My older kids like one of my twins much better than the other - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 07-07-2007, 09:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Have any of you experienced this? Apparently, they think one is cuter than the other, so one of my boys (6yo) will say, "We like Colette; we don't like Cate." While he's toned down what he says (and he'll play with Cate sometimes too), my 3yo has formed the opinion (mostly from his brother, I think) that Colette is cute but Cate is an annoyance. Colette has a more docile temperament, which only endears her more to them. Cate can be fussier, but she loves to smile and play with them.

It breaks my heart to hear the boys say things like that (and though those statements are forbidden, my older one has found subtler ways of expressing his opinion such as making a point of saying something nice about/to Colette while ignoring Cate). I always try to make positive statements to help them connect with Cate, such as observing how much she likes them when she laughs in response to something they do. I really think this would be a non-issue if she weren't a twin--no one else to compare her to at the same time. Sigh.

Michelle G.
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#2 of 9 Old 07-07-2007, 10:56 PM
 
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Oh, man, that is tough!

I can't speak from experience, so maybe this response will be totally naive...
What would happen if you asked your children how they think Cate would feel if she knew what they were saying? And if you asked them how it might make them feel if they were in the same situation? Do they have some feelings about Cate that might be underlying the situation? You said she was fussier so is it possible that they see her getting more of your time and attention and might feel resentful?

I hope that you can find a way to help alleviate the situation. Good luck!
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#3 of 9 Old 07-08-2007, 02:23 AM
 
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I am so scared of this same thing. I had 4 older girls first and my last 3 have been boys. I know they love there brothers to death but they have been wanting a baby girl to dress up for a while now that my girls are older.
They were so so excited to hear that one of the twins was going to be a girl.
They told me boys are to wild and like to just mess up every thing.
I told them that they need to treat each one the same when they get here but we will see.
I am just praying that it will work out and they will just love both the same.
I will be watching this thread for idea's.
Shawnii
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#4 of 9 Old 07-08-2007, 03:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommymaemae View Post
What would happen if you asked your children how they think Cate would feel if she knew what they were saying? And if you asked them how it might make them feel if they were in the same situation?
I have asked them that several times, and though they said they wouldn't like it, it hasn't changed their behavior much. They'll usually stop saying unkind things at the moment, but in a week or so, an occasional comment returns.

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Do they have some feelings about Cate that might be underlying the situation? You said she was fussier so is it possible that they see her getting more of your time and attention and might feel resentful?
I don't think she gets a lot more of my time (she's usually a "squeaky wheel," but she's also more independent). I think a lot of it could be based in how absolutely calm and easygoing Colette is (she's also more of a cuddler than Cate). Colette's personality is a very endearing personality whereas Cate seems to be more of a go-getter. Cate is more likely to annoy or get annoyed by them, but she's also quite happy to laugh at them or try to play with them.

Xander did say something interesting this morning. He mentioned how my sister said that Cate had really pretty eyes, and he said it was mean of my sister to say so. Obviously, he was making a comparison in his mind to perceive that as mean. So now, I wonder if my attempts to compliment Cate (to build her up in their minds) is backfiring with him perceiving every positive thing about Cate as being a negative about Colette. I dunno.
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#5 of 9 Old 07-08-2007, 06:59 PM
 
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my girls went through that too when evie was going through her sensory issues. they preferred jackson. but now ts evened out since evie has become the mnost angelic happy little darling

also jack is our only boy so that intrigued the girls too. but now that evie reaches for them, they love playing with her lol

i hope your situation improves. i dont think its uncommon.
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#6 of 9 Old 07-08-2007, 07:02 PM
 
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ouch. I'm sorry.

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#7 of 9 Old 07-08-2007, 07:40 PM
 
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Do you think it would help the 6 year old if you explained that it's natural and that you understand that there's always going to be people that you "click" better with than others? That it's okay to feel that way, it doesn't mean you're a bad person, but as family members that means that you need to try harder to get to know Cate and keep an open mind for the things you do enjoy with her?

I actually very strongly disagree with the sentiment that we should tell siblings that they must love each other all the same. Or even that we treat them all the same. All sibling should be treated with kindness (or at least that should be the goal, I don't think anyone meets it 100 percent), and all should be allowed to play (You can't say "you can't play", ect.) during family time, but I think it's futile to insist that everyone's going to feel the same about everyone else. We just don't work that way. And that can stir up resentment/avoidance, if it's not even acknowledged, especially if a child is old enough to feel bad about not automatically feeling 'fair' towards both toddlers.

Have you helped the 6 year old put into words why he prefers Colette? You seem to have some good theories. You can even help him word why it's harder to connect with Cate. Ask him for ideas on how to connect differently with Cate. He might think that he has to do the same thing with both, and obviously that's not going to make anyone happy. I think we have to be careful in how we phrase things to older kids, who tend to misinterpret "as much as" and "fair" as "exactly the same". So that can be intimidating if you think that in order to love one of your sisters as much as the others it means you have to do the same things for the same amount of time with them--especially if they like different things or have very different personalities. You also may be taking different values from what your older child is saying than he means. Saying you don't like to be around someone as much does NOT mean that you don't love them, necessarily.

I know that's hard as a mom, I've been through that and occasionally still have to deal with it. But one of the things that has helped me is to back it up and make *sure* that *I* am understanding what is being said without imposing my own frame of reference/biases/baggage on it, and then to reassure my older child in particular that these feelings are normal, they're okay, give her tips/help her brainstorms on different actions that won't hurt her brothers' feelings, and to let her know that just because she enjoys any one person more than another doesn't mean she's not capable of loving them.

So I'd take a deep breath, try to separate emotionally from your fears about the situation a bit, and see if there isn't another way to look at things, or suggestions you can give.
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#8 of 9 Old 07-08-2007, 09:23 PM
 
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Our situation doesn't seem as extreme as yours, plus I only have one older child so she doesn't have anyone to influence or "team up" with. But my 4 year old has from time to time expressed a preference for one of the twins. Basically, he doesn't cry as loudly as his brother and he doesn't drool as much, either. And he is less, um--apt to plow things over, I guess. Anyway, I have just acknowledged the differences between her brothers and the parts of each personality she prefers. I also point out how her brothers love her when they try to imitate her or kiss her or play with her. I think that has probably helped the most (sounds like you're already doing that, though). And point out fun things that each of them do that dd likes. I don't think she cares for each of them in the same way, but truth be told I don't, either. Not that I prefer any one of them, but I do enjoy different things about each of my children, and have different challenges with each of them. How old are your girls? Chances are your "difficult" twin will have a turn at being the "easier" or "more likeable" twin at some point and your other children will probably find her more fun then. Maybe instead of forbidding them from saying they don't like Cate, you could help them express more precisely how they are feeling. Something like: I think Colette is cute; I like when Cate laughs at me. Good luck.
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#9 of 9 Old 07-09-2007, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The last few days have gone a little better. I've been trying to say nice things about both twins (at the same time). My 3yo DS started to play with both twins a lot yesterday. He is loving making them laugh--yay! Even my 6 yo DS is doing better. Crossing my fingers. . .
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