I got an interesting question recently: Do twins get upset at the same time?
The answer, as with many questions on twins, is that it depends. Here are a few factors that help you know if your twins will both be upset at the same time.
Our identical twin girls have very distinct personalities. As such, they react differently to similar things. One will take offense and get mad, and the other won’t care at all.
Study your twins’ personalities. Each may have a short temper or be patient.
Twins will both get upset if they are in the same place and expecting the same result but don’t get that outcome. For example, if you make a “yucky dinner,” both twins won’t be happy — even if that “yucky dinner” is something you find perfectly delicious (like anything with vegetables).
If your family is headed to a park, museum, or something fun but have to cancel or change plans, expect two upset twins.
Monkey See, Monkey Do
Sometimes one of our twins will follow the lead of the other. If one gets upset, the other will react likewise. If you see a similar pattern in your home, expect double trouble.
How have your twins reacted to things in the past? They will likely follow the same path again this time. You can use this to your advantage to either change the circumstance or react differently to your child.
Good Twin, Bad Twin
An interesting pattern we’ve seen in our girls is that when one is acting out or upset, the other will all of a sudden be the perfect child. We’ll hear statements like “I not crying” or “I eating my food.” The “good” twin will highlight her own positive behavior that is in stark contrast to her sister.
(RELATED: Expecting twins? Avoid these 4 critical mistakes expectant twin parents make.)
We like to turn this back on the upset twin and pile praise on the well-performing twin. Often, this positive reinforcement persuades the upset twin to calm down and go along whatever is expected of her.
What to Do When Both Twins Are Upset
How do you prevent your twins from getting upset at the same time? First of all is to observe their behavior. If they’ve gotten upset in the past, in certain circumstances, try your best to avoid those circumstances or to work around them to keep the twins happy.
You know experience is the best teacher and you’re going to see how your twins react in different circumstances. That will help you adjust your parenting to not get yourself in the same spot. again where your twins are upset again.
For example, what are the most common things that upset both twins?
If twin A is holding a particular toy, even if you have two of those same toy, twin B is probably going to want to get to get that toy and steal it from his or her sibling.
What does that mean for you? Should you immediately jump into the situation or should you wait to see how your twins try to solve the problem? Take a step back and see how they do at resolving it themselves. If you’re always jumping into solve problems, they’ll never learn those problem-solving skills themselves.
If the situation doesn’t pass quickly and they start fighting or start to hurt each other you can step in as a parent. Redirect the kids to an appropriate activity and to be away from each other.
(RELATED: Love podcasts? Check out the entire Dad's Guide to Twins Podcast archive for additional twin tips and interviews with twin dads.)
Redirection and distraction are powerful techniques, particularly when your kids are really young.
Remember that when your twins are doing what you want them to do, pile on the positive praise and attention so they want to keep doing that good thing and get your positive attention.
We discovered with our twins that often they did not get upset at the same time. That was a blessing for us as parents because we could help take care of the kid that was upset or crying or hurt or needed something while the other twin was happily playing or sitting in a bouncy seat or rocking and swinging.
Remember there will always be times when they are upset at the same time. It’s okay to take turns. Take care of one and then the other.
What have you done when both of your twins have been upset? How have you handled that situation? Leave a comment below with what’s worked for you and your twins.
Picture by Jill M