Guest Author - Julixa Newman
One of the hardest aspects of parenting is knowing how to discipline the children. When there are twins involved, you have the added responsibility of teaching the one who didn’t do anything that what his/her sibling did must not be repeated by them. At least each moment has the added bonus of teaching the other what “not to do” by seeing the other one be reprimanded, but nonetheless it is never easy for a parent. We have assembled a list of tips that might help ease the burden of the process, and even make it a little easier as time goes on!
Treat them as individuals
All children have unique and different personalities, and need to be treated in a manner tailored to them personally. One twin might like television shows, while the other prefers to throw a ball around. Taking TV away from the child who never watches it might not stop the negative behavior you wish to disappear. It is easy to do a group punishment if you catch them both in mischief together, but it only actually punishes one and not the other. Plus, some children need a more direct or firm action to curb the behavior, and the more sensitive twin may be unfairly “over punished” if you do the same to both of them. It takes knowing your children’s needs and thresholds for strict discipline.
Avoid placing blame
Just like any children, twins will blame each other for everything-and you’ll never know who is lying unless you saw it in a mirror (which I try to do quite often when I hear a disturbance). Just because one twin may be sweet and sensitive, you can be sure they still want to avoid getting in trouble. Resist the temptation to believe one over the other; it won’t solve your problem. Plus, one will repeat the behavior, and the other will resent their twin (and possibly you) for getting you to believe them.
Be consistent with limits
If you don’t want the children jumping on the bed, don’t back off when you walk in and see them doing it together, laughing and bonding. It is hard to speak up when you have to break up tender moments like those, but don’t expect your rules to be followed unless you make it clear that no means “not at all.” If you think they bond by jumping together, get a bouncy mat for the floor, or make a rule they can understand, such as no bed jumping unless Mommy or Daddy is watching.
Teach appropriate social skills
Do you get angry at your spouse/partner a lot in front of the family? Do the kids get an earful when they’re noisy? If so, you may be enabling a difficult child’s behavior. Letting them see you lose control gives them a green light to do the same. It is absolutely necessary to show the children the behaviors you wish to instill in them. Resist any urges to fight in front of them, or discuss any issues that may lead to anger. Children only learn to be respectful, honest, and in control if shown that by you.