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How Parents Can Limit Fighting Between Twins

Twins bring joy and a sense of specialness to a family. Still even with the special rewards that twins create, raising twins is hard and frustrating. Sometimes parents feel overwhelmed, hopeless and confused. Well-meaning and attuned parents wonder, How can I help my children stop fighting with each other? When will my twins enjoy each other?
Parents who want to raise healthy twins strive to build independent and loving interactions. One key to successfully raising twins to be individuals and trusted friends is to understand why and what they are fighting about. Understanding twin fighting behaviors is not easy to do. Rather, understanding your twin children’s conflicts will be a lifelong challenge with unexpected twists and turns if you’re honest with yourself.

Here is an important piece of understanding and insight. Twins fight more intensely than single-born children because they see themselves in one another. For example, if your twin brother is fat, you see yourself in him and feel fat. You hate to be fat and are enraged with your brother for making you ashamed of yourself. Or you judge that your twin sister is falling in love with a loser. You feel that she is also a part of you and both of you deserve more. Serious and deeply contentious fights ensue about who is right and who is not. And really in these arguments there are no right answers, just opinions.

Twin inter-identification, which is a part of twin bonding, creates more expectations, disappointments, anger, and fighting. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to dealing with enmeshment and competition that leads to fighting. Understanding that there is no recipe that will help you achieve some harmony between twins is critical. Some developmental experts will suggest the right times and kinds of separation and the amount of sharing that is good for twins.  But each set of twins is different; some twins will have difficulty being separated in school. When twins struggle with separation, parents need to handle separation carefully rather than arbitrarily. In other words, have a goal for separation and work toward it instead of imposing it on the twins before they are ready. Separation experiences limit fighting and competition.

There are strategies that should be followed and crafted to your twin children’s needs.
      1.  See each of your twins as an individual as well as a twin.
      2.  Develop a unique relationship with each child based of their interests and their strengths and challenges. See the differences in your children.
      3.  Respect the twin bond but do not let it take over home life and lead to double trouble.
      4.  Make sure that your children’s speech develops adequately. Twins need to talk to other children and adults who are not their twins.
      5.  Give each child their own toys and help them to develop separate friendships.
      6.  Do not discipline your children as a pair. Consequences for each twin are important and will help them be more accountable to parents.
      7.  Talk to your children about how proud you are of them as individuals.
      8.  Do not make their twinship a celebrity event.

Posted on Monday, July 31, 2017 at 05:35PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

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