Dealing With Sibling Rivalry Among Twins
One minute my twins are best buddies and cant stay without each other and the next minute – they can’t stand each other and are fighting like cats and dogs. Well, sibling squabbles are common and in case of twins, they are inevitable. When I tell my mom how A&A fight, she always says- that’s how siblings are and reminds me of my fights with my sister.
It’s true the fights between any pair of siblings is normal, but with twins it goes on to a different tangent. Their conflicts arise for various reasons – dominance or independence or insecurity or even parental attention. And it becomes all the more difficult to handle as both the kids here are of the same age. So we can’t really expect one to act differently or understand the situation better. Also they spend the maximum time with each other and share almost everything – from room to school to even same friends. So they have to work hard to gain their privacy and identity.
As a parent it becomes a challenge to manage sibling rivalry. The constant crying, screaming, complaining sometimes takes a toll on me leaving me super frustrated. But then I console myself thinking like many other phases in life ‘this too shall pass’
I personally feel managing sibling rivalry not just requires immense patience but also a little creativity on part of parents to tackle various situations that look trivial to us but aren’t really for the kids. I won’t say I handle them perfectly, but I do try out few ways that sometimes help to resolve their squabbles and maintain peace in the house.
Sharing about them below:
Identify the cause
For every fight that happens, there is a cause. Kids don’t fight for no reasons. There is always an issue and it’s important to identify it. Are they fighting for space or toys or parental attention? Once that’s known, it’s easy to address their feelings and bring solutions. For young toddlers it’s even easier to know the reason as they often tell it themselves. A&A mostly fight when they don’t want to share a toy or when they want to watch different shows on television. So I try to find creative ways to stop them. We practice turn-taking, play counting games etc to make them give each other a chance.
It’s okay to argue but it’s not okay to physically hit each other. It’s important to set limits by clearly listing out the unacceptable behavior. Both me and my husband try to be sympathetic towards kids when they fight but there are certain things that aren’t allowed in any situation, physical aggression is one of them. We keep reiterating to them that hitting, beating, throwing or breaking things isn’t acceptable and no one would resort to that at any cost.
Intentionally or unintentionally we often end up comparing kids for their behavior. ‘ See how nicely your brother is playing? Why can’t you play like him?’. I am guilty. I used to say such things a lot initially without realizing the impact. When we pit kids against each other, it leads to tremendous feelings of jealousy or anger. And that further lead to fights and squabbles.
A&A also fight when one feels that the other is getting more attention. It often happens that when I appreciate one, the other becomes sad and takes his vent out on his /her sibling. At this age, they both want to be appreciated and praised. So I try to be equal when it comes to praises. If I have to praise one of them, I do that individually not in the presence of the other. Me and my husband also try to spend some one-on-one time with each kid, so that no one feels neglected or insecure in this regard.
Reward For Good Behavior
Many parents dont believe in the system of rewards but I personally feel they work as a great motivation. Ofcourse the reward has to be thoughtful and given in moderation. Everytime A&A cooperate or share toys or play peacefully, I encourage their compatible behaviour and try to reward them – be it via stickers or a simple hug.
Nourish The Twin Bond
I often keep telling A&A how blessed they are to have a twin brother/sister. Unlike other siblings they have been together since birth and so their bond is special. My husband and I sometimes play some fun family games that involves them to work as a team to complete a task. We encourage various bonding exercises too, simple ones like hugging each other before bedtime, helping each other when one isn’t well etc. All this surely brings a huge difference.
Did you find this post helpful? If you are a mom of twins or even a mom of two, how do you mange sibling rivalry between kids? Share in the comments below.