Twins often have a particularly close bond. Photo: Regina Kaute, license
Reading aloud "There are two": For many expectant mothers of twins, this moment of realization comes late - sometimes only when a prenatal diagnostician examines the pregnant woman's abdomen with a high-resolution ultrasound machine. On his monitor, he then realizes that not just one but two children are growing up. At this time, the twins have often mastered the first hurdles of their life together and - at least all stakeholders hope - good chances, healthy and strong to come into the world. The fact that twins lose their siblings even before they are born is not at all so rare: one-third to one-half of all twin pregnancies recorded in the first three months result in single-births, the science magazine "bild der wissenschaft" reports in its June issue. Even after the 17th week of pregnancy, the risk of miscarriage in twins is four to six times higher than in single babies. If all goes well, twins are usually born much earlier than children who have the tight space in the uterus to themselves. Caesarean sections are twice as necessary as with individual children.

Even in the womb, twins compete for resources, and this fight continues when the siblings have seen the light. Twin parents can confirm that it is almost impossible to meet the needs of both children at the same time. This is one of the reasons that twins have a slight developmental backlog over single babies and are a bit worse in preschool intelligence testing.

But emotionally, the close ties to his brother or sister bring with them an advantage early on: "They react to each other and in some cases mutually calm each other, " explains psychologist Meike Watzlawik, who has been working at the TU Braunschweig on the development of twins, With touch, feel, mouth, bite, tug, or thrust, physical closeness builds up, which can even last a lifetime with some twin pairs. The extreme case is certainly the two British sisters Alice and Nellie Clarke, who were 100 years old, never married and allegedly did not spend a single night alone.

How much closeness or how much distance between twin pairs is good and meaningful, this question arises at the latest in the kindergarten and in the school. "Breaking up or leaving in a class?" Parents and educators ask equally here. Three studies have now investigated the consequences of these often painful separations and discovered positive effects only for twins in higher grades. Letting the two go their separate ways, the language performances were better than if they were taught together. For smaller children, especially identical twins, the school performance deteriorated, however - probably "because the children are taken away from the usual security by the separation, " explains Watzlawik in "image of science". display

The close bond with the brother or sister also helps many twins to get through puberty safely. For some, however, this time is also marked by conflicts, especially with siblings of different sex - it is not only to unsubscribe from the parents and find their own place in life, but also from the twin sister or twin brother.

"During puberty, you did not just want to be different from your parents, but also different from your brother, " confirms Klaus-Peter Waldenberger, now 48, and mayor of Lauffen am Neckar. Nevertheless, he remains closely associated with his twin brother Rolf and continues to maintain a role distribution, as they live many pairs of twins. There is a "foreign minister" who maintains contact with the outside and a "minister of the interior" who is in the background. The teacher Rita Haberkorn, who has been counseling twin parents for almost three decades, has seen this distribution as a particularly stable constellation among many pairs of twins. The brothers Waldenberger looked like this: Klaus-Peter founded and managed institutions and associations, Rolf did the basic work. Who takes over in this constellation which role depends in no way on the order of birth, have shown evaluations.

Although the further biographies of twin pairs are systematically not fully investigated yet, some statements can nevertheless be made by researchers: For example, it is known that twins marry a little later and less often than single babies. Also, they do not find each other's partners above average attractive - so the risk is likely to be low, that fall in love with the same people twins and then compete with each other.

The subject of death, researchers have not left aside: Suicide is statistically much rarer in Gemini than in single babies, data from Denmark show. On the other hand, there are no indications that the death of the twin partner is worse than the death of another close relative. This still sorrowful experience has also made the Lauffener Mayor, who lost 13 years ago his brother in a sports accident. "I miss him a lot, " says Klaus-Peter Waldenberger. "Somehow, he does not miss either. He is still there, in my person. As a double, so to speak. "

ddp / science.de Ulrich Dewald

science.de

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