Dr. Le-Bucklin’s Answer:
Sibling competition can be more pronounced in twins. A mild degree of friendly competition can be advantageous. For example, our twins learned to crawl faster by trying to outrace each other to toys. Today, they’re learning to toilet train faster because when one twin sees her sibling use the toilet, the other wants to show that she can do it too.
Mild competition can have positive effects, but more severe sibling rivalry can negatively impact both twins. Some ways parents can help reduce sibling rivalry include:
- Make an effort to spend individual time with each twin.
- Encourage children to share, but also make sure there are some items that belong to each individual.
- Praise each child for their unique attributes.
- Avoid comparing twins to each other.
- Encourage each child to pursue activities that interest them. However, it’s Ok if they choose the same activity. The key is that they feel their choice was not limited by their co-twin.
- Don’t be alarmed or force intimacy if one twin shows signs of wanting some distance from their sibling. This is normal for many siblings (not just twins), especially during the teen years. Fortunately, this cry for independence is often temporary, as many adults can attest that their sibling bonds in adulthood are much stronger than they were in their teen years.
- Shower plenty of love and adoration on each child. The more positive attention they get from you, the less likely they are to seek negative attention.