Twins mean doing everything twice. But one of the bonuses to having twins is that you are able to save a lot of time by combining discipline techniques and discussions into one big family conversation. When you have twins they are always intently aware what their sister or brother are doing and this is even more acute when they are doing something wrong. Likewise, they get to witness the time outs, lack of dessert or early bedtimes that their sibling suffers through so they are ultimately aware of the consequences to action. One of the nice things about twins is that you are dealing with two children who are exactly the same age with the same level of understanding and who in practice should normally be privy to the same discipline. This means you don’t have to listen to all the not fair pleas of older children and they can never use the excuse that they just didn’t know better! Disciplining twins is really no more difficult than disciplining any other children!
Some of the pitfalls of having twins are really no different than having more than one child. There are no twins that are the same, no matter how much they look alike! Each of them was born with a completely unique thinking set of cards and as such they will react, conform and learn from discipline in their own ways. Suitably, the discipline for each may have to be altered to suit. One may not mind sitting in the corner, while another acts as if it the most horrible thing that could happen to them. Disciplining children is always about finding their currency and using it to discipline. Once you can negotiate your child’s currency whether it is a favorite toy, an hour outside or a late bedtime- they are like putty in your hands! Where many parents go wrong at home is by disciplining twins exactly the same just because they are the same age! When this doesn’t work it then leads to comparisons and comments like ‘your sister listened why can’t you’ which only causes resentment and jealousy in the twin dynamic.
Schools and other organized places are infamous for structured discipline policies. Each child can expect the same ramification to action as the next. Many children learn from this while others seem to constantly get in the same trouble. If your child is the later whether they are a twin or not; it may be that the school is not individualizing discipline tactics to suit the personality of the child. This happens often with twins as well. Another factor that plays a part in twin discipline is the overlooked frustration that twins feel deep on the inside. They are always competing in one sense or another whether it is conscious or not. This can cause them to act poorly. In a home with twins if one seems to be more rambunctious or badly behaved than another; you may want to look into how they are feeling and see if it has something to do with irritation or frustration. Many parents wrongly assume that their twins are best friends and that they just love the stew out of each other all the time! Big mistake!’
One tiny little aspect that makes disciplining twins more difficult is the fact that twins seem to have an uncanny sympathy button for their sibling. When one gets in trouble, even if it was for beating their sister in the knee with a hammer the other feels bad and will often begin to have sympathy pains. You may sit one in the corner and realize that their twin is suddenly sitting next to them. If one gets sent to their room, the other wants to go too! This can make it frustrating. After all, how difficult is discipline if they always have a willing play partner to bail them out of jail? Twins also guilty if they think for one minute, that mom or dad is upset with their twin sibling. They worry that mom may not like them anymore. Psychologists refer to this as mirroring and in fact the reassurance they need is really that mom is not mad at them! When twins are young they see themselves as a unit and look to the other as a mirror. For this reason, it is always important to talk to the twin who is not in trouble and explain your actions and what is going on in a reassuring manner.
One thing that remains consistent whether you are disciplining twins, a teenager, a puppy or a 2 year old is that discipline should be about learning. It really shouldn’t be about causing further anxiety, pain or confusion. Discipline should be clear and it should always revolve around learning a life lesson. A year old may not truly understand why hitting is wrong and it needs to be explained plainly if any discipline is to work. Children should also always be disciplined the same. They should know what to expect from their parents and it shouldn’t be mood dependent. This is true especially for older children. When parents show their kids that life choices have consequences and give children an opportunity to see them behaving in the same way they know what to expect and are less fearful of telling their parents the truth. When children become afraid of how mom or dad is going to react they begin lying and hiding the truth which indicates their distrust of the parental figures in their life. This is always something that every parent should keep in the back of their mind whether they are disciplining twins or teens.