Is this a twin thing ? - advice for a singleton mom - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 06-02-2008, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a friend who has 6 yo b/g twins, and they are...well, a real handful.

Our families used to get together for dinner quite often, but the level of destruction these kids wreak is now beyond what I am willing to tolerate. This weekend, they threw handfuls of wet, slimy gravel all over our bed and ripped pages out of some of my dd's fave books.

This is typical for the twins, too.

Even though they are six, they must be supervised like 2 yo's - or they destroy a room - everything pulled off the shelves, the whole place just torn up.

My dh has now banned the twins from coming to our house after the rocks in the bed incident.

Is this just what 6 yo twins are like? Should I tell the mother that her kids have been banned from our house? Will they get better as they get older?

I worry for my friend. These children are destructive forces like no other children I have ever known.
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#2 of 24 Old 06-02-2008, 05:06 PM
 
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My nephews are 6 year old twins and they are energetic but very well behaved boys.

Its not a twin thing...
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#3 of 24 Old 06-02-2008, 05:15 PM
 
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I know that my young twin toddlers can be a handful, but at 6 I'm not sure it's a normal twin thing anymore.

The one thing that DOES come to mind, though-- were they preemies? Is it possible that perhaps developmental delays from being born too early are causing some of the behavioral issues?

Wife of one and mom of five, including my HBAC twins!
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#4 of 24 Old 06-02-2008, 05:17 PM
 
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please God I hope not. My twin girls are 4 months (adjusted). PLEASE GOD HAVE MERCY ON ME THEY WON'T BE LIKE THAT!

Melanie, vegan mommy to twin girls born Dec. 2007, and another little girl born Sept. 25th, 2009!
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#5 of 24 Old 06-02-2008, 05:26 PM
 
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My 3 year old twins are a handful, but they are no where near as destructive as your friend's kids. That sounds pretty extreme to me. Tearing a book is out of line, but somewhat understandable, but the gravel thing is so beyond acceptable.

If my twins were inclined to behave like that, I would not want to bring them to other people's homes. Your friend must be very upset. I personally would tell her that you love her and love her kids, but you are not able to have them back in your home. She should understand; I don't know anyone who wants gravel in their bed.

SAHM to F & P, : fraternal twins born 3/05, : I, born 12/07 & at 5 weeks in July 2009
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#6 of 24 Old 06-02-2008, 05:30 PM
 
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My 2.5 year old twins are...well, they're 2.5! They get into mischief, and sometimes goad each other on. However, the level of destruction you describe goes beyond what they do. I agree with the pp in wondering whether they might be preemies, or have other delays.

Trying to get my bearings...
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#7 of 24 Old 06-02-2008, 09:20 PM
 
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My twins are still tiny, but that would not be acceptable to me. Being twins is not an excuse to behave so poorly! Nor is it an excuse to allow them to be so destructive. I wouldn't want them in my house either. I agree with a PP, could there be something else going on there? A delay? That sounds on par with 2-3 year olds but not at 6.
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#8 of 24 Old 06-03-2008, 06:21 AM
 
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Also, see what you can do in terms of supporting/ encouraging her to make some changes. If she is going to continue to be a single mum ( who would want to go into a partnership with that kind of behaviour in the house?!) then she needs to get a grip on it NOW before they get bigger and she can no longer move them/ deal with them physically.

I have a book on raising boys as a single mum, but forget the title - will try and post it in the next few days, but I also think it sounds like she would benefit from the Faber Mazlish parenting series/ seeing someone for special help ( ADHD type issues?). It's one thing if they just play up every now and then, but another if this is their norm day in day out - *SHE* MUST BE EXHAUSTED!!!

Has school/ playgroup picked up on anything (if they attend)?
Can you explore triggers with her etc....is it after they have seen their Dad, or some other adult? Is it diet aggravated? Is it due to not having enough outside time in the fresh air etc etc etc?

Also, maybe don't jump in and say directly to her that she can't bring them round anymore, but mention you see they are getting more and more outside of the normal range of 'exuberance' and ask if she thinks it is cos they were prem, because they are unsettled with something, how is she managing it at home etc.....can you explore some discipline ideas together because you would really like to develop your skills and so on too.....just to phrase it like a partnership that you are with her iykwim.
Then avoid having her round, meet at hers, at the park because it is warming up for this season and so on....she'll prob get the picture anyway, but hopefully find some solutions and feel supported.

It's already easy to feel a failure and judged as a single mum - we can't always do things the way we would like to, but we still need to get a grip!!!
You might not be able to support her at all, (which is perfectly understandable with these issues), or you might have a really open relationship where you can be very upfront without it ending in tears, but I wanted to put the 'gently, gently' perspective in case she is already feeling very vulnerable.

You're a gem of a friend to be tuned in and able to say 'no more' when she is obviously unable to do that at present. I salute your boundary setting, Mama; for your family and for hers.

xxx

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#9 of 24 Old 06-03-2008, 09:30 AM
 
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I don't think it's not a twin thing, but a lack of parenting.

single mommy to identical twin girls (3/06) Non-traditional mama just : through life.
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#10 of 24 Old 06-03-2008, 04:57 PM
 
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My two year old twins would not behave like that. It's not a twin thing!
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#11 of 24 Old 06-03-2008, 05:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shukr View Post
I have a book on raising boys as a single mum, but forget the title - will try and post it in the next few days
Oh, please post the title! I'm going to be in this boat myself.

As for the situation at hand, it really does sound to me like a challenge with parenting. It's hard to make a call from the outside with little information, but that's my sense of it. It's important for you to draw your boundaries - that will be important information for your friend.

celeste terra, single wohm to twin toddler boys max and shoghi. bamboo village press
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#12 of 24 Old 06-03-2008, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sorry for the confusion, but she's not a single mother. Her husband does work long hours, though, so he's not very involved.

I don't know if the twins were preemies, but I recall that she said they were both over seven pounds when they were born, so that would kind of rule that out, no?

T, my friend, is a very gentle mother. She always errs on the side of acceptance and kindness. She really believes that her kids are so crazy and wild because they're twins, and she thinks they egg each other on. She really puts up with a lot, and sometimes their behaviour is downright dangerous!

I think she really does have a problem with discipline. She has a cranky old Samoyed dog that BITES her children, but she can't bear to discipline the dog, so she just lets it go. I won't go to her house unless the dog is locked up away from the children.

I am still really debating whether or not to bring this up to her. We are going out for coffee later tonight, and I just don't know what to say. I am very anti-punishment with my own children, but the twins leave me gasping with the things they do.
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#13 of 24 Old 06-03-2008, 08:53 PM
 
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No, it isn't a twin thing. I have 6yo twin girls. Your friend's kids really need someone to provide them with limits. Boundaries that are held kindly and firmly will make a huge difference in their off-track behavior. Their behavior is abnormal, even for 6 year old boys No, I take it back, it is absolutely normal behavior for a kid who has no boundaries. They take it up a level, then another, in an attempt to have someone step in and stop them. It's not going to get any better without a change in the parenting.

I wonder how their teachers are dealing with it?
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#14 of 24 Old 06-03-2008, 09:14 PM
 
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Maybe direct her here or to the GD board? The women over on the GD board are so helpful, and the focus is not on punishment. I think it's fine to let her know that you love her and her kids, but that having them in your home has become too stressful.

When talking to mamas of twins it's always good to start with something like, "I know it must be so challenging having twins..."

Trying to get my bearings...
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#15 of 24 Old 06-03-2008, 11:03 PM
 
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My twin sons are seven, and they have NEVER been wildly out of control like that. Yes, the toddler years were challenging, but with lots of redirection and healthy outlets for their energy, they have grown up to be wonderful--and well-behaved--boys.

They will wrestle with each other or their little brothers at times, and at times can be overly rough. But they are apologetic if and when they hurt someone, and are not purposefully hurtful or destructive.

They are required to care for their own property by keeping their room reasonably tidy (not obsessively so, but I don't want to kill myself on legos if I need to go in there), and are responsible for chore areas around the house. They're proud of being a part of our "family team" as we work together to keep our home up and running. And they've been taught that being respectful of other people, their property and their feelings, is the basic rule of our family.

Sarah ~ Kinda Crunchy Mom to 11yodd , 10yods, 10yods (MZ twins), 7yods , 5yods , 3yods
 
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#16 of 24 Old 06-03-2008, 11:07 PM
 
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*

Sarah ~ Kinda Crunchy Mom to 11yodd , 10yods, 10yods (MZ twins), 7yods , 5yods , 3yods
 
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#17 of 24 Old 06-03-2008, 11:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the responses.

While I DO think T. lets waaaay too much go with her kids, I also think there is a lot more going on with them than just not having boundaries.

Her son melted the carpet in the master bedroom by playing with a lighter right after his mother had clearly and kindly absolutely forbid him to touch it.

The twins just don't seem to be able to connect - it's like they don't, or more accurately CAN'T care. And they have no idea how to keep themselves safe.

Personally, I think it's time for professional intervention, but that can be scary, because it's easy to blame gentle parenting for what seems like willfully bad behaviour, but in my opinion, isn't willful at all.

Thanks for the insights. I really appreciate it.
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#18 of 24 Old 06-04-2008, 12:41 AM
 
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Hmm... your comments about them being unable to care made me stop and think. I think when a child is not protected by safe boundaries, they do go further and further off track in an unconscious attempt to get someone to step in on his behalf. It can look like he doesn't care, but he cares deeply about his own safety and is feeling very unsafe. Expressly breaking a rule (burning the carpet right after being told not to) is a clear message of wanting a boundary. I think of boundaries as arms around the child, loosely so they can experience a range of experiences, but there in case the child goes out of bounds.

On the other hand, many times people experience a child with Asperger's syndrom as "not caring." They don't seem to be concerned with the expectations of others, and therefore seem aloof and do what they want. This isn't generally provocative (trying to get a reaction) behavior, though.

Parenting kids with Asperger's puts the responsibility even more squarely on the parents to set limits, firmly and with love.
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#19 of 24 Old 06-04-2008, 04:47 AM
 
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JaneAnne - sorry! singleton! not *single* mum. woops.

ah, well...I was just saying to my children yesterday that mothers with children call themselves 'single' when they happen to be out and about without said offspring. LOL.
I had confused them because I'd said a first time pregnant momma friend can sleep since 'she's single' - ( she's married) - so they were like, what!?! she's not single.

Anyway, for celesterra - the book is Mothes and Sons - bringing up boys as a sole parent by Jo Howard.

I would really recommend Steve Biddulphs 'Raising Boys' too - even/ especially to your friend Jane Anne, as a guideline for what is reasonable behaviour to expect from boys, and how to bring out the best. (It also has a chapter on single parenting).
Sometimes if we just shift our expectations, ie: she doesn't give herself the get out clause of 'twins' or 'boys' then it is easier to set those new boundaries, but equally important for her to get help if it is needed; again not as an excuse, since as PP said aspergers/ adhd etc need those beautiful and nurturing parental boundaries too.

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#20 of 24 Old 06-04-2008, 07:13 PM
 
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thanks a lot for the book titles, shukr!

celeste terra, single wohm to twin toddler boys max and shoghi. bamboo village press
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#21 of 24 Old 06-04-2008, 07:15 PM
 
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JaneAnne-- did you bring up the twins' behavior with your friend? Just curious how that went. I have a friend whose kids are destructive and we don't have an actual "ban" on her kids, but I've decided to just meet her for lunch, rather than getting the kids together.

It's interesting to me that you asked if that's typical twin behavior, because as the mom of 6yo twin boys I often get surprised comments about how well-behaved and nice they are. I think some people think twins and boys are just, well, naughty. It appears you realize your friend's children need some intervention to get them back on course. Just so you know, I don't think my boys would EVER have poured rocks on a bed and they have never trashed their room (which isn't to say it's always clean).

Best of luck to your friend.
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#22 of 24 Old 06-05-2008, 11:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by angie7 View Post
I don't think it's not a twin thing, but a lack of parenting.
agreed.

Mama to lovely twin girls 1/08
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#23 of 24 Old 06-05-2008, 02:31 PM
 
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My two 2.5 year olds are more of a handful perhaps than one 2.5 year old, but that has to do with quantitative issues, I think. The behavior you described doesn't sound related to being a multiple, but related to being either poorly parented or having some sort of other issue. Honestly, given that it's both of them, I'm more likely to attribute it to parenting than neurological issues.

Betsy, mama to beautiful, strong MZ twins Lillian and Kate, born 11 weeks early on January 10, 2006.
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#24 of 24 Old 06-05-2008, 03:09 PM
 
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No, this isn't a twin thing and frankly I might get flamed here but your whole post really insulted me. It kind of reminded me of what we see so often...

My friend's two ds came over today. They were pushing over my 1 year old and one of them stabbed my 3yo with a pencil when he didn't get his way. They refused to help clean up and actually took the books out of the shelves when I asked them to help put them back. The mom is an AP type mom and doesn't beleive in punishment, she was just redirecting them and telling them gentle touches. Is this the way I can expect APed children to behave?

My friend's dd came over and was nasty and rude to me and my kids. She insulted my kids and colored in their books and on the walls. When I asked her not to and she cried and screamed (and broke my new vase! her mom said "don't worry darling, we can go home. we don't have to play here, come mommy will take you out for an ice cream now" is this an only child thing?

Sometimes kids have issues, sometimes it's bad parenting, but this is not a "twin" thing any more than being a spoiled brat is an "only child thign" or being a wild child is a "GD" thing. I exptected to find somethign about twin language or bonds and I just found someone coming in to ask if twins usually act like this. Do you really think they do? I've never met any 6yo, twins or not, that acted like that. :

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