With Back to School Season Upon Us, Parents of Twins Face a Tough Question: Should Twins be Placed in Separate Classrooms?

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Back to school time is just around the corner. As if the transition between the lazy, hazy days of summer and the jam-packed school season isn't stressful enough, for parents of twins and multiples, back to school means facing a tough issue: should twins and multiples be placed in separate classrooms? As more and more school systems said yes, and more and more parents said no, it's become an increasingly polarizing issue.

Back to school time is just around the corner. As if the transition between the lazy, hazy days of summer and the jam-packed school season isn't stressful enough, for parents of twins and multiples, back to school means facing a tough issue: should twins and multiples be placed in separate classrooms? As more and more school systems say yes, and more and more parents say no, it's become an increasingly polarizing issue. New Jersey recently became one of a growing number of states that will leave the decision up to the parents and in Massachusetts, the state Senate is considering a bill that would give parents the final say.

According to Tonia Tomlin, one of the country's leading twins experts, "Whether or not to separate twins in school is certainly a hot issue. There are a number of arguments both for and against it."

Tomlin, author of the forthcoming Chaos 2 Calm: The Moms of Multiples Guide to an Organized Family, and mother of identical twin daughters, maintains that there are definite benefits to keeping twins and multiples together: "There is something incredibly bothersome about forcing twins to separate. Starting school can be traumatic enough, but to force twins to separate when they've spent their whole life together could certainly add to the trauma. It's extra difficult for twins. As if the separation from a guardian, parent, or caregiver isn't enough, being separated from the other twin can only compound the stress."

However, Tomlin points out, "There are benefits to separating twins. As a mother of twins, I want to make sure my girls are given every chance to develop their own identities when they start school. They may look the same, but their personalities are quite different. Being separated in school could afford them the opportunity to develop their individual talents and skills."

In the end, Tomlin says, parents should be allowed to choose: "My feeling is that it should be left to the parents to decide. There's just no one-size-fits-all approach that works. All twins are different and each family is unique. Some parents may feel that their twins need to stay together, while some may feel that the twins would benefit from being separated. In my mind, this is clearly something that should be decided based on what's best for the children."

Regardless, says Tomlin, with multiple births on the rise, it's an issue that isn't going away any time soon.

Tonia Tomlin serves as district reporter for the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs (NMOTC), and is active within her local Mothers of Multiples Group. A sought-after media guest, Tomlin has been featured in numerous local, regional, and national media print and broadcast media outlets, including HGTV's "Mission Organization" program. Tomlin lives in Plano, Texas, with her husband, Rob, and their identical twin girls, Peyton and Sydney.

Chaos 2 Calm: The Moms-of-Multiples' Guide to an Organized Family will be available where better books are sold on September 1, 2008. Members of the news media wishing to request an advance review copy, or an interview, are asked to contact Maryglenn McCombs by phone - (615) 297-9875, or by email.

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