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Discussion Starter #1
I'm posting here first, as I do think this is a multiples issue and hope some of you with older twins have experience/ideas that might help. The sibling dynamics just seem different (stronger!) than what my friends with close-in-age singletons experience.<br><br>
My boy/girl twins are 8 1/2. They have always had a love/hate relationship. They can (briefly) be the best of friends, but spend a large chunk of their time antagonizing and attacking each other. Both DH and I are only children and this aspect of parenting is by far the hardest for me to deal with. We are an AP family and *try* to practice gentle discipline, but my resolve sure fails by the end of a long day where they spend the majority of their time fighting. We also homeschool, so are together for the majority of our time.<br><br>
They seemed to have learned some really negative patterns of interaction. I know a lot of it is because it's "safe" to fight with their sibling, when they might not feel safe challenging a friend in the same way. So it seems like they use that relationship as a way to release frustration and anger from other sources. But I think it's detrimental to their relationship and I worry about how it affects them.<br><br>
Plus, it's driving me CRAZY <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"> They can't be in the car together without poking/throwing/hitting. They know each others "buttons" and find great joy in getting an angry response.<br><br>
I spend a lot of time wondering if we've done something wrong. Is this normal?!? There are lots of days when I think if we'd been more skilled at teaching communication strategies and responsiveness when upset, we'd have fewer conflicts. And other days I think we simply should be more punitive. Gentle disipline and discipline strategies that rely on attachment seem wonderful long-term, but what about the day-to-day?!? What tools work with your older children?
 

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I don't think that this is an older twin situation. Mine are two and, yup, that sounds like a typical day. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> Could it be that they spend *too* much time together? Are they interested in extracuricular activities like soccer, painting or balet? Can they go by themselves to classes that doesn't involve the other? Sometimes distance helps with the bickering and button pushing. It sounds like they are together for a lot of the day and don't really have a "time out" from each other. I could be totally off the mark here, but my sister and I were like that until my mother decided that if she wanted us to be friends we had to have our own rooms and different friends, so off to different classes we went. It worked wonders for our relationship and we are still really good friends. Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Shuli, thanks for the comments. I definitely think that being together a lot is part of the issue. They recently moved into their own rooms (we'd shared a family bedroom prior) - I wanted them to have their own space so they could have more time apart. And they do a lot of activities separately, so they aren't together all the time, but theycertainly are together more than if they were in two separate classrooms. And most of the together time is when Mom is around, so I have to be present for the majority of the fighting.<br><br>
It almost seems like they seek out that interaction w/ their twin, though. So if I plan time apart for them (luckily, they have different friends and interests, so it's not hard to do), when they get back together they reconnect by starting a fight. It almost reminds me of the toddler who says "Hi" by smacking their friend across the head <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> "I love you, so I have to hit you" ARGH!<br><br>
And, no, it's definitely not an older twin thing. It's just becoming harder as they get older. My ability to diffuse the situation is decreasing - "distract and redirect" just does nothing any more. And I can't physically pick someone up and remove them if they are hurting each other. Plus, my tolerance has been worn WAY down over the years!<br><br>
Glad to hear that you and your sister are now friends. I'm just not sure I can wait until they move out and have their own families! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">
 

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I definitely agree that it sounds like they might need some more time away from each other. It's hard to figure that one out (I'm trying right now with my 2-year-olds), but I do think that time away will strengthen their relationship. It's hard to spend all your time around anybody, much less somebody your own age sharing your space and your mother's attention.<br><br>
My other comment is with regard to gentle discipline. I have tried to use only GD with my kids, but I've also been depressed myself and was finding that I simply couldn't do it all the time. My kids were completely out of control, and it was starting to affect them at preschool as well. (My older son also has the additional factor that he is grieving his father.) So finally in the past week I gave in to some extent, and started using a "thinking chair" (which is what the twins' preschool class uses) for violence only. I never remove them from the room where I am, or chastise them harshly, but they now know that hitting, kicking, throwing hard objects at heads, biting, etc. will land them in the thinking chair for a few minutes until they can calm down. And I have to say, I know that it is behaviorism at its finest, and it might not be the ideal way to discipline kids, but it is working for us. Things are starting to calm down a lot. I've also gotten a lot firmer in general, without being authoritarian about it...but I do expect them to help clean up, and other things that I was letting slide because I didn't want to be "the boss".<br><br>
That's just my experience. I definitely don't think you are doing anything wrong--siblings fight, and I think sometimes twins just fight more than other siblings. But there are probably some things (like more time apart) that you can do to help them have a closer relationship.
 

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CheriK sounds like you do have your hands full. With 8 year olds it is easier to talk to them about what is going on. What about setting up a chart in 15 minute or half hour intervals. Set the egg timer and if they haven't fought with each other in that time they get a sticker. After a certain amount of stickers they get a prize/present (be it alone time with you doing something special or going out to eat, etc). Maybe rewarding them for good behavior will stop the bad?<br><br>
The other thing that I thought of that might help you is a calm corner for each of them. Whenever they start on each other you litterally send them to seperate corners. If they start yelling at each other from across the room on a different chart they get an unhappy face. After a certain amount of unhappy faces they start to lose a privelage (like desert, or tv/computer time, etc). I find that rewards work great and if one behaves like he should and gets the reward, the other is soon to follow. Maybe by rewarding the behavior you want and "ignoring" the behavior you don't, it might help the situation.<br><br>
Hope this helps.
 

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I have 7yo MZ boys who have a definite love/hate thing. We also homeschool so we're together all the time.<br><br>
Often I have to "force" them to spend time apart. It seems a little punitive when they're asking to be together and I'm telling them NO, but it seems to give everyone a break to recharge.<br><br>
I think as a homeschooler, it's important that everyone has some private time.
 

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you've got some great input.<br><br>
i also recoomend the book <i>siblings without rivalry</i> for some great conflict resolution
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>~bookcase~</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15413920"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">you've got some great input.<br><br>
i also recoomend the book <i>siblings without rivalry</i> for some great conflict resolution</div>
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<i>Siblings Without Rivalry</i> is practically my bible <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 
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