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Emotionally Healthy Twins: A New Philosophy for Parenting Two Unique Children Paperback – February 12, 2008

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Emotionally Healthy Twins: A New Philosophy for Parenting Two Unique Children + Parenting School-Age Twins and Multiples + Raising Twins: What Parents Want to Know (and What Twins Want to Tell Them)
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Editorial Reviews


"[A] wonderful resource.”Staten Island Advance

“For anyone expecting or raising multiples, this book needs to be on their recommended reading list!...An important addition to the reading resources for anyone raising their multiples.”—

“[Friedman’s] tone is both authoritative and kind. This book is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the complex psychological issues that twins and their parents face Armed with excellent strategies, Friedman shares her experience and knowledge to help parents combat their misguided impulses. This book gives me hope that life will be easier for the next generation of twins.”—California Society for Clinical Social Work’s “Clinical Update” newsletter

“Full of information and very handy and practical tips It is richly flavored with tips and tricks that are certainly very practical for the busy parents of twins...Friedman’s book makes a valuable and novel contribution to the twin parenting literature and is one that I will recommend to other parents of twin and indeed to parents of multiple singletons.”Twin Research and Human Genetics

“Offers advice to frazzled parents.”—Brooklyn Daily Eagle

“A wonderfully enlightening book that brings raising twins into the 21st Century.”—Mad about Multiples blog

“Well worth a read…Thought-provoking.”—Twins, Triplets, and More, 8/08

“An excellent book.” —, 8/27/08

“Will become the standard reference for parenting twins.”—TWINS, October 2008

“Will become the standard reference for parenting twins.”—Twins, July 2009

About the Author

In her practice as a therapist, Joan A. Friedman, Ph.D., specializes in dealing with twin-related issues. She lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and five children.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (February 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738210870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738210872
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Friedman is a prominent and well-respected twin expert who shares her passionate views and insights about twins and their emotional needs with twins and their families throughout the world.

The fact that she is an identical twin and the mother of five, including fraternal twin sons, makes her ideally suited to this task. Her commitment to twin research and her treatment of twins of all ages demonstrate the breadth and depth of her skills and experience.

She conducts groups for parents of twins and provides consultation about twin-related matters such as school placements, developmental discrepancies, behavioral issues, and individuation struggles.

Her first book, "Emotionally Healthy Twins," has received critical acclaim as a unique resource for understanding how twins develop and what parents can do to manage and understand twin-specific challenges as twins mature.

Dr. Friedman's new book, "The Same but Different: How Twins Can Live, Love and Learn to be Individuals," is about the relationship intricacies of adult twins.

She has earned doctorates from two prestigious psychoanalytic training programs in southern California. Her social work experience in community mental health facilities and hospitals has contributed to her unique perspectives about child development and parenting.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By flowered-up on June 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
I only wish I'd found this book sooner -- it's the one book that's had the greatest positive impact on how I think about raising my identical twin toddler boys. Dr. Friedman hits it right on the head from the start: twins just happen to be born at roughly the same moment in time but need to live life as two unique individuals. And parents can help this process by enabling their children to have truly separate and unique experiences AND relationships that support the development of a healthy sense of self.

Dr. Friedman's discussion early in the book about the "twin mystique" sets the tone for her later observations and parenting suggestions. This "mystique" is a set of faulty ideals about twins that are held in popular culture: they inhabit their own private world that only they hold the map to; they feel lost without each other and want to preserve their twosome status into adulthood; one always knows what the other one needs, therefore twins are "each other's predestined partner and confidant."

I consider myself a thoughtful, educated and empathic person and parent, and never thought I'd fall into the mindset of this mystique, but this book totally challenged many of my beliefs about twins. And I thank the author for that! I don't pretend to know what being a twin is like, but I now know a lot more about the issues surrounding their healthy development. Friedman's personal story about discovering the need for alone time with each twin really struck an instant chord with me. I can't believe (and kick myself hard!) that I hadn't embraced this idea sooner - it's a remarkably simple solution to the overwhelming feeling of not being mom enough for two little ones who need a lot of your constant attention.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Jon G. on February 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book has a definite point of view, so reading it can be thought-provoking, even if you don't agree -- sort of like listening to Ron Paul, or to a vegan. Friedman throws down the gauntlet early in the book, with this suggestion of how to announce the impending arrival of twins.

PARENT-TO-BE: I have wonderful news! Brad and I are going to be the parents of two babies!
MOTHER-IN-LAW: What do you mean? Are you saying you're having twins?
PARENT-TO-BE: Yes, but we're already thinking about them as two separate children, because that's what they are: two separate babies born at the same time.
MOTHER-IN-LAW: What's wrong with calling them twins?
PARENT-TO-BE: Nothing's wrong with it. It's just that Brad and I feel strongly about relating to our babies as two distinct children rather than as a pair. And we hope that our friends and family will treat them as individuals as well.
MOTHER-IN-LAW: Hmmmm. Okay, well congratulations, anyhow!

"Two separate babies born at the same time" -- if only there were a more succinct way of saying that. Oh, wait, there is --- throughout much of the book Friedman uses the term "same-age siblings". The term would probably be less grating if she said something like, "I'm using this term interchangeably with the term 'twin' to drive home the point that they don't need to be treated like a pair anymore than non-twin siblings." But instead we're left to guess at the reasoning behind her goofy coinage. Other than language weirdness, here are my other problems with this book:

* She gives no consideration to a cost/benefit analysis of her favorite prescription: alone time between a parent and one twin.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Twinmama on April 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
I like, and agree with, a lot of what the author says, especially the individual identities approach. Although my twin boys are fraternal and don't look at all alike, we have still worked hard to keep them from thinking of themselves as "the twins" rather than each boy as his own person. So she had me at hello, in a way.

I think hers is the best, most well-reasoned out argument for putting twins in separate classrooms that I've come across. I'm intrigued by the suggestion of giving each twin his own birthday party (although I am thinking, for budget reasons, in our house maybe we'll just start out with each twin getting his own birthday cake).

That said, I can't get completely behind this approach. I can understand wanting the twins to be their own identities beyond "the twins," but at the same time, the twin thing is a very special connection and I really am reluctant to do anything to break that connection. I'm certainly not going to stop buying them matching (or slightly different -- same shirt in different colors) clothing to underline their individual identities. Believe me, if my children didn't want to wear matching clothes, they wouldn't! But they enjoy dressing alike...for now, anyway. When they're not so into it as they grow up, I'll stop buying them matching clothes. But in the meantime, I really don't see how it hurts them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amjra VINE VOICE on September 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
One of the best ways to describe this book is to describe what it is not - this is not a medical book, a "what to expect" book, nor a tips-and-trips book.

What it is is truly unique psychological guide, for the parents, to raising twins with their own identities and parents not losing their minds to guilt over raising twins. When I found this book I was ready to parent "the twins" and to describe them as such. After reading this book I feel that I have some small insight into the world of twins, especially identical twins and their need for their own identity. According to the author that identity starts with the parents treating both babies as unique individuals. For example, one of the most seemingly simple, but effective, ideas in the book seems to be that each parent needs to spend alone time with each baby! Also, we have stopped telling people that we are going to have "twins" but that we are going to have "two-babies". It makes a difference in our minds regarding the separateness and uniqueness of each baby.

As an identical twin herself, as a mother of twins, and as a practicing psychologist specializing in twin issues, the author is uniquely suited towards addressing these often overlooked aspects of twining. I don't believe that any of the suggestions of treating the babies as individuals are going to take any of the "specialness" out of being a twin. Twins are "special" by default, the author is providing strategies for parents and children to enjoy this specialness and not to let it be their defining characteristic.
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