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Families say Big Brother twins are double trouble

Big Brother's Samanda have re-ignited a debate over twins being treated as individuals, says a UK charity for families with multiple birth children.

The identical 19-year-olds from Stoke say they have never spent more than a week apart and reportedly have a 'secret pact' that they'll leave the house together.

But Tamba (www.tamba.org.uk) (The Twins and Multiple Births Association) say that the way the girls are being shown on Big Brother has been seen as "damaging" by some parents - while others insist they're just having fun.

Tamba director Helen Forbes said: "Our office and online message boards are buzzing with a discussion about the girls being seen as a unit rather than two individuals.

"These are parents of identical twin girls for whom the very notion of identical mini skirts and hair styles, not to mention same sounding names, spell twin-parental failure.

"Where is the girls' individuality? Can they operate individually or are they destined to go through life as a pair? They gleefully played up to the Big Brother cameras on the first night by declaring 'If there's only one fit boy in the house we'll share him, definitely!'

Tamba (www.tamba.org.uk) strongly recommends encouraging individuality in twins, particularly identical twins.

"We would discourage parents from choosing names like Kate and Kelly, Kyle and Kieran because for extended family, teachers and peers it can only add to the potential identity crisis.

"While the organisation bases its guidance on a strong body of twin research and nearly 30 years of parents' experiences, there is of course a need for balance and a right for adult twins to make up their own minds, as Sam and Amanda have done.

"A lot of effort has gone into raising awareness over recent years that twins are individuals and the way these girls are being shown is making some parents feel uneasy."

Linda Jones, of Cheslyn Hay, Staffordshire, mum to twins Emily and Melissa, aged eight, and editor of a blog for families with twins and more (www.gotyourhandsfull.com) said a poll showed that 66 per cent of respondents found Samanda "annoying."
She said some mums have got in touch and used quite strong language, after 101 votes were cast.
"One mother told me she was disgusted with Big Brother and this was because she said she firmly believed that twins and multiples should be treated as individuals not as some kind of 'freak show'," explained Linda.

She added: "Her feeling was that Sam and Amanda were very nice girls but the way they were coming across could be seen as 'damaging' for twins and multiple birth families."

"She told me it could send out the wrong message to parents and carers as she believed. Twins should always be treated as individual people, we should encourage people to respect and celebrate difference in twins."

But Linda added that 28 per cent of respondents said that Sam and Amanda were having fun - and good luck to them!

"My own view is that Sam and Amanda are brilliant housemates as they are good fun and their heart is in the right place - but I can appreciate the point of view about how twins shouldn't have to be seen as a unit, rather than individuals - this drives me nuts if it applies to my daughters."

* July 1-7 is Tamba's annual Twins, Triplets & More Week, where groups across the country celebrate the special bond twins share.

* For more information, please contact Helen Forbes on 0870 770 3305 or Linda Jones on 01543 468621 (w) 01922 415537 (h).

Log on to www.tamba.org.uk to find out more about the charity.

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