Sibling rivalry between twins is difficult for the both the parents and the children. Sometimes they are best friends and other times they are at each other’s throats. As a mother of 4-year-old twins, I experience both of these situations on a daily basis. My heart melts when I see them snuggling on the couch in their pajamas, but my patience is tested when they begin to argue over such seemingly insignificant things. Sibling rivalry between twins is different, because they have had to share since birth. Here are a few tips to help cope with this rivalry:
1. Call Them by Name
It’s so easy to say “Boys!” when I’m calling my twins to come do something. I also find myself and others referring to them as “the twins”. I’ve learned it helps to call my twins by name. Calling them by name makes them feel like they are needed as individuals. I also make sure to say, “I love you Andy” and “I love you Jr.” so they know I love each of them and I’m not just throwing an “I love you” out there.
2. Give Each Child Opportunities
Whenever I ask one of my twins to do something for me the other wants to help as well. Always plan to have a second task available. We have an 8-week-old son, so whenever I ask one to bring me a diaper, I ask the other to bring me the wipes.
3. Buy Two
If you are a parent living on any type of budget, it is difficult to buy two of everything. Some items just have to be shared if you plan to avoid bankruptcy. Whenever possible my husband and I try to buy each twin their own item. For Christmas we are getting them a battle arena to share, but they are each getting their own popular motorized hamster and armor.
4. Spend Alone Time
One of my parenting goals for the New Year is to go on Mommy/Son dates. When each child feels they are receiving plenty of attention, they are less likely to act out or fight with each other for your attention. It also helps them to think in the mindset of “me” instead of “us”.
5. Praise Individual Traits
Whether or not your twins are identical, it’s a common assumption twins have identical personalities. This couldn’t be further from the truth. My boys are different in so many ways. Whenever I see something unique about them I praise them for it. They need to know for themselves what makes “me” me and what makes “brother” brother.