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How do you give your children equal attention?

(3 Posts)
sandyballs Thu 06-Jan-05 10:46:25

I have twin dds who will be four in a couple of months. One of them (dd1) has always been a mummy's girl and still follows me around everywhere, wanting loads of kisses and fuss, the other (dd2) has always been more willing to get on with things on her own, quite happy to play by herself, although I have obviously played with her and ensured she has plenty of kisses and cuddles even though she never seeks them.

However, DD2s behaviour the last few weeks has been awful, shouting at me, screaming and stamping with rage at the slightest thing, threatening to spit at me and I have tried all sorts to improve things (star charts, with-holding toys etc) without much success - this is only towards me, not DH or anyone else.

Yesterday DH and I had a good chat about her behaviour and he said it was obvious to him that she is very jealous of her sister. He said that every time DD2 tries to get my attention DD1 draws it away from her somehow, by either pretending to hurt herself, or saying she needs to go to toilet with me, even though she can manage by herself. When I sit with DD2 to do a jigsaw or a game DD1 will steal a bit and deliberately mess it up so I can't play with DD2.

Sorry I'm rambling here but I just feel depressed that I haven't seen all this before - it all seems to blindingly obvious now it's been pointed out but how can I improve things? How does everyone else manage to split their time/attention between their children if one is so much more demanding. I feel so sorry for my poor little DD2, I would hate her growing up thinking I didn't love her as much.

Eulalia Thu 06-Jan-05 11:17:11

Hi Sandyballs. I am a twin and I know how hard it is for parents to try and give individual time. We were quite different, my sister was the dominant one always demanding attention whereas I was quieter and more resourceful. However as we have grown up its become obvious that her behaviour was actually due to insecurity. It is so hard for a twin to establish their identity with another person constantly there.

It sounds like you are doing a great job but don't try too hard to play with them individually until you can actually physically do it with your dh/dp there. Try to encourage them to play together with their own games - I guess they do play well together?

I doubt if one twin or the other will feel less loved. I didn't feel this but did resent the extra attention my twin got and felt that she was a favourite. The only way thinking back that this could have been avoided is if my parents tried to draw me out of myself more. They assumed that because I was quiet that I was OK which I was of course but over time it did lead to me being terribly shy. Sorry don't want to give you my life story here!

Try not to get angry with your dds as 4 is a difficult age. I think you need to be firm and just try the usual techniques such as reinforcing positive behaviour, ignoring negative etc...

If I can think of anything more constructive I'll let you know. It is all such a long time ago now!

lisalisa Thu 06-Jan-05 11:22:53

Message withdrawn

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