If you found it hard to handle your twins when they were born, then maybe you didn’t think about their preschool years. As your twins will grow, you will get tired of running after them. Managing twins is a challenging task and this challenge doubles when the twins fight with each other all the time. If you do not take action in time, their fights will get worse with time.
Why Do Twins Usually Fight
Just like all other siblings, twins fight too and quite often. These fights begin when they are toddlers; they fight for small issues like being pushed or not being given a favourite toy to play etc. Their mode of fighting could be different. Hitting, biting, pulling each other’s hair, scratching each other’s arms and finally crying. This phase of fighting is completely normal and is a part of their growing up phase when they learn to negotiate with each other. This phase of twins sibling rivalry which helps them to explore and form their own identity will pass as time goes by.
How to Handle Rivalry and Fighting Between Twins
Although twin rivalry isn’t a huge worry initially, parents should be able to handle it and ensure that it does not affect their relationship in any manner. The following time-tested and proven techniques will help you manage and regain peace in the house:
1. Acknowledge Both of Them
Whenever you see a fight in progress, you instantly jump in between to discipline your twins. To be fair to them, give them the chance to speak. First, assign the role of a perpetrator to one kid, while the other one becomes the victim. Later, reverse the roles. In this way, both the children will get the chance to keep their point and then you can decide. When you are handling twins, it is important to be fair to them. Favouring one child always will make the other one feel bad and his bad behaviour may aggravate. Hence, it is important to acknowledge them and to make them realise their mistake.
2. Be Consistent
Inconsistency with rules, like making rules one day and breaking them the next day is often the cause of sibling rivalry. So, it is your responsibility to ensure that rules are followed by your twins. Explain them why their behaviour isn’t right and give reasons for the same. Being inconsistent with rules will confuse them and they won’t understand the difference between right and wrong. Also, rules should be the same for both the children.
3. Step Out of the Home
One of the best ways to deal with fights between twins (or all children for that matter) is to get out of the home. If you are worried that this will expose the fights to the outside world, bear it for a while. Once you get out and step into a new environment, it will calm them and do wonders for their bad mood. Maybe they have stayed indoors for too long and need to burn off that excess energy. Simply taking a walk in the neighbourhood or moving to a different room can make a difference.
4. Keep the Twins Apart for a While
Twins tend to study and play together a lot whether in playschool or with their common friends. Home is no different and thus they spend the better part of the day getting on each other’s nerves. If you have tried everything to no end, then you better keep them apart. If one is outside for a while, the other child will have no one to fight with and hence there will be a peaceful environment in your home. Also as the old proverb goes “Distance makes the heart grow fonder”, so separating them may make them miss each other and you never know they may stop fighting.
5. Keep Calm
If you want to stop your twins from fighting, stop shouting. If you shout or yell at them, they may imitate you to get on your nerves. So, try the other way. Take a few deep breaths or listen to some music. Get out of the room where they are fighting and let them figure out how they will solve their problems. Maintain your calm; you will become a role model for your kids and they will learn to manage their feelings and emotions by observing you.
6. Give Individual Attention
A potent method of preventing a majority of disagreements and fights is to give the twins equal individual attention. You can spend time solving a puzzle or reading a book together, in fact, do anything that equates to “special time” for them. One-on-one time is always recommended to make them feel loved as an individual which improves their relationship as twins.
Try to create a win-win situation for your twins in every activity that they choose to do together. This can work wonders in maintaining peace between them for a large part of the day. Allow one to choose which game to play first but then he has to agree to play to the game selected by the other twin. Encourage them to take turns with everything they do and guide them gently towards a winning conclusion.
8. Warn Them
As parents, it is your responsibility to teach your twins to solve the conflicts on their own. Most twins will want to play together which is bound to lead to a conflict at some point and being kids, they won’t be able to solve it themselves. Warn them that if you have to intervene the next time, they will have to spend an hour playing or doing things on their own. This changes their behaviour and reduces fights.
9. Teach Cause & Effect
At a very young age, children rarely understand the effect of actions like biting and shoving each other has. Make a sad face and say, “Oh! That really hurt” when one of them shoves or bites the other. Push the child’s arm gently against his teeth to show that biting hurts a lot or mimic the action with your mouth.
10. Eliminate Triggers
Look for things that could trigger a nasty fight between the two. As parents, you will be aware of the toys or games or books that could act as potential triggers so ensure they are never left alone with them. Twins also tend to fight when they are tired, so stick around when you think that’s about to happen. This makes life easier for all.
Aggression is a natural unwanted behaviour in twins when they are toddlers. However, kids learn quickly that parents do not approve of such behaviour and understand the reaction to negative situations. By staying calm and consistent during such a situation, you can help minimise the fighting between twin children and establish some peace in your home.