Having a child head to college is a big deal for most parents and those with teen twins are no exception. Twins bring a double dose of everything. You’ll get double the joy and pride of watching them prepare to head out into the world, as well as double the stress, pain, and bittersweet feeling that comes with having two kids leave home at the same time.
Depending on the colleges they choose and get accepted to, you might find yourself in different scenarios. Maybe your twins decided they needed room to bloom separately so they applied to two different campuses. Perhaps they are both going to be living at home or maybe one will live on campus while their twin continues living with you.
Whether they’ll be living on campus or at home, attending the same or different schools, your twins will still need you. Additionally, if both leave for college and they’re your last or only kids, you’ll also have to deal with an empty nest.
Here are some tips to help you navigate these situations and stay sane in the midst of it all:
Dealing with Teen Twins in College
Encourage Independence and Individuality.
Going to college gives twins the opportunity to become more independent not only from their parents but also from their twin. This is the best time to encourage them to develop their own individuality, whether they’re on the same campus or not. Even if they go to the same college, they’re unlikely to pursue the same course or classes. As such, they’ll need to learn how to relate to others without their twin, especially if they have always relied on each other.
If your twins are usually competitive, remind them that this is a chance for each of them to savor the college experience for themselves. Rather than competing, encourage them to cultivate their own independent interests and friendships.
Make Time for Each Twin.
Being a freshman can be both exciting and terrifying especially if your kids have never left home before. Depending on their personalities, they might need some hand-holding or advice when it comes to socializing and dealing with the challenges of campus life.
Teen twins with behavioral disorders might have a harder time adjusting and they may need more encouragement, guidance, and assistance to settle in, make friends and find their place on campus. Spending quality one-on-one time with each twin will allow you to give them the support they need to thrive and you’ll also be able to identify any problems that arise.
Be Supportive and Reassuring.
Regardless of how close and similar they are in behavior, each twin will experience college differently. One might take to it immediately while the other might require a few semesters to adjust. It might be tempting to keep visiting struggling twins or to keep stepping in to rescue them but this only sends a message that you don’t trust them to solve their own problems. Instead, be supportive and reassuring, providing guidance or advice from the sidelines and while allowing them to find their own way.
Taking Care of Yourself
Sending your twins off to college marks a new chapter in your life, especially if you don’t have any other kids at home. The quiet, empty home may seem lonely and the change of pace will hit you hard. Instead of seeing this as a sad moment, embrace this as an opportunity to reinvent yourself. You now have a chance to resurrect all the hobbies you’d sacrificed in the hassle of raising twins. You can even establish a different career path and be a little selfish with your time.
Refocus on Your Marriage.
When was the last time you and your spouse went out on a date together without noisy kids? Once your twins leave for college the two of you can refocus on each other and rekindle your romance. You can spend more time together, travel if you can and do all those things you always wanted to do but couldn’t because of the twins.
Don’t Forget About the Other Kids.
If you have other children, they probably miss their twin siblings too. It can be easy to forget about them in all the confusion that comes with sending your twins to campus and ensuring that they’re doing okay. With your twins gone, you now have ample time to devote to the rest of your kids.
The emotions you feel when you have twins in college runs the gamut from happiness to sadness. The freshman year will no doubt be a learning experience for the entire family. With a little patience and a great sense of humor, you can maintain your sanity as you navigate this new chapter of your life.
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Tyler is a proud husband and father of four. He has worked with families and youth for nearly 10 years and enjoys camping and hiking in his spare time. Tyler values family above everything else and hopes his experiences and research can help other families work through challenges and form strong, lasting bonds.