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If you have twins, do they go through struggles for dominance?


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We're usually a pretty peaceful family, but the fighting over (1) who sits on the toilet first, (2) who gets the pink piece of paper, and (3) who gets the purple shirt for their Dora doll.... is going to drive. me. crazy.

 

My husband says they are in a new struggle for dominance. Hannah is our "Tigger" child, but this week Mary (usually our "Eyeore" :lol:) is not taking a back seat. Is this the consequence of new toys -- thus, new "territory" -- after Christmas? My mother says my sister and I did this, and we were definitely NOT twins.

 

:willy_nilly::willy_nilly: I love them. I hate the fighting.

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Mine did some of that around age 3 - 4. They were boys, so maybe it makes some difference. But anytime I heard fighting, I separated them. I know a lot of mothers have a "hands off, unless I see blood" philosophy so that children learn to work it out. But I have a really limited ability to cope with arguing and negativity. I would tell them they had to be on their separate beds NOT talking for ten minutes, and then try to work it out. I refused to get involved in working such things out for them, but I did separate them. They were SO happy to be able to talk to each other again that they did figure out how to solve it.

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My solution was if they can't play nicely with a toy than the toy has to take a time out. It would be put into a box on top of the refrigerator. And quite often both girls would be standing in front of the fridge staring upward with the saddest of faces (enough that I had to rush out of the room not to burst into laughter at their expressions, lol). The toy could come back out when they were getting along again. It took a while of doing this before they got the hint....and often I only had to ask if the toy needed a time out before they'd stop the bickering and decide to work together. They're teens now, so the fights aren't over tangible things as much which makes it harder for the fridge time out, lol....but now I ask them if they need ME to resolve the problem....knowing full well they'll hate my resolution. (fight over the blue shirt, I'll wear it instead, lol....fight over who is supposed to be doing the dishes, you'll both do them AND extra chores I find or create, etc).

 

Some arguments I do let go....usually when it's more a debate about why one is correct and other isn't....intellectual arguments I'll leave them to it, or maybe even join in....but petty bickering I don't let go for very long because I can't stand to hear it, lol.

 

With twins you have to get a little more creative in resolving things, but I don't think your kids are doing anything unusual....just think outside the box to get them to work together or share more fairly, so that they can see that cooperation is a happier mommy so a happier home.

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My sisters argued over all sorts of things throughout childhood. Everything from petty stuff like you mentioned to clothes to friends...they would sometimes be vying for dominance, sometimes for keeping things "fair", and sometimes just trying to stake their own separate territories.

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Mine did some of that around age 3 - 4. They were boys, so maybe it makes some difference. But anytime I heard fighting, I separated them. I know a lot of mothers have a "hands off, unless I see blood" philosophy so that children learn to work it out. But I have a really limited ability to cope with arguing and negativity. I would tell them they had to be on their separate beds NOT talking for ten minutes, and then try to work it out. I refused to get involved in working such things out for them, but I did separate them. They were SO happy to be able to talk to each other again that they did figure out how to solve it.

 

YES! YES! Oh, you really do understand... Oh, I want to hug you. :grouphug:

 

That's what happens with the girls when I separate them. They are in the same room, no speaking allowed, on separate beds (if they're in "time out") OR they are in separate rooms -- as in, "You play with Toy-X in this room. You play with Toy-Z in that room."

 

When they come back together again, they either (1) hug and love on each other, :001_wub::001_wub: or (2) pick up the argument right where they left off...

 

:boxing_smiley:

 

This morning, they woke up at 7:15 and argued from before they were out of beduntil 11:15, when I completely exploded all over them. I'm so glad someone out there understands this. Thanks, I feel better now. :lol:

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My solution was if they can't play nicely with a toy than the toy has to take a time out. It would be put into a box on top of the refrigerator. And quite often both girls would be standing in front of the fridge staring upward with the saddest of faces (enough that I had to rush out of the room not to burst into laughter at their expressions, lol). The toy could come back out when they were getting along again. It took a while of doing this before they got the hint....and often I only had to ask if the toy needed a time out before they'd stop the bickering and decide to work together. They're teens now, so the fights aren't over tangible things as much which makes it harder for the fridge time out, lol....but now I ask them if they need ME to resolve the problem....knowing full well they'll hate my resolution. (fight over the blue shirt, I'll wear it instead, lol....fight over who is supposed to be doing the dishes, you'll both do them AND extra chores I find or create, etc).

 

Some arguments I do let go....usually when it's more a debate about why one is correct and other isn't....intellectual arguments I'll leave them to it, or maybe even join in....but petty bickering I don't let go for very long because I can't stand to hear it, lol.

 

With twins you have to get a little more creative in resolving things, but I don't think your kids are doing anything unusual....just think outside the box to get them to work together or share more fairly, so that they can see that cooperation is a happier mommy so a happier home.

 

I love this! I am taking notes. Thank you!

Edited by Sahamamama
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I'm definitely more in the hands off unless there's blood camp. But my twins aren't usually at each other's throats that often.

 

I agree that separate time can help. My boys certainly appreciate each other more if they get either separate time in some form or if they are in a large group instead of just each other. But I find it works a lot better if I can plan that into their day instead of waiting for a problem. In other words, being proactive instead of reactive.

 

In general, when they are at each other's throats, I'll step in as a mediator, but I try not to be too top down about it. They have their own special thing and I feel like all I can do is to guide that. Obviously, if it is really egregious - as in physical violence of any kind - then I'll immediately step in and separate them and hand down a pretty strong consequence. But negotiations gone awry is more like something where I'll just make suggestions for solutions or mediate hurt feelings. Half the time, I feel like I just stand there and say, "Listen to your brother!" I definitely feel like it's up to them to solve it in the end. But I also know not to let it get to me (or, if it is, to send them away to the basement playroom) and I'm lucky that my boys are usually very cooperative.

 

I've been reading the book One and the Same, which is about twins, so twin stuff is very much on my mind this week...

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My boys are 5.5 and I have one definitely more dominant than the other, but the other will only put up with so much. Since they are together most of their day (and night since they share a room), I also find that separating them for a time works at diffusing whatever the situation was that started it all. If they are fighting over a toy, what Wii game to play, etc., I will tell them they need to work out in xx number of minutes or the toy/game will be put away/turned off. They usually come to some sort of agreement about what to play or who gets a turn, etc.

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Mine are b/g so I think that may affect the dynamics. I did, around the ages of 3 to 4, see them compete for my attention in smaller ways. At around age 7, ds, who was not really passive but genuinely satisfied to take the quiet route, decided to find his own "voice" in the sibling mix (incl sis plus two yr older bro). That shook things up a bit at the time. They did constantly test me to see if I would apply the rules and consequences even handedly. That was exhausting!

 

Now at age 13, I joke that they are like an old married couple: they know each other probably better than anyone else in the world, they know exactly what buttons to push to aggravate each other when they feel the need to do so, and they truly have each others' back. They can fling all kinds of stuff at each other, but let anyone else try and there's a fight for you!

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My boys are not twins, but they are 18 months apart. This year there has been a constant struggle to be first, get the cool thing, do something better and so on. When they start to beat on one another they have to hold hands (it forces them to work together since each only has one hand). We do go over and over being kind and putting others first and so on, and I hope one day it will sink in, but for now we will keep reminding them. I just realized today that it has been more than a week since they really fought to be first or better than the other.

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Mine are b/g so I think that may affect the dynamics. I did, around the ages of 3 to 4, see them compete for my attention in smaller ways. At around age 7, ds, who was not really passive but genuinely satisfied to take the quiet route, decided to find his own "voice" in the sibling mix (incl sis plus two yr older bro). That shook things up a bit at the time. They did constantly test me to see if I would apply the rules and consequences even handedly. That was exhausting!

 

Now at age 13, I joke that they are like an old married couple: they know each other probably better than anyone else in the world, they know exactly what buttons to push to aggravate each other when they feel the need to do so, and they truly have each others' back. They can fling all kinds of stuff at each other, but let anyone else try and there's a fight for you!

 

Same here!!!! It is a unique dynamic with b/g twins. They are often very different in temperament and definitely very individual in interests (at least mine are). But boy... don't anyone dare mess with either of them or they will gang up on you.

 

In 3rd grade it was hilarious in school (they went to ps). They would fight and hit each other when they got mad (passing in hallway, at lunch/recess, PE, etc). It was like they were taking out their frustrations on each other although it was caused by others. Teachers were like "what the heck???". So finally I told them that if possible just keep them separated (they were in different classes anyway) and after a week of that the were done fighting at school-LOL. They didn't like not being allowed to even look at each other all day long.

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