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Resources Centre / Twins Tips Introduction / Twins Tips / Tips for Disciplining Twins & Multiples
Tips for Disciplining Twins & Multiples
Twins and multiples provide many challenges for parents and discipline is no exception. It can be tough disciplining any child but it can be even tougher when you have twins. triplets or more to deal with. Here are some ideas to keep in mind.

Twins are Individuals
Each of your twins. even if they're identical. has his/her own personality and thresholds for frustration. anger. discomfort. etc. Resist the urge to always discipline your twins the same way. For example. if one twin likes to play computer games and the other likes to watch television. taking away television privileges for both only really punishes one of them. which isn't fair. Tailor disciplinary techniques to the personality of the child. Some children collapse into a puddle if mildly rebuked. Others need firmer explanations to get the message. Know each of your children and their needs.

Avoid The Blame Game
Twins. like all siblings. will try to blame things on each other. and/or try to convince you that you aren't being fair. Don't even enter into a debate. especially if you didn't see what happened. If neither twin will confess. discipline both by taking away a privilege. If you are being accused of unfairness by one or both twins. just refuse to talk about it. and tell them that they must drop the subject or lose a privilege immediately.

Set Firm. Consistent Limits
Make rules and stick to them. or set specific times when rules are lifted. For example. if you don't allow your kids to jump on the bed. you must discipline them every time they do it otherwise. you send the message that the rules are only in effect sometimes. which is confusing for children. You can also set specific times for the behavior. such as three minutes of bed jumping before bedtime. and only with a grown up present.

Teach Social Skills
Be an example to your children of the values you want to instill in them. Let them see you being honest. kind. polite. and in control. If your kids see you getting angry and out of control. they receive the message that they can also behave this way. If they see you telling lies. being snide. sarcastic. or mean. they will try out these behaviors on you and others. The effects are even worse when the children are on the receiving end of angry outbursts. untruths. and belittlement. If you need help learning how to cope (and we all feel that way sometimes). consider enrolling in a local parenting class.

Stay Calm !
First. if you feel angry and out of control and you want to smack your child(ren). leave the situation if you can. Calm down and get quiet. In that quiet time you will often find an alternative or solution to the problem. Sometimes parents lose it because they are under a lot of stress which can be frequent when you are raising twins and multiples. If you feel like you are about to lose it and can"t leave the situation. then mentally step back and count to ten.

Twin Escalation Syndrome (TES)
Prevelant in twins. triplets and all multiples is TES. the tendency for behaviour to escalate as one multiple 'feeds' off the other one(s). The reason this occurs is down to your children competing with one another which is unavoidable with multiples. However. to save your sanity and diffuse the situation then three top tips are firstly divide and conquer - separating twins and using time-outs secondly - distraction. get them involved in different actvities to move the focus away from each other and finally. reduce the competition by providing opportunities for one-on-one time so they feel they have your full attention for at least some of the time!

Use 1-2-3 Steps to Success!
1-2-3 Magic is a parent-in-charge programme that eliminates arguing. yelling or smacking. Emotional turmoil and excessive talk do not make for good discipline. In fact. you might say 1-2-3 Magic is the only discipline programme we know based on the fact that parents talk too much! According to this programme. the job of parenting consists of three tasks:
1. Controlling obnoxious behaviour (arguing. whining. fighting. tantrums)
2. Encouraging good behaviour (going to bed. homework. eating)
3. Strengthening your relationship with your children (praise. active listening. shared fun).


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