I have five and a half year old twin boys and I am at the point where I actively dread the weekends and school vacations because all my boys do is fight. We try to build with Legos, it's a fight. We play Candyland, it's a fight. I set up paper bags and we toss balls into them, it's a fight. All I hear, all day long, "That's not fair, stop that, you can't do that." I am at my wits end. Seriously, I could throw up thinking about the week ahead of me. I'm tired of having to separate them every weekend because they can't play, but I'm home alone with them on school holidays and vacations and I can't take it anymore. Please, any tips on how to get them past this?
by marisabFebruary 19, 2013 at 2:56 PM
I have 3 kids that are all pretty close in age (7, 5, 3). They were arguing a LOT and fighting. When they do that, we turn off the TV, take away all electronics, and give them something productive to do like cleaning their rooms or something to that effect. They then get that weird energy out, and go back to being civilized. If it gets worse as they get older, we'll get a "get along" tshirt that the offending parties have to wear together until they get along.
There are a variety of ways to deal with this... and no "one" way will work all the time. Try one, then try something else. But first, how bad are the fights? Do they really hate each other? Are they drawing blood? Or are the constant squabbles just annoying to you? Are they ever loving, the way twins are portrayed? Or do they resent each other?
I do not recommend separating them. They need to learn to get along together. They should share a bedroom, and have to learn how to get along. A punishment might be to send them to their bedroom for a couple of hours, until they can be nice to each other, then let them back out to try again. They will have to learn to get along WITHOUT your interference, which will help them develop the social skills to get along in life. If they cannot learn compromise, sharing, and consideration, they will never manage to share a dorm room in college, or a house with a wife.
You can help them to build separate identities. If one takes violin lessons, have the other take cello lessons. They could both be in Suzuki music at the same time, but not on the same instrument. If they are in cub scouts together, (a great idea!) they can learn social skills from the scout troop and leader, but can be in separate activities, or work on separate badges. IF they both want to play soccer, can they be on separate teams? Don't try to have them do EVERYTHING separately, because you'll be doubling up on driving and driving yourself insane, but let them each have one thing they do without their twin.
Sit them down and talk to them. Let them know that their constant fighting really upsets you, and you are at your wits end. Let them help you come up with rules and consequences. They can be quite original. Write down the rules and consequences. Let them disagree - but they must use inside voices. IF they are going to disagree loudly, then they will have to go outside to settle it, where they can use their outside voices. You will NEVER mediate in their fights again. Period.
If they hit, they will be disciplined for hitting. If they fight over a video game, they BOTH lose the priviledge of playing video games for a week. If they fight at dinner time, they can BOTH miss the rest of their dinner. It will not hurt them to go to bed hungry once in a while. They can learn to get along. I grew up in one of five children, all about two years apart, and we were often bickering. We learned to keep it quiet. If mom heard us arguing, we had to do housework. Her favorite chore was to give us buckets of soapy water and make us wash the walls! We washed the car, the floor, our toys - and if we made a mess washing, we cleaned up the mess, too. My brothers are 59 and 61, and guess what? They still argue, and they are still best frenemies. They play piano duets together, they call each other on the phone, and they still disagree! But they are devoted to one another, as well.
You can also create a "star chart". For each day that they do not let their bickering escalate, they get a star. At the end of the week, they have "earned" the right for a special treat, or trip, or outing... or not. The motivation has to be worth it, but not break the budget. Perhaps a trip to Chuck E Cheese, or a movie, or having a friend over to play, or the Children's museum, or a trip to a swimming pool or bounceland.
LOL I have twin sons too but they are all grown now. If I ever got sick of the nonsense I would put them to work but in different rooms. My boys were always involved in sports and that is a good way to wear them out so to speak. They would fight to but let someone else mess with either one and they'd BOTH turn on whoever it was. Remember they are twins and will always share a connection their whole life. Keep them busy is what I will suggest to help you through.
by MAmomoftwoFebruary 20, 2013 at 6:13 AM
Thanks for all the suggestions! They do share a room and it is just regular twin stuff, and I do play with them to guide them in the rules and appropriate play, which is what makes it so frustrating! We did some separate activities, which gave me some peace, and some together games, which went more nicely. I am going to look into the Sibling Rivalry book, too, though. Thank you everyone!
by LindaClementFebruary 20, 2013 at 2:44 PM
I think that what might help is a read-through of How to Talk So Kid Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk. It's a fast read, and the information is great.
by nicoleg806February 23, 2013 at 2:13 PM
That works I use this with my children when they fight. Sometimes they are holding each other and start laughing and make up but for the most part the fighting calms because they don't want to take time out of their "playtime" to hug lol
I'm the oldest of 5 and when we would fight my mom would make us sit on the couch and hug, it was horrible,lol.