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My twins hate each other

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Okay, they're probably too young to hate yet :) but daily there are several "fights", sometimes one-way and sometimes the "victim" attacks back.  They're 22 months old and never play together (which is fine, I know they're still young).  But it's so frustrating to constantly be breaking up these attacks.  I think they're too young to work it out on their own, and of course I can't just let one hurt the other.  It's usually one-sided, DD2 for no reason goes and pulls her sister's hair or pushes her or hits her on the head with a toy (hard).  She also has to have everything her sister has - ie, whatever toy or book she's looking at, she has to go and take away from her.  DD1 will sometimes hit back or try to bite DD2, but always as a response to having her toy/book taken from her.


Anyone have any encouraging words for me?  Did your twins fight a lot when younger but then play together later?  I can't get anything done for fear of leaving them out of my sight b/c DD2 really does go and just attack her sister for no reason, without any sort of provocation at all, and she can hurt her badly.  Time-out has been ineffective (they think it's fun) and ignoring doesn't seem to make any difference either b/c I still have to go and make the offender stop hurting her sister.  It's so frustrating hearing all my friends who now have their second child (so a toddler and an infant) say to me how lucky I am that now my kids play together or at least can play independently...right.


Are my kids normal?? What am I doing wrong?  Thoughts on how to minimize the attacks, esp the random for no reason attacks of DD2 to DD1?  Ideas on how to respond to them?  I do think she may have some jealousy b/c DD1 has a serious health condition so for months at a time I was taking her to the hospital almost daily.  And b/c they're poor sleepers, DH and I eventually went to a divide and conquer strategy, he sleeps with DD2 b/c she doesn't wake as often and I sleep with DD1 b/c she still gets up at least every two hours.  So I feel guilty about the extra mommy time DD1 gets but don't know what to do to make it up for her sister, and I wonder if this is fueling DD2's behavior and what to do about it. 


This has been going on for more than 6 months but I've been too exhausted/overwhelmed to get on here and write up a post.


Thanks in advance for any advice :)


post #2 of 14

I have a suggestion for you. Does DD1 play quietly and nicely by herself when she is not being bothered? If she is, then why don't you take DD2 along with you when you are doing your chores around the house? If you are doing dishes, she can stand on a stool next to the sink and "help" or fold laundry with you, help you hold the vaccuum, those sorts of things. Seems to me that she seems to think that the only attention she gets from you is when she does something to make her sister cry. Maybe if you give her some more positive attention these attacks may stop being so frequent. Could you give DH a bottle and switch off nights who you sleep with? That could help too. We also took a divide and conquer approach and I found that it helped when we switched off who we were "responsible" for. My twins also attack each other (one more than the other) and they are what I call "freinemies" best friends worst enemies. I think that if you give her some of your alone time and some positive attention and reinforcement, over a short period this behavior should improve. Good luck.

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks Shuli, it's a good idea.  Unfortunately, while DD1 can play quietly if she's not being attacked, she's super attached to me and won't let me out of her sight/touching distance, so I couldn't really did it the way you suggested, but I have been telling DH we need to spend one on one time with the girls, and this might be the way to do it.  DD1 is so attached to me she won't stay with anyone else except one of my sister in laws, but if one of them is here, both girls want to play with them (since it's a treat for their aunts to come over), so it's not like one would want to be with me at that time anyway.  I'll work with DH to try some more one on one time, and I'll try harder to actively give her more attention throughout the day (I think I am, but I'll try to up it a bit).


Thanks for the suggestion Shuli...does it get better with time?  It's frustrating/depressing for me to have to deal with this after all the exhaustion.


As for the nighttime, we're nightweaning now, so hopefully it won't be an issue anymore.  They never took bottles, so we can't really switch off or anything.

post #4 of 14

My twins are going to turn 8 in June, so perhaps I have a longer range perspective here.


First thing, I think that you will do yourself (and your girls) a HUGE HUGE favor if you let go of any "twin" or even "sibling" fantasies you may have about what it "should" look like.  It is hard sometimes.  My boys are MZ, so people were constantly asking about their supernatural bond or how they must just love each other and cooperate and all that other BS.  Uh...huh.  When my boys were toddlers, they were toddlers.  Toddlers want what everyone else has.  Dominant ones may even be willing to attack to get it.  In a pinch, any toddler might bite, shove, clobber, hairpull, spit, kick, throw.  It's the nature of the beast.  A toddler who happens to be a twin is not exempt from being a toddler.


If you are (unfortunately) in a group of mostly first time moms going into round two you may indeed have to suffer people saying (arrogantly) "Oh MY.  MY kids would NEVER do that because *I* am parenting RIGHT."  Ignore them.  They're full of crap, and you may bear witness to them eating it later (though hey, life is not always fair).  The fact that you have two toddlers acting like two toddlers doesn't mean you've done anything "wrong."  You need to learn to let that go.


That being said, yes, one on one time is important if you can swing it, even if it's not always easy or comfortable for you.  Your DH (IMO) should get one on one time as well, even if it's just 15 minutes at a time at first.  As they get older, and absorb more of your messages about appropriate social behavior and conflict resolution, but to some extent you will never get to put away your referee jersy forever. :)


Now at almost-8 my boys are bestest friends.  They sometimes finish each other's sentances.  They comfort each other.  They stand up to bullies for each other.  They cheer each other on.  They also fight like best friends (my favorite is when one called the other ugly, considering they are identical twins who do indeed look a great deal like each other) who are 7. They get on each others' nerves.  They squabble.  They whine, they worry about who got something "Better" or "more", ect.  In other words, they are 7 year olds.  :)  There are just two of them.


We do have to do some special things (I try to have at least ONE activity that they do separately from each other, or put them on different teams).  I have to be an advocate for each child individually but also that they do not get discriminated against or given special preferences because of their twinship.  But most of the time, the parenting I have to do is like what you'd have to do with any siblings--creating a safe home environment where we can disagree without being vicious, ect.


You are going to want to throw something at me for saying this but--toddlerdom passes so, so quickly.  You hopefully won't always have a problem with spur of the moment hairpulling, ect, but you'll still have to help siblings with their relationship with each other, and it won't be too long probably before your girls find out the benefits of having a twin and start making the most of it (you might not like some parts of that, actually).


So in short, don't waste your time on wondering what you coulda/shoulda/woulda done to "prevent" normal behavior--it's a waste and your kids need (and deserve) your attention on the present.  We had good success with 3-2-1 Magic and Playful parenting techniques (and the How to Talk so your Kids will LIsten book when they got older) but that was just my brood!  You might need to try different thing and that is *okay*.  It's also okay to feel frustrated and like throwing in the towel sometimes, most parents do no matter how many kids (and in what spacing) they have, at some point!

post #5 of 14

My triplets fought a lot between 18 months and about 30 months, and there was 6 months in there where a day without a bite never happened. I couldn't leave any 2 of them together without being in the room with them.  Nothing got done.  We survived.


Somewhere around 3, they started playing together a lot more.  Now, at almost 4, they play incredibly well. There are still fights and tantrums, but there are also hours in a row of fun times just playing with each other.

post #6 of 14

My twins fought all the time as toddlers, too.  And like hergrace's, mine bit each other too.  My singleton has never ever ever bitten another child and has no where near the level of aggression they had toward each other.  I also found it very disturbing and felt like I did not much more than break up fights for the longest time.  Two to 2-1/2 were the hardest months of my life with them.  But as they got closer to 3 it got easier and easier. A twim mama told me that it got easier for her as her kids were able to engage in true pretend play with each other, and that was certainly also true in our case.  Now at close to 6 they are best friends and do not fight very often.  In fact, people at their school frequently comment on how well they get along and how kindly all 3 of my kids treat each other.  I think it's more typical than not for toddler twins to fight.


Hugs for you mama!  It will get better with time.

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thank you mamas!  That is very encouraging...actually, that's really all I wanted to hear, that just b/c they're fighting now doesn't mean it'll last forever :)  It's just frustrating b/c most of my friends are at the singleton toddler plus new infant stage and keep commenting how their toddler loves the baby, blah blah blah, and it's so annoying b/c no one here loves each other too much at present. :)


We have a lot of biting here too, I guess I forgot to mention it...DD1 bites or tries to bite DD2 when she takes her toy/book/gets into her space.  What's good is that she doesn't just do it for no reason, whereas much of the time DD2's behavior seems to be completely out of the blue.


Thanks for reassurance everyone...and I know it'll be over before we know it, it's so hard to believe they're already almost 2!

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

This caught my eye when I went to update my sig, and I had to reply to thank everyone who encouraged me through a rough time. Probably within six months of my post (about age 2.5) things had already changed so much. My girls play together so much of the day now. Yes there are still fights and disagreements and one taking the other's things (one-sided as before), but much less than before. They make up elaborate scenarios and engage in pretend play with each other throughout the day. Much more laughter and giggles, much less crying and whining. To anyone else struggling with this, hope this gives you hope!  And thanks again to those of you who took the time to reply to my original post. 

post #9 of 14

I am entering the twin toddlerhood with my girls who are 16 mths.  I deluded myself into believing that once we got past the one year mark then things would just get a whole lot better.  Then I realized the toddler years were ahead and got a reality check.  I have 6 other kids, so I should been more aware.  Anywho, thanks you to those who replied with some perspective in their posts, it was a much needed reminder.  I may be bald by the time they are 4 or so, but at least I can stop (mostly) beating myself over their behavior!

post #10 of 14

this is a bit scary to read i have to say. specially since we were just feeling pretty good about having a 3rd child now that my twins are soon to be turning 1, i was aiming for a 2 year spacing. but to hear that 2-2.5 was so often the hardest time, I'm a bit fretting


post #11 of 14

Adorkable, I'm not anywhere near ready to try for a third, but I've similarly been given pause. No longer feeling like a two year gap is going to be okay...

post #12 of 14

since DH & I started having babies in 2000, I've had one every two years, up until 2010 when the twins came.  I love a 2 yr spacing.  HOWEVER, with twins this time around I am so thankful DH got the V.  I cannot imagine going thru a pg and all right now!!!

post #13 of 14
Oh mighty queen,
Knowing what you know, if the twins were your first two rather than your last two, would you still have done two year spacing? We are thinking of maybe having 4 and im getting a bit long in the tooth.
post #14 of 14
Originally Posted by ~Adorkable~ View Post

Oh mighty queen,
Knowing what you know, if the twins were your first two rather than your last two, would you still have done two year spacing? We are thinking of maybe having 4 and im getting a bit long in the tooth.

Okay, maybe I should change my screen name, I am a bit embarrassed....


Hmmmm, well, if I had the twins first, it *might* be a case of this is all I know, so having just one baby (assuming you have a singleton the next go round) would seem a piece of cake.  But I think it's the logistics that get me.  When you have two and only two hands, it makes it really hard to do for a third, when they are so young.  Esp. when that 3rd babe REALLY needs you, and you can't put them off for a bit like an older child.  2 year olds can't do much for themselves, but 3/4 yo can, so I *think* it would make it a lot easier if you could wait. Plus there's maturity issues too that are a bit sitcky for 2 yo concerning new sibs. 

HOWEVER, with the clock ticking and your desire to enlarge your family, I would say that you should probably go for it.  You will find a way to make it work.  I never planned for help when I've had a new baby, but with the twins (as you know) it was so necessary.  If you do get pg again, it would probably be good idea to plan for help with the twins at least.  The new baby will probably be a snap relatively speaking.

I also need to add, the spacing was not planned on my part.  I just received my gifts as they came, but I really do think it's perfect spacing.  Considering needs and whatnot for twins really changes things, doesn't it?

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