Parent Advice: Sibling Differences
Parent Advice: Sibling Differences
First off, let me say that you sound like a really good mom. The fact that you are worried about this shows how in tune you are with your boys, and that is really great. And I totally feel you.
My oldest son is gay. It's very important to my husband and me that our son feels celebrated for who he is. This is heightened by the fact that his parents are in a heterosexual relationship. We don't want him to ever feel on the outside because he is gay and his parents aren't. But in this celebration, we worry that our other sons will feel left out. To solve this, we try to celebrate all our sons for what makes them each unique. We celebrate our second son as he dominates in Minecraft. We celebrate our third son for choreographing his own dance routines. We try to make being gay just another part of what makes our oldest son awesome. Because who he is is awesome. All of our sons are awesome, each in their own way.
I think it's all about creating a safe space free from expectation. Yes, we expect our kids to be good human beings, but we don't get to define who they are as people. I think it is important for us, parents, to remind ourselves of that. We need to give them room to explore, all the while knowing their parents have their backs and will always be right there to encourage them along the way.
I also feel the need to note that just because you have one son who seems "gayer" than the other, until they come out that means exactly squat. My son who identifies as gay is the most stereotypically masculine of my three boys. He's completely gender conforming. You two might have one gay son (which could be either), two gay sons, or no gay sons. Only time will tell. We have taken to saying we have one gay son and two unaffiliated. As parents, we might have our guesses, but our kids are the only ones allowed to define themselves. It's our job to give them the space and security in our love to figure it out.
Your sons are twins, and you are probably raising them as a unit. We did this with our two oldest boys. They have always been super close and used a form of "twin speak" as toddlers, even though they are both singletons. When their age difference became apparent, watching them grow separately, and in different directions, broke my mama heart a little. I imagine this is only exacerbated with twins. While they are twins, they are two separate people. And as much as it breaks the mama hearts, growing in separate directions is a good thing. They need to explore their differences, but that doesn't mean they will grow apart.
There is something special about brothers, even more so about twins. No one will be closer to them than their brother. Ever. But that doesn't mean they have to be the same. That doesn't mean they won't fight, piss each other off, and go out of their way to push each others’ buttons at times. But as long as their foundation is in love, they will always have that fraternal link they share with no one else. As they both change and grow in their own unique ways, keep lines of communication open. If they start feeling separate and distant from one another, talk about it. Don't make it something that is happening to them alone; it's happening to your whole family. Make sure your sons know that they are both awesome, each in their own way, and you wouldn't want them to change for the world. You want to be their mom, not anyone else's.
So to sum up: you and your co-mama should keep your minds and hearts open. You are lucky (as all parents are) to have the privilege of raising two amazing men. And part of that privilege is getting to watch who they become. As long as the foundation of your family is in love, you'll be ok (even when it sucks) because love always wins.
All my love and good wishes for the future,
Amelia is a mother and breadwinner. When not working she's spending as much time as possible with her three young sons, friends, and family. In her copious free time she knits, obsesses about science fiction and cult television, and reads way too many books. She considers her most superhero worthy act finding a couple free hours now and then to read trashy novels.