Being the parent of twins can be twice the challenge and at the same time twice the joy. Contrary to popular myth they are not all alike, but can still be double the trouble sometimes for their parents. Here’s one mom’s trouble with her twin boys.
Dear Dr. Ann,
Thank you for your time and expertise during our phone consultation. I can see that teaching my one twin boy, Roberto, to manage his anger and disappointment is going to be a long process, but I think we are on the right track now thanks to you.
So you know both my 6-1/2 year old twin boys are lovable bundles of energy, as they go back and forth between behaving and being naughty all day long.
Breakfast is a good example: Come to breakfast when I call them (behaving) Leave the table several times during the meal (naughty) Eat breakfast and bus their dishes (behaving)Go play without brushing their teeth (naughty)
I give lots of high fives during the times they are behaving. But by the time we get around to the possibility of a reward or losing it, I have several check marks on both the naughty and behaving lists.
On a busy day, it seems we have a long list of naughty behaviors to tie to consequences and a few good behaviors I definitely want to reward. And there may only be time for one reward and one consequence. So do I “read” the list of good behaviors that earned the reward when I award it, and “read” the list of naughty behaviors when they lose a privilege?
I cannot apply any consequences until after school, and in the meantime, dozens of other behaviors (good and bad) have taken place. How do I tie it all together?
Yes, list the ‘good’ behaviors when YOU do stuff with them as a reward. But, no, do not ‘list the naughty’ behaviors. Remember you want as little interaction with them as possible surrounding the ‘naughty’ behaviors. Don’t talk so much about the ‘naughty’ behaviors or give them any kind of relationship when they misbehave.
There is a huge difference between STOPPING a behavior vs. CHANGING a behavior. You will stop naughty behavior with negative consequences, but the only way you change naughty behavior is through showing/teaching your kids that they get a relationship with you when they behave appropriately.
Always remember it is not the ‘things’ (i.e. video games) you give or take away from your kids that teach them how to have respect behaviors, it is your presence in their lives.