What to do when one twin starts hitting the other

Stephanie - posted on 12/01/2010 ( 20 moms have responded )

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I have 19 month old twin girls, Elizabeth and Isabelle. Within the past two weeks, Elizabeth has started hitting Isabelle and pulling her hair. I and her father have yelled at her multiple times and spanked her(once, it was awful, never doing that again) and she still does it. Actually, when she knows she is in trouble, she throws a tantrum and does it more.What can I do to get her to stop? I know siblings fight but this young?

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Jennifer - posted on 12/12/2010

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I have b/b twins who also bite and pull each others hair or hit when one takes the others toy or falls on them, or whatever.



We intervened early by saying with deep senserity and sensitivty to the one being hurt (NOT anger or hostility) "Ohhhh, Maximus, you hurt Jesse when you hit him (as I stroke Jesse's head or arm where was hit or bit), now he is crying and sad". As I say to the one who just got hurt, again with deep senserity and caring in my eyes, "Jesse, Maxi is mad at you because you took his toy". I make him give it back and explain that when we do things to make the other mad, they naturally want to "let them know how they felt about that" by biting, pulling hair, whatever. I then show them empathy for the one they've hurt, by showing them that we have to be nice as I stroke their head and say, "See, Nice".



The greatest thing about this is that they both have now begun automatically stoking the other ones head and saying, "Na, na" for "nice" about 60% of the time now. It is the sweetest thing and it makes you feel so glad they are getting it. They even do it to the dog and to me when I am holding them and being sweet with them. It feels so wonderful.



Now when one has hurt the other, they look at me, and as soon as I start to say, "Ohhh Maxi, or Jesse", they begin stroking the others head and saying "Na, na" and I say, "yes, you hurt him and made him sad, we have to be nice." The other one understands this and stops crying, but I still usually have to help them give the toys they just took, back.



Please be understanding to these normal things they are feeling. Just becuase they are so young, doesn't mean they don't feel just as injusticed when someone takes their things or makes them mad. They are just less sophisticated in how they handle it, yet is very normal for thier age. You don't want them to be teenagers and adults still hitting each other when they get mad. When this happens they are getting emotionally stuned in this young age and stage of development because of how We handled it, and really just made them feel more frustrated and angry and like you didn't understand what just happened or why they felt so angry and needed to take such physical measures with another.



If someone takes our things that we like so much, we get mad about that too. It is a normal response to get mad, you don't want them to pretend they don't feel what they are actually feeling. You want to teach them empathy, and how to handle problems in ways that doesn't hurt others. Their toys or the pan or spoon they have are just as important to them, as your things are to you.



Also, if you are hitting (spanking) your kids, you may be teaching them to hit when they get mad and frustrated with others. The irony is that that they get hit or yelled at for hitting or being mean to someone. We're often the ones reinforcing the exact behaviors we are trying to hit or yell out of them. Doesn't seem to make much sense to me when you think about it, and if you have the same respect for your children as you do for other adults.

Cyndi - posted on 12/07/2010

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When my twins (b/g) were younger they did hit each other all the time, at first we let them work it out. then as they got bigger we realized that this was not working anymore, so we would remove the one that was hitting, put that one on time out. ( 1 year old, one minute) and then when they were coming off we would tell that they cannot hit, bite, kick ect. and to get off of time out they had to apologize and give each other a hug. If they refused they had to sit there until they wanted to apologize and hug.

Cherie - posted on 12/05/2010

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i have 20 month old twin girls and they hit and pull hair and throw tanties no time outs or spanking works for me have tried the time out put the naughty one in the hall way away from twin 2 but twin 2 desides that because her sister is in the hall sitting down she will go sit with her defeats the purpose i think. what i am doing with them at the moment is getting down to there level looking them in the eye and saying a firm no sometimes it works other times it doesnt. they also tend to bite everyone at the moment and i do the same thing they dont like being told off

Danielle - posted on 12/03/2010

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I'd say remove her from the situation immediately every time after saying "No hitting/pulling hair". Essentially a timeout for one minute. And then give all your attention to Isabelle.

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Michelle - posted on 09/25/2012

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When my boy fought I put them in time out just like Jo Frost. Now their 11 they don't fight just the occassional verbal fight. But I had to be on top of it all the time and look out for signs of frustration like tiredness or if they fought over a toy the toy would be put out of reach untill they had done the time out and apologied to each other. But twins fighting when they are young is normal but it still has to be stopped when they are young. I also had a very strict routine of morning activities and sleep in the afternoon so the boys were always too busy having fun to fight to often.

Emily - posted on 12/11/2010

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What we did with our g/g twins is consistently tell them no, hitting is not okay. We used time outs early on. Every time one hit, in a stern voice we said: NO, we don't hit... then we sat them in time out for a minute. If they tried to move from time out we simply picked them up and put them back in time out. They need to know that you are serious and mean business. It can be tedious and frustration and will require an incredible amount of patience, discipline and perseverance on your part - but it WILL pay off. Good luck with whatever form of discipline you choose!

Barbara - posted on 12/09/2010

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My twins are now 26 years old I always said if no blood is flowing let them handle it yes this young the more you give Elizabeth the attention the more she will do it I know it sounds bad but have you encouraged Isabelle to ight back I found that once they found out the sister wasn't going to put up with it it slowed somewhat yes mom they do become friends

Kim - posted on 12/07/2010

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im afriad they will be doing this for a long time my twins are 3 evans tho they fight i sit them down and tell them that they have a special bond and they must love and lov each other then they hug and both say sorry it does work for the moment but they still fight daily i think its a sibling thing and will still go on when there 18 xx

Vicky - posted on 12/07/2010

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I have 13 Mo girls, who fight as well they grab hair try slapping scratching at times and I smack hands and say no we be nice and i play with them a little to show them to be nice and eventually they are playing together again and even giving eachother kiss's if there is a toy they fight for no one gets it I take it my girls head butt eachother kick etc.. but I get into the situation until it blows over and if they continue to fight they are going to thier crib or have to sit with me or dad for a bit.. ??I havent had to big a problem they usually snap out of it..?Knock on wood..

[deleted account]

I have 1yo b/g twins. My dd is older by 2-3 min. She will sit behind my ds in the playpen and pull his hair one strand at a time. She typically does after she has control of all the toys and he has the last one and she wants it.
Typically I will smack her hand telling her that her behavior is unacceptable, separate them and divide the toys. Usually this works for the day. I'm sure it will get worse as they get older.

Kamoo Jai - posted on 12/05/2010

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I have twins too and they fight and hit each other . they always seem to want the same thing . i guess its a part of grwoing up becoause they also paly with each other a lot , running around , laughing and having a good time . i generally intevene only when it gsts serious otherwise one generally gives in to the other .I have a twin myself and we used to fight too but later on became inseparable and shared a fantastic relationship which continues......i guess they are like any brother sister whoo fight.....

Tanya - posted on 12/04/2010

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Hi, Stephanie! I have 11 year old twins and I well remember those days! Although, still happens sometimes! lol It's normal, very normal. lol One of my twins was like that w/ her other twin and she's still bossy to her twin to this day! lol We used to put the aggressive twin in time out, even if she had to sit by me. She'd cry, throw a tantrum but she eventually caught on...took a few years. lol My aggressive twin used to scream and kick the walls when she was a toddler, during her time out. She used to be very persnickety. I used to also take away the item they would fight over from both of them and I'd say why. They may not understand you but they get the gist of it and will eventually learn. Patience is the key. Enjoy them, Stephanie! They make great stories for when they'll be older! Mine laugh and totally deny it now. heh heh heh

Samara - posted on 12/04/2010

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I have 2 year old identical twin girls and they have their moments and will hit, full hair etc. I also use the naughty corner idea and find this works very well and i started this at about 18 months with them. Let them know that they are not allowed to play whilst in there and after a while go and talk to her and explain to her what it is she has done wrong. WHen she says she is ready to say sorry i let her out but she must go and say sorry to her sister otherwise she goes back in until she is ready to say sorry. This works very well I have found. I hope this helps. Good luck

Sheri - posted on 12/04/2010

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I have 19mo boy/girl twins and my little girl (older by 2 minutes) is smaller but the one in control. They both pull hair and bite each other and my little girl takes things away from my little boy and taunts him. He won't go after them.

I try not to say NO very often as it gets repetitive and they lose senstitivity to it. I say "we don't hit - we hug" then I hug the one that just got hit by the other. Then I say you need to tell him/her you're sorry and give him/her a hug. I always tell them the behavior I want to see rather than just saying no (i.e. we don't hit, we hug - we don't bite, we kiss, we don't pull hair, we use soft touches, etc) then I demonstrate the correct behavior and have them do it too.

It works pretty well but they still get into it every once in a while.

Denise - posted on 12/03/2010

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I'm still trying to get my twin boys to stop fighting and punching each other and they are 11. Mine started at 24 months and it got worse and no matter what my husband and I do it doesn't work either so I feel for you. Spanking never hurts anyone just their ego.

Victoria - posted on 12/03/2010

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try ignoring the bad behaviour, my boy pushes and hits my lil girl, and now they are 2 he really does hurt her, tried shouting and smacked... didnt work! my HV recommended seperation so I calmly now say NO BAD and remove him from the room and then leave him and go back and play with her, I also make them say sorry which they dont like, but arent allowed to play till they do! It works for me...

Marcy - posted on 12/03/2010

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I have 3-year-old boy/girl twins and they also do this. The girl hits/pushes her brother who is a little bit smaller than her, and he aggravates her. I found that starting the time out corner was a good thing right from the start. If they start being mean to each other they both go into time out. If they fight over a toy, the toy gets taken away. The time out should work for the twins Stephanie at that age. I started with my twins at a very young age and now they know that if I say "time out, no pushing" or "time out, no hitting" they don't like it, but they go and when they come out they are much nicer to each other at least for awhile until a fight over a toy or something. Be firm with the time out. If they sneak out, put them back in and keep doing it until they stay. Good luck. I hope this helps. It is definitely harder having 2 kids the same age, they seem to fight more than 2 kids aged farther apart.

CHERYL - posted on 12/03/2010

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hi i have 17m boy girl twins and josh is defo the controling one he hit and pushs her and takes everything off her.we have said no loads smacked his hand,put him in his cot for a minute or 2.he really dosnt seem to understand no at all.he also throws tamtrums.jessica dosnt even cry anymore as she must be getting used to it.hoping this is a phase.i dont no what else to do.

Rachel - posted on 12/02/2010

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I have this SAME problem but my twins are boys and they are 16 months old! The "older" one does it to the other one... I hope you get a response to this that would help me out too.

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