Your twins may have shared a womb before birth, but perhaps now they’ve decided not to coexist quite so peacefully. It’s not unusual for twins to engage in rivalries, states Linda Wright, MS, with the NYU Langone Medical Center. In fact, you may even be contributing to the competitive behavior going on between your twin toddlers without knowing or understanding how you’re making matters worse.
Resist the urge to compare your twins, suggests Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S., with the Family Education website. Comparing virtually always places one twin coming up short and the other twin coming out on top. These comparisons can foster a spirit of competition between your toddlers.
Find the unique and special qualities that each twin possesses, advises Wright. Although your toddlers may appear quite similar on the outside, they are individual people with different likes, dislikes and personalities. One toddler might be a social butterfly, friendly and engaging with people, while your other toddler may be much more cautious and studious, taking in every detail about people without projecting an outgoing personality.
Communicate your acceptance and value each twin as a separate and worthy person. Instead of pushing one toddler to adopt the other toddler’s outgoing personality, accept your toddlers as they are. Make affirming comments and give positive feedback to each child as appropriate.
Provide abundant love and affection for both toddlers. If one toddler isn’t as affectionate or cuddly, you might have to work at this harder than with a toddler who loves to snuggle on your lap. Reach out to your twins and connect with them individually to foster a strong and separate relationship with each of them.
Spend time with each child separately. Although you may not succeed in this mission every day, make an effort to connect with each child individually as often as you can. One-on-one time enables you to focus positively on each child without any negativity caused by bickering or competing twins, states Gisler and Eberts.
Give praise when your toddlers get along peacefully without fighting and competing. Notice this behavior as often as it occurs and always give positive feedback to your twins. Positive feedback shows exactly what behavior you value and it helps kids feel motivated to repeat or continue the behavior.
If one toddler is more physically advanced than the other due to developmental delays from prematurity, you may notice more competition as the delayed child feels threatened or frustrated. Support the delayed child to help him achieve milestones and successes, while continuing to love and encourage your other twin at the same time.