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Thread: What to do when one toddler twin is aggressive with the other

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default What to do when one toddler twin is aggressive with the other

    My girls just turned two and all of a sudden the stronger and more advanced of the two has started pushing her sister (who has low muscle tone and has always been behind her sister in reaching milestones). She has done it when we are all playing together nicely early in the day as well as after bath after a long day at daycare - All of a sudden this look comes across E's face- she looks at me with this glint and pushes C to the ground. I immediately say "No, we dont push" and put her in a time out chair (or if it happens in their room, she goes into her crib) while I comfort her sister (time out is maybe 45 seconds or so). I also put toys in time out if there is too much tussling over a toy

    E has also started pulling C's hair. Often this occurs when I am out of eye-shot to see if C did "anything" to instigate such a response (not that hair pulling is an appropriate response, but I dont want to assume the other is always the "innocent victim" in any tussle) but all I see is E with two hands on C's head pulling her hair.

    it makes me sad to see the look in E's eye when she does the pushing. I have checked with daycare, she doesnt push her sister or any other child there (and she is one of the more advanced in the room and the strongest so she could easily do it) or othrwise be aggressive. (E has been bit twice but neveer has bitten anyone else)

    Is this anyone else's experience with toddler twins? Does this phase pass? Is E just testing the limits? Any suggestions on how to nip this in the bud? I do try to give each girl some one on one time every day with me (tough as I am a single Mom) . C gets a lot of EI services so I do try to extra things with E so she wont think C get's all the attention and the EI therapists are great at working in E to whatever they are doing with C.

    Thanks for any insights

    C and E

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default My 2 1/2 year olds are the best of friends and worst of enemies...

    I have b/g twins and my boy twin is way too aggressive with both his sister and other kids for that matter. All I can say is that I put him in timeout and try to calm him down. I am really trying to have them work it out amongst themselves whenever possible. I have also resorted to putting them in different rooms in the house when things get rough. If that is not possible you could also "section" out a room. Good luck. I sometimes call it midget this corner...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default sounds familiar

    My twins are 5 now, but when they were 1-2 they did a lot of physical fighting. (They still fight but it's easier to address now.) In addition to telling them no fighting and separating them, I did A LOT of positive reinforcement. I'd show them how to touch each other gently (even taking one's hand and caressing the other) and praise extravagantly, I'd praise them whenever they were playing or nearby without fighting, I'd especially praise when they shared or traded toys.

    Since they fought a lot about toys, I taught them to say, "Can I have the next turn when you're done?" (and the required answer, which is yes). If they couldn't ask, I'd ask for them. Sometimes just that exchange would help. I also taught them the concept of trading.

    Take comfort in the fact that the aggressor will not always remain the same. My low-tone slower-moving twin was the "victim" for awhile, and then she got faster and started attacking her brother. It's gone back and forth over time. And as they get older, it really will get easier. It doesn't mean that one twin is going to be a bully and the other a victim. It's just one of those normal and frustrating things about having twins.


  4. #4
    midebbie is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    Somewhat of an age thing.. they learn they can express themselves in new ways . 2yo to 3yo was the worst IMO. In my case, it was the smaller boy (more aggressive) picking on the bigger (more sensitive) one.

    I just repeat "It is not OK to hit/bite/shove/kick/insert other offensive behavior here. It is NEVER okay". If his brother was crying, I make sure to point it out. Then they get a time out, followed by a discussion of why they are in time out, why their behavior is wrong (someone can get badly hurt), what they should do instead (use their words, talk to mom) and then they have to go apologize to the other.

    Certain behavior gets warnings (bad words, stealing toys), others gets immediate time out (hitting/kicking/biting). I make sure to praise good behavior (helping/sharing). And same as Nancy, we reinforce sharing things - whoever has the toy keeps it until they are done (but no toy hogging allowed). If you want to play with it you need to ask to have the next turn. We dont do trades much unless both boys are agreeable to it.

    My boys are now 3.5 and they seem to "get it", although there will always be some issues. Just be consistent with discipline.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    Hi, this will be of no help but I am struggling with the same issue of aggressiveness at age 4 (boys). None of my friends are dealing with this. They all have girls and only one has twins. I am at a loss for what to do next. I dread the moment the fight breaks out and I can't let it go past a moment because biting is involved. I know it's partly a function of age and lack of impulse control (and generally happens when hungry or tired) but I would REALLY like to know if there is anything more I can do than seperate them, take toys away and repeatedly tell them it's not ok to hurt others. They turn on me too and that really makes me upset. I have taken toys as "payment" for aggressive behavior ("I am collecting toy for timeout") and I frequently end up holding the aggressor until the storm has passed as this is the only way to physically stop the aggression. I am generally not a spanking mom but I have swatted butts a few times when they turned the biting on me.

    I am a long time Inciider though I just today found that since I hadn't posted in so long (?) there is a new format and I had to re-register (previously posted on bb2004/05 and Mults as Bon Bon). Please forgive me for having lost touch here! I do miss Inciid support and connections and now with my new laptop, yay!!, I can post during the day

    Thanks for letting me share too. I hope it goes better for you really soon!

    -Bonnie, Sam and Spencer 12/04

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