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Here is a post on sibling rivalry solutions and how we got to be searching for them in the first place. However, have I written this post a couple of weeks ago, you would have been reading quite a different story. Literally.
Two weeks ago, my 30month old twins got along just fine. Shared toys. Comforted each other if one of them was crying. If I played with one, the other would happily busy himself/herself with another activity.
Ah, the good old days!
Back to the present. With a bang. The sort that gives you a headache, that is.
Wow, the amount of crying, whining, demanding, grabbing, fighting, made me think I must be either hallucinating or participating in someone else’s life. Honestly, I did not see this coming and don’t I like it.
I long for my lovely, calm, cooperating children to be back!
I’ve been thinking, what to do in order to fix this surprising situation; while praying for a miracle we might fly back in time when all was peaceful.
Well, judging by the amount of screaming coming out of the children’s bedroom right now, that obviously didn’t happen! (no matter how hard I stare at the two of them)
As I wrote and remembered the chain of events, in the last two weeks that might have contributed to the change of mood, one thing stood out: the twins had a cold the week before. Sore throats, runny noses – the works.
My little girl got sick first and a couple of days later her brother too. Since I am a stay at home mom, they get quite a lot of my attention, but when they are poorly, I, of course, try to keep them even more comfortable.
This, at the times like these, involves a lot of abiding by their orders: “Carry!”; “Carry more!”; “Carry me!”; “No, carry me!”…etc you get the gist… (and if you have twins or multiples yourself, you know exactly what I mean!)
Why is this significant?
Well, my son is more boisterous and demands more attention. My daughter, on the other hand, is super-independent and doesn’t cling to me throughout the day like he does. She likes the attention, but strictly on her terms and even though she doesn’t speak much, is very good at communicating her wishes.
That all changed the day she got her cold. All of a sudden she was very needy and would not let me put her down or leave her sight. I think this is very reasonable since she was feeling unwell and wanted comfort.
Her brother, not surprisingly, very much protested over this. Started acting up, even coughing when he so clearly didn’t need to (very cute!), dismissing his sister, which now, as I can see, has escalated into a full-blown sibling rivalry.
It doesn’t help, my daughter has now decided, she, too, should be doing things with mama, not just by herself, and is not prepared to share like she used to. I am actually happy for her because I’ve always felt she was missing out. Glad to see she now stands up to her taller and more assertive brother.
But, there is still only one of me, and I still only have two arms!
The Causes Of Sibling Rivalry
We could say, twins have a double reason for rivalry: there is another sibling (just like in a different age siblings families) and they might be feeling the competition, but the second reason I find, even more convincing – twins search for their own individuality.
Often in families with twins, there is a lot of comparison between the twins, yet, even though family members might remark and see how the two are different, they are still expected to do everything at the same time, the same place, with the same people. They go to the same kindergarten, same class at school, even play the same instrument.
Twin children need to be given the chance to express their individuality whenever possible. I feel, twins should not wear the same clothes, even though, I understand the logic and the logistics behind it. Maybe it’s easier for me to feel this way because I have a girl and a boy, so wearing the same clothes isn’t an issue.
Twins should also, be encouraged to have different groups friends. Now, this one is tricky if they attend the same kindergarten or school, but definitely worth a try. A bit of effort for a quite a bit of harmony in the house. Sounds like a good deal to me!
Twins, as any of us, like and need to feel their uniqueness, and not like two parts of one whole. As we go on commenting on the sameness or differences of a twin pair, we are comparing them to each other and invariably, talk like that is going to make one of them (or both) feel uneasy. Nobody longs to be compared to another person, no matter how close.
When (well-meaning, I’m sure) people do this to my twins, I either ignore the comments and change the subject or tell the person, I would prefer they wouldn’t talk about my children in that way.
I often get comments how my daughter is smaller than my son, and sometimes people openly challenge me and say they don’t believe me my children are twins! Usually, when I hear this I am stunned and at a loss of words as what to say!
If you have any witty/cool/sharp remarks I could arm myself and be ready for the next time this happens, please leave me a comment below. Thank you!
Sibling Rivalry Solutions
I’d say the No.1 thing that will improve the situation of the sibling rivalry is to value and treat our twins as individuals. Spending some alone time with each of the children has worked for us and improved our situation quite a bit.
Banish (if at all possible) any sort of competition. It’s just not useful in any way. Actually, I’m sure there is always some amount of competition in everything the children might do together, so I feel there is no need to add more.
I’ve tried the following with my twins in the last week and it has worked a treat: high praise for good and cooperative behavior! They love it and are even replicating it because they know, now, that’s what gets my attention.
At the same time I try, (oh how I try!) to stay calm and ignore their conflicts.
I don’t wish to become the constant referee between them. This one is a bit more difficult because my twins are only two and a half, so reasoning is not always possible (if ever! 🙂 ). However, with children ages 4 and upwards, this really does work.
While trying (if you need to) to resolve the conflict, it’s best to talk to the child who is behaving well and validate their feelings, offering some solutions for the ‘problem’ at hand. If possible, try to ignore the bad behavior of the other one, so attention is later sought by the good behavior.
It is worth remembering: any attention, even bad attention is still – attention!
Sibling Rivalry Solutions
1. Treat Twins as Individuals
2. Banish Competition
3. High Praise for Good Behaviour
4. In the Face of Conflict – Stay Calm
5. During Conflict, Direct Attention Towards the Child That Behaves Well
Sibling rivalry is, often, an unavoidable part of being a sibling. We might not always be able to stop the sibling rivalry, but we can definitely try to implement some of the sibling rivalry solutions outlined above. I have and I’m glad because my children seem to be more content and generally in the better mood.
Giving our children tools in dealing with sometimes complex emotions of being a twin, will help them appreciate themselves and each other more and treat each other with respect, kindness, and love.
Thank you for reading this post.
If you have any questions or topics you’d like me to write about, please do leave a comment in the comment section and I’d be more than happy to oblige!