Earlier in the week I put up on Facebook that I was looking for suggestions for topics you would like discussed. One the of the questions brought up was about discipline and tips for disciplining multiples. Last January I interviewed Dr. Fran Walfish about the topic, you can read the interview here.
A specific question was brought up this time and I went to my go-to multiples expert, Dr. Joan Friedman for the answer. The question was, “If one is scolded the other does the same naughty thing so that he can be scolded too. Normal?” Here’s was Dr. Friedman had to say:
“This often does happen because some twin toddlers struggle with feeling their separateness. Given their cognitive immaturity, they often have trouble distinguishing between themselves and their twin. Parents can help twins of this age grow into their individuality by commenting on one twin’s need to get punished too by saying something like: Mommy told Danny not to do this and that is why he is punished; you (Danielle) are not punished because you stopped yourself – Or something like this – so that the twins can hear how the parents are making a conscious attempt to verbalize and distinguish one twin from the other. Eventually, this will help the twins grow into their separate identities.”
Do you notice your multiples doing this? Do you have any discipline tips you would like to share?
As a side note, if you ever have a topic you would like to see discussed email us at email@example.com
My experience as a teacher and now MoM is that kids want attention and they will get attention any way you are giving it. If you primarily notice your kids being naughty then the other ones act naughty to get your eye. I am frazzled and have to stop myself from living my life yelling at the twins about each crazy thing they do. I am trying to catch every little wonderful time they listen, or follow directions, or eat their dinner. I am using a teaching system called Positive Behavior Intervention and Support on them. I increased my ratio of praise to 3:1 (3positive to 1negative). We have cut our time outs, yelling, rage filled fits more than in half by my always giving more attention to their positive behavior. We did a star chart (they are 3.5 now) so each night we review expectations and if they met it. I disagree with the doctor that they are seeking punishment because they can’t distinguish themselves from their twin. They want attention and you sitting in timeout while one kid throws a fit gives that kid undivided attention while the one who followed a rule gets left out.
So fascinating! Thanks for sharing. When my twins were little and one got into trouble, the other would often go over to the “time out corner” to offer comfort and support (until I would notice and then have to explain why he couldn’t engage his cotwin).
WOW I was literally asking this same questions on fb a few weeks ago. I didn’t know what to do! I didn’t want to yell at H but she literally just watched L get in trouble for doing something. I felt like they each deserved their own warning punishment etc. It’s so tricky and parents on non-multiples try to give me advice but i think it is so different and Dr. F touches on an interesting point. I would love to hear more of what she has to say! Thanks so much for this post!
I think it is all about getting attention even if its negative attention. I’ve found it best to put the culprit in a timeout out of sight of their twin so they are getting No attention and are not a distraction.
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