Today I am coming at you guys with a new challenge that has been rearing its ugly head quite a bit in our household lately. I am talking about, twin jealousy… No, you may be thinking “oh yea, all siblings fight and get jealous.” And yes, this is true, but with twins, it’s a whole different ball game.
If they weren’t the same age, it may be easier to explain to them why one of them isn’t as good at something initially. For example with an older sibling, you could say “they are older and have more experience, don’t worry you will get there.” With twins, you can’t do that. If one of them is better at something than the other in the classroom or a sport/activity the other one beats themselves up about not being “as good”. Khalil and I try our best to encourage them and remind them that they are two different people, and everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Everyone is unique and we can’t be the best at everything and better at one thing versus another. It’s soooo hard to explain that to a 4-year-old, it’s like it goes in one ear and out the other.
Lately, the fighting and jealousy have been on another level. It’s over the smallest things, like something I normally wouldn’t even notice, but now I pick up on. Example: They will say to me, “Can you give me the same hug as you did Nahla” or vice versa, I am like … HUH?! I hugged you differently?? It’s these things that they pick up that are so small you can’t avoid or prevent them. They talk over each other in the car when I pick them up from school. They argue over who carried the heavier items up the stairs. The other day they had a full-on-fight over whose plate matched my nails best. I mean, you can’t make this stuff up, it is out of control how silly some of these things are. I could go on and on with examples – because as of lately, it rarely stops. I keep telling myself it’s okay, they have been through other tough stages, this too shall pass. Just sitting in the car giving myself little pep-talks like “Its ok, Courtney, you got this girl.” But then I find myself in weak moments, doing things that I know as a parent, are probably making it worse. Like – sometimes the bedtime routine can be so exhausting with both of them that I catch myself making it a competition. “The first one to get their teeth brushed is the winner!” I know this is just making the problem worse, but if I am being honest I have bad days… and on those days my patience just isn’t what it could be. Like, I just want them to get in the car because we are running late for school, eat their dinner, or brush their teeth before bed. Sometimes making it a race is the most efficient way to get it done. I know, I need to stop doing this, because at the end of the day it is just making them more jealous and anxious. I have been doing some (A TON) of research on the topic so I know it is a common thing with twins, and apparently, it just gets worse as they get older. So armed with this information, Khalil & I, have decided on a couple of strategies that we are going to commit to incorporating with them that we hope will help them. I thought the classroom separation alone was an upgrade, but it’s not enough…
Here is what we are going to try – after more research than I can even convey.
Strategies We Plan To Incorporate
Encourage Individual Interests
I will still keep them together in activities I know they both love, but I want to try to let them tell me what they want to do. We just put Nahla in solo piano lessons and she loves it. Now I want to get Ava into something just for her. She has mentioned Karate and Soccer so we are going to have her try them out, on her own, and see if one sticks. It’s a lot more running around for me, but that’s ok. I guess it comes with the territory as a twin parent.
Change Up the Bedtime Routine
Currently, Khalil and I take turns getting them ready for bed. So one of us takes both of them – to do all the pre-bed stuff at the same time. We are thinking it will be helpful if we try getting them ready for bed separately. So I will take Ava to get ready one night and Khalil will take Nahla – the next night I’ll take Nahla and Khalil will take Ava. That way each one of them gets their time with both of us. I was also thinking that during this time we can make it part of the routine for them to tell me something they love about themselves and tell me about their favorite part of the day.
MORE One-on-One time
Khalil & I always talk about doing this, but we have to be better about doing it more often. It just gets tough with busy schedules. But, I think it would help the competition they have with one another if we had just mommy/Ava day, Khalil/Nahla day, and vice-versa. It’s hard to coordinate, but I think especially now, it’s crucial. Parenting is never easy, it is a constant learning curve. The minute I think I have it all figured out they throw me for a loop… Apparently, I hug them differently!? Hahaha
That’s all I have, for now. I will report back with our progress as we incorporate these new strategies with the twins. I mean, Nahla & Ava. (I think I should also start calling them by their names instead of calling them “the twins” all the time.” Maybe that would also make them feel more special and individual?
What about you other twin parents, did you go through this? Any tips or strategies that have worked for you?