Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Reading Emotionally Healthy Twins, Joan A. Friedman

Emotionally Healthy Twins: A New Philosophy For Parenting Two Unique Children
Joan A. Friedman, Ph.D.
Da Capo/Lifelong Books (Feb. 11, 2008)
(Division of Perseus Book Group)
Paperback 245 pages

This book is a guide for parents of twins, taking them through the 'seven core parenting guidelines', focusing more on the psychological aspect of being parents to twins (and being a twin) rather than the physical. Friedman, mother of five (two of whom are twin boys), is also a twin herself and is a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of twin-related issues. So, she's well versed on the subject of twins.

Friedman emphasizes the importance of identity, individuality, uniqueness and separateness for each twin throughout the entire book. In fact, she suggests it is these attributes that contribute to 'emotionally healthy twins'. It is written as if the author is talking directly to you, the mother (or father) of twins, giving a sense of one-on-one interaction-another concept presented along side the needs of identity, etc., indeed, addressing the reader as 'you'.

The author will council you through Two Unique Children, Mentally Preparing for Two Separate Babies, all the stages of growth: Babyhood all the way to Two Young Adults as well as discussing Fathers and Babies, Fathers and Mothers. At the end of each chapter, you'll find the Parents-of Twins Journal and Tips For Parents of Twins, focusing on whatever the subject of the particular chapter was. This is very reminiscent of Self-Help books, though, on the back of the book, the category is only listed as Parenting.

I totally agree on recognizing each twin as a separate, unique being. However, there were several things that turned me off about this book. She often makes reference to her own experience as a twin, as well as the mother to twins, that infer that's how everybody else should do it (more so her experience as the mother rather than the twin); it worked for her family, so why shouldn't it for yours?

In light of the intimate way it is written (the feel of one-on-one interaction), there also seems to be a hint of condescension towards the reader-an aspect, no matter who the author or what the subject, immediately turns me off.
Most of the women interviewed in this book are happily married, able to quit their job and I doubt any of them are on any kind of assistance. Could be wrong about that, but the way the book reads, I kind of doubt it. Where are the mothers of twins who are divorced, who are on assistance, who aren't able to quit their job(s)?

There are some great ideas in here, and it is an intriguing look into another way to think of twins. I just didn't agree with some of what she presented or how the book itself was presented.

Da Capo Press/Lifelong Books
Site for Emotionally Healthy Twins/Joan A. Friedman
Photo from DaCapo Books

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