My twin girls are five now. We adopted them at age 5 months. It has been an adventure. I have 6 other children, so I am not new to raising children. I am wondering if their behavior is something more than just "twin dynamics." Things are definitely different with twins than with singletons -- they play off of each other, etc. I understand that. I thought by this age I would be able to expect decent impulse control, but things really don't seem to be improving much. A little, but not much. I still have to lock things away, put them way out of reach, etc...just things like pens, pencils, markers....I have to always lock my computer screen, keep bedroom doors locked, etc. This is driving me crazy - I've never had to do this with my children. In case you'd like to advise keeping things out and available to them -- not locking doors and cupboards - to "empower" them and encourage development of self control, self esteem, etc. - I"ve tried that. It is a nightmare. They see things and they take them and usually misuse or ruin them. Coloring turns in to a free for all in very little time. They "seem" to understand when I talk with them about what they should and shouldn't do, what is kind and thoughtful and what isn't. After they destroy something (such as the gingerbread nativity that I just made, or tearing pages out of a book, etc.) I ask why they did it. The answer is "because we wanted to." I'm not sure where to go or what to do to figure out what is going on. I'm thinking this is more than just "twin" behavior. Any suggestions?
I think your gut is telling you something more than a twin issue is going on and I agree. My 5-year-old dd has been safe with markers since she was 2. And she would never just destroy something. Like with your previous children, I've never locked things up. And my twin boys who are 9 now were never destroyers either. Active, yes, but destroyers, no. And I didn't lock anything with them except the toilet (and I have no idea if that would have been an issue-- I did it before it was an issue and it never became one). I would start by talking to their ped about developmental milestones. Do you think they're on target for other milestones? Are they in pre-k or k? What do their teachers say? How about looking up a checklist for ADHD or ADD? Were the twins premies? Premies are much more likely to have ADHD.
It sounds frustrating, especially when compared to your other children. But I'm sure the sooner you deal with the issue and get some insight, the more quickly you'll be able to find some relief.
I also think it's worth following up on your gut feel & seeking an evaluation of your twins. My twins were crazy, destroyers who did things my singleton has never done and I'd be shocked if he did them, but by 5 they were much, much better. By 4 even. It sounds like more than twin dynamic to me.
I agree with pp. It is sounds way more than a "twin thing" Mine are what I call the destructive duo and for a long time we couldn't go to other people's houses (even neighbours) without me keeping a hawk like watch on them and that wasn't fun for me, so we landed up hosting a lot of playdates because of it. Books have been destroyed, pages patched back together, there is wrtting all over the walls and we had gates everywhere.
Now at 4, things have calmed down a little bit. D has completely outgrown it except for the occasional Picasso on the wall which is why they are only allowed to use crayons/felts supervised. R is still there a little bit, but he has at least curbed his destructive behaviour to his own things. Artwork coming home from school has to be put on a high shelf if I want it to last until DH comes home.
I suggest you absolutely follow your instincts and have them assessed. When I worked in the field of special ed I worked closely with the behavioural psychologist and this sounds like something that she would deal with.
Good luck, keep us posted!
: wife to James, MoM to R and D (Aug 2007) and E (Nov 2009) and Y (April 2012)