)

At least for me that seals the deal and I feel better about feeling the way I felt before. I want to keep my boys in the same classroom at least until they are old enough to tell me they want to be separated or when they start middle school, whichever comes first. At the moment I don't feel like my guys are overly co-dependent of each other and love to go places with mom and dad one on one. Of course I can't see into the future so if there are issues that need to be addressed that would be solved by separating them I would definitely consider it, we all know our children the best so it's certainly up to the parents to make the decisions that they feel are right regardless of what research shows.


Natalie said...

Thank you for this post. I saw the same infographic, but didn't read the back up research. I think I will go with the same plan (until they ask or middle school) with my ID twin girls.

mary said...

This has been a major issue at our house as well. My boys are identical, and it seems that everyone around me thinks they should be separated when they start kindergarten this August (they turn five this summer). Frankly, I totally disagree and will fight to keep them together. They have never been away from home without me, (at least not for very long) not even preschool. Also, a good point you brought up--they share a room. They are sooooo doomed, haha! They are total best friends, fight all the time, but are absolutely miserable the few times they are without each other. Honestly, I think they just have a special connection, something I can only begin to understand, and I am with them all the time!!!

pyjammy pam said...

It really just depends on your kids. We separated the boys this school year (they were 4.5) and while the first week was tough, they are doing really well separated. Best decision we could have made.'re right. Dealing with three classes (and there's not even homework yet!) is a NIGHTMARE. A tiny selfish part of me wanted to put them back together for K just to make life easier for me. But I won't. :)

Sara 诗媛 said...

Our first year in this new school, Rachel was in third grade with one boy who was an identical twin. Apparently, it was the first year the twins had not been in the same classroom. The other twin, was so depressed and upset he spent much of the year fighting going to school, and ending up in the office. They put them back together in the same class in 4th grade. I don't know if that is typical, but I found it interesting.

Us Five Stuives said...

I have 14 year old fraternal twins. We had them in the same K class and then seperate classed every other year, so in gr 1 they were apart, gr 2 together and so on. Now they are in Grade 8 and have some same classes and some apart. They push each other to strive to do their best and to outdo their twin. I say, whatever you feel best doing, do it.

nan cee said...

Big decision to make! If it were me I would want to keep them together if the separating would cause stress, depression or lower achievements. Maybe when they are older, but not to begin with. That is my opinion for whatever it is worth.
Love you guys,