Curtail Mischief and Encourage Good Behavior in Twins

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - July 28, 2023

Are your twins double trouble? With twins, it’s kind of the cycle where one starts something and the other jumps right in and chaos ensues.

Monkey see, monkey do.

I asked several twin parents what they do to help control that chaos and help get their kids to not get too crazy with their behavior.

Let’s see what your fellow twin parents have to say.

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Alicia Watson says “we give them treats when we hear them say no, that’s not a good idea.” I love this pattern of when you recognize good behavior or a good thing that your kids are saying, you reward that behavior. That helps encourage more of the same good behavior.

If you can arm your twins with something they can say or do to their sibling to help encourage good behavior and not bad, you’ll be closer to avoiding some of that crazy mischief.

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Catherine says, “we have a phrase for them to say, ‘I am not going to do it.’ And they put their hands up.”

Here’s another phrase that you can use with your twins. You can teach them to say this phrase when they see some behavior that’s questionable, that they know they probably shouldn’t do, it empowers them to curtail the mischief.

Myra says “we ended up with three locks on every door because they would move chairs and climb by two or three.”

Childproofing is no joke in general, but when you have twins, they can use each other to reach places that you did not imagine they could reach. They can problem solve together to get into trouble that one kid by themselves could not have figured out.

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That’s why double checking your childproofing is essential to keeping your twins safe. Particularly once they turn into crawlers and toddlers.

Lisa Marie says, “praise the good. The one acting up, gets in line quick after that.”

This worked miracles in our house as well with all of our kids. When we saw a kid doing something that we didn’t want them to do, we would immediately turn to the sibling and praise anything that they were doing that was good. Whether they were sitting still, playing nicely, not crying, or anything positive we could extract from observing the sibling.

We would praise them. And then the twin that was causing trouble would also want that same attention and praise and they would quickly fall in line.

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Try this yourselves when you see some good behavior, focus on that good behavior. When you see bad behavior, find the good behavior and focus on the good behavior to get the twins to move towards that good behavior instead.

Joshua says, “they’re going to be feeding off each other for the rest of their lives. No matter what we try to correct the behaviors in each of them and hope that it sticks. No favoritism is allowed.”

(RELATED: Love podcasts? Check out the entire Dad's Guide to Twins Podcast archive for additional twin tips and interviews with twin dads.)

It’s kind of easy, particularly when your twins have very different personalities to kind of gravitate towards one.

You may feel drawn to the twin that is more obedient or happy. You need to realize that you love both of these twins equally and you can’t favor one over the other.

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Kaylene says that “we try to make sure that they get some one on one time, either with playtime or running errands, it seems to really help them calm down. And the individual attention fills their buckets.”

Individual one on one time is so important, but it’s also so hard to pull off getting one on one time with your twins.

It’s so important to bonding with your twins, to giving them the love and attention that they deserve.

If you’re able to do even a small trivial task like running errands, doing dishes, or going for a walk with one twin – that is great.

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You’re going to do the same thing with the sibling at another time. Or you may divide and conquer that task with your partner and then switch twins later, whatever works best for your schedule.

Try to get some one on one time, even if it’s just a little bit of one on one time with each of them.

Robert says, “just let them work it out. But don’t assume that your twins are always going to be in trouble or will always be feeding off each other to cause mischief and mayhem.”

Greg says his “boys are like old men. They’re the most well behaved. The teacher even sent them a message saying that the bad behavior of other kids irritates them.”

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So just because you have twins, doesn’t mean they’re going to be crazy monkeys all the time. Of course they’ll have their moments. But as they grow mature, they may grow out of those phases. Or it may just be a lifetime of excitement between the two of them.

If you’re still expecting twins are in those early months with twins. I recommend you pick up my book, “Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins: How to Thrive as a Father of Twins”, as it will guide you through those first couple years with your twins and help you thrive along your twin parenting journey. You can get a copy of that book here.

Further Reading

Dad's Guide to Raising Twins book
Don't forget to pick up a copy of the definitive guide to raising twins. "Dad's Guide to Raising Twins" was written for fathers of twins to help guide you through the first several years with twins. Click here to learn more about the book and get your copy.

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