Good Twin, Bad Twin – Myth or Reality?

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - July 28, 2023

Occasionally I’ve been asked, “Which twin is the bad twin?” I never know quite how to handle this question. It is as if you must always have a good twin and a bad twin.

Good Twin, Bad Twin - Myth or Reality?

Which is the Bad Twin?

What does “good” or “bad” even mean here? Well behaved, as opposed to always mischievous?

In observing our twins’ personalities and behaviors I don’t see that we necessarily have a “good twin” and a “bad twin” all the time. The pattern I’ve seen is that each twin plays the part. And these parts are often opposites on purpose.

When one of our girls is having a fit or throwing a temper tantrum, the other all of a sudden is the angel child.

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The “good twin” in this case will call out her behavior: “I not crying,” or “I be good.” The good twin is hungry for attention and wants to be praised for good behavior.

Focusing on the Good Twin

Here, as a parent, you have the choice, do you focus on the “bad twin” to try to correct the behavior? Or do you pay attention to the “good twin” for proper behavior?

(RELATED: Check out the Dad's Guide to Twins Youtube channel for additional helpful twin tips and tricks videos.)

We’ve had success focusing on the good twin. The bad twin starts to see this and wants the positive attention too. It has helped curtail some (but not all) bad behavior. After all, kids will still be kids and have episodes of craziness.

As we’ve observed our twins, one does have a tendency to be more stubborn than the other. However, any given situation can see behaviors and personalities switch between our twins.

My wife notes that this difference was obvious even when the girls were still in the womb. Your wife might be able to note a similar pattern too with your twins.

Parents of twins are blessed with all types of babies. You might have two “good” babies, two “bad” babies, or a mix. You can’t predict what you’ll get when you see that first ultrasound. However, you’ll have your challenges any way you look at it. Other families you know will seem to have it easier than you do.

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Do your best with what ever temperament your twins have. Over time you’ll see trends in each of your twins and will know what to expect out of each. You’ll be able to predict behavior of your twins based on the situation and will learn what works to counteract negative behaviors.

Have you observed good twin, bad twin behavior in your twins?

Picture by Ankur P

Is there always a good twin and a bad twin? Here's the reality of parenting twins and what to expect with your twins.

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.

9 thoughts on “Good Twin, Bad Twin – Myth or Reality?”

  1. Hi Joe, I wish I saw this site sooner!!! I’m just transitioning my 33 month old twin boys into big boy beds – out of necessity not choice! – and I happened upon your site for some advice. I really wish that I had found your site sooner. All of the tips/ideas are really helpful. Right now, I have two “bad twins”!!!! Actually, they are angels when they are separated and hooligans when they are together. They feed on each other and seem to laugh at the other’s naughty behaviour. Honestly, if it wasn’t so taxing, it would be comical! I do have people asking me which one is more mischevious and I think they take turns. I don’t remember my older son (7 years old) getting into so much trouble or trashing my house but these two little boys are into everything and laughing the whole time!! YIKES!!

    Reply
    • Our twins feed off of each other too. When things have gotten really bad, we’ve had the best results by separating them. We also pile on the praise when one or both is doing anything good. This often brings the sibling around to the correct behavior.

      Reply
  2. I fully subscribe to this. There is clearly a bad twin no matter how un-PC that sounds. One listens and minds and understands praise and reward. The other one is a constant battle.

    I’m not going to sugar coat it. One is simply good and the other not so much.

    I’m awaiting the results as the grow into adulthood. I think I already can see how this will end.

    Reply
  3. Am a twin I don’t think there’s a bad twin and a good twin these characteristics are not constant they shift all the time. We are 20 now and our behaviors are almost similar I guess by the time twins grow older together they sharpen each other’s behavior to be more impressive

    Reply
  4. I am a twin. I will consider my twin sister a bad twin. She has always been jealous of me for no reason at all. She has done horrible things to me. All my life and I have always forgiven her. But when she called Children’s services On me about my great grandchildren that was where I drew the line. I have spent my whole life trying to be her best friend and sister, and this was the final Straw. We are complete opposites and I am more of a peaceful person. Where is she Is more of an aggressive person that likes to start trouble and Lies. She has been that way all our lives. At this point I am tired of putting up with my twin. I am about to turn 65. And it’s way too long to put up with a person that is jealous of Me and lies on you constantly. So yes, I would say there are good and bad twins. Because I can truly relate to it because I am in that situation now.

    Reply

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