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twin 12yr old DS's fighting all the time, at the end of my tether!

(35 Posts)
bubby64 Thu 27-Dec-12 22:27:15

Title says it all really, they have always fought, but it is now getting very physical, and they are actually injuring each other. I have tried stopping it, I have put them on various bans, including removing phones, Xbox and other items, but it makes no real difference. DH is also losing it with them , and has ended up yelling at them almost asmmuch as they yell at each other. Both their bedroom doors have been broken from being slammed, DH quite rightly refuses to fix them. It turns out that they have also been fighting at school, which we thought we had stopped by getting them put in different forms.
Any advice how to stop this anyone.

bubby64 Tue 22-Jan-13 23:12:44

Hi. We have continued to have a hard time of it too, and I have now contacted their school and spoken to the councillor and she has given me the details of a positive parenting course for DH and I to attend to see if it can give us any help in dealing with things. She has also said they can set up some sessions for both of them at school to do with anger management and family responsibilities. Whether they will gain anything from this, I dont know, but at least they will have to attend
I have recently resorted to turning off all electricals, and they both shout and yell at me, saying "why am I being punished when it is his fault!!"
I am replying "As I am not psychic, I cannot tell who "started" it, but, at the moment both of you are displaying bad behaviour, so that is why it is a joint punishment!"

bubby64 Tue 22-Jan-13 23:19:16

By the way blog and fish, if you want to join us other mums of multiples on here, you would be most welcome, these ladies have been lifesavers for me at times, they undestand the chaotic world of a mum of multiples!!

swanthingafteranother Wed 23-Jan-13 10:29:20

Sibling Rivalry by same people who wrote How To Talk (Faber) has a long running script about fighting...she eventually gets to it near end of book, but what she shows is that fighting is really the tip of iceberg in terms of the dynamics in a family...there is so much that precedes it and makes it inevitable.

I've really felt things turn around here this week. I don't know what it is, but I've realised that I just got so upset when they were fighting that I couldn't be a parent. Last night Ds1 (12)had a hissy fight about something I asked him to do, and instead of feeling offended that he was shouting at me, I just decided it was going to pass in 2 mins if I stayed calm. And it did. And he did what he was told because I stayed calm and assertive. Dd was rude to me about some cardboard boxes and instead of wilting or shouting back at her I said I didn't like her talking in that rude way but I nevertheless answered her question in a reasonable way, and reassured her that I would deal with the boxes in due course, when it suited me. Usually I would have just felt crushed that she was so rude all the time. They want me to be a strong parent. They feel safe when I let them know if their behaviour is good. And that allows them to cope with me telling them off at other points or laying down the law. But basically they just want me to be nice to them!! That is what they NEED in order to cope with all the boundary stuff.

bubby64 Wed 23-Jan-13 13:29:37

You are right swan, I find if I back off slightly, don't go in face to face in full on tirade, they calm down quicker. I have read and taken on board advice given on Mnet to other parents, and I now find myself saying more and more "you think about what you have done/ want to do/ want someone else to do, (whichever is appropriate) and then come and talk to me in a calm manner, and we will look at it together. until you can do that, I am not getting involved. if you think the the way you are dealing with this is correct, you then accept the consequences" Then I walk away. The first time I did this, I thought, "that's it, it wont work and they are going to continue hurting each other" but I was amazed when they did stop fighting, and 10 minutes later they both came down and asked me to mediate in the argument. I agreed, but only if they accepted my decision. I doesn't always work, but it has certainly put them on the back foot on occasions, and they seem not to fight quite so much, but I am still hoping that the school can also come up with some positive initiative s as well.

BlogOnTheTyne Wed 23-Jan-13 13:47:51

So what do I do in this situation? Last night, I was upstairs and DTs downstairs sitting side by side at their PCs. I hear screaming from DT2. He suhes out of the room to me shouting, "DT1 HIT my leg for NO reason! Tell him off, Mummy!"

I tried not to rush into the situation but walked down and said to DT1, "DT2 says you hit him on the leg for no reason. Can you tell me what happened?" DT1 said he HADN'T hit DT2, hadn't touched him at all. I asked him why he thought DT2 would have screamed out and rushed to get me, looking uspet/ tearful, if nothing at all had happened? DT1 said he didn't know. I said had DT2 been provoking him and this had made him feel the need to hit out?

DT1 was adamant that he hadn't touched DT2 at all. By now, DT2 was very distressed and tearful and I was - once again - feeling confused about what to do.

Clearly, DT2 is certain that he's bene hit - unprovoked - by DT1. DT1 is certain he hasn't touched DT2. I'm not there to witness anything. If I do nothing, DT2 feels unprotected, upset, angry now with me and furious with his twin who, in his mind, has 'got away with it'. If I punish DT1 - and if he hasn't actually done anything at all - then DT1 feels I'm picking on him and blaming him for something he hasn't done.

I explain to DTs that it's very difficult as I wasn't there and can't be sure what happened - but I'm thinking, inside, that surely DT1 MUST have done something to DT2, otherwise why would DT2 rush out crying and come and get me?

I suggest that DT2 comes to be with me and leaves DT on his own, so nothing more can happen. He refuses. I'm clearly feeling angry with DT1 now and this feeling pervades the atmosphere for about an hour. I also feel guilty about this because I can't be at all sure if DT1 did anything at all and guilty about DT2 feeling nothing has been done to punish DT1 for the alleged offence!

On the good side, at least I didn't lose my temper this time. On the bad side, if they refuse to be in separate places when unsupervised, these 'incidents' will continue to happen and what do i then do?

Everyone was fine again with each other by bedtime - which is always the case, thankfully but it's very wearing and I still haven't got a creative solution to responding to unwitnessed, alleged 'aggression'????

bubby64 Wed 23-Jan-13 14:40:56

I have this, usually when playing Xbox together. one swears blind he has been hit, the other is just as adamant he has not hit him, it sounds like your 2 and mine were quads separated at birth!grin
I now say to the hitee, (Y) "if you have been hit for no reason, then you will be willing to come away from X and leave him on his own so you don't get hit again, I know it means you moving, but that way you will feel safe, and I will be reassured that you are not being injured." This is easier if they are on laptops, as he can move away and still continue with what he was enjoying.
If they are sharing an item, such as X box, I usually give one last warning, that I don't want to hear about anyone hitting/injuring the other, if so, playing together is obviously not possible, and I will turn off and take away Xbox for xxx period, that will protect you Y, from being hurt, and stop you X from getting blamed for hurting him.
That way, you are not taking sides, but, hopefully sorting the problem. Sounds easy, but, in real life it's hard, especially when they start to blame you , by screaming in your face, and all you are trying to do is mediate!sad sad . Mine tend to gang up on me at this point, but I say "I am the adult, and I am choosing to walk away" which I do.

swanthingafteranother Wed 23-Jan-13 14:45:04

we have this all the time with our two dss who aren't twins. Ds2 (who is ASD) complains that Ds1 (12) said annoying things to him to wind him up. Or that ds1 has hurt him. Ds1 doesn't have to do much to annoy ds2 and he knows it, so it is his fault but what he actually says or does, boils down to la la or na na, or a little tiny brush against some part of ds2's body. But ds2 is acutely sensitive and feels v upset. We usually take ds2's side. But it had been getting worse and worse and I think we had been unwittingly deepening ds1's desire to get attention by annoying ds2, and his feelings of aggression/frustration towards him. He wanted the attention ds2 (ASD) was getting you see! grin

We used to respond by separating them, telling one or other of them off for over reacting or being "mean" to other. That didn't work. Now we have simple rules about personal space and only letting people into your bedroom "territory" if you are invited. But also we try and encourage things they can do together without quarrelling. We try and tell themSo ds1 reads to ds2 (David Walliams - showing off and talking without the rudeness), he plays tennis with him (physical wrestling without the aggro) or they chat about football whilst watching it together WITH AN ADULT PRESENT. Or last resort is we send them off on a walk together. We have only tried that recently, to our amazement ds1 actually looked after ds2 instead of insulting him or winding him up when an adult wasn't present, if the adult seemed to show confidence in his ability to look after his brother rather than telling him off for being mean to him...

bubby64 Wed 23-Jan-13 14:46:50

One thing I have notice blog, and I don't know if you think the same, but, compared to most of their friends, my 2 seem quite immature in their behaviour, especially when at home together, where the behaviour is almost mirrored. They try to act more mature when out with said friends, but I know it's an act, not them actually growing up!

swanthingafteranother Wed 23-Jan-13 15:16:48

so true Bubbly the ganging up shock smile It is almost as if they weren't at odds in the first place when they decide YOU the parent are to blame for everything.

Sibling Rivalry has a long chapter on resolving fights, step by step. It explains when to intervene and how to intervene, sentence by sentence. It doesn't advocate leaving them to sort out their own fights at all when physical violence is involved, but mediating in a productive way. I think you have to read it to see the point. And to be honest I only just clicked what it was really saying, after thinking about some of the issues on this thread.

I suppose the main thing to remember is that children always "act out their feelings" so nothing will change longterm unless you find out why they feel so cross with each other, or if in fact they do; maybe they are cross about something else, not each other at all.

swanthingafteranother Wed 23-Jan-13 15:24:41

Blog if dt2 doesn't want to leave dt1, even if as you describe he has complained of being hurt, in effect he doesn't want to solve the problem even though you have presented him with a solution. Mine do that. It can only mean they enjoy fighting on some subconscious level, or are getting some feedback which is otherwise lacking.

If you were in an unpleasant situation and someone told you walk away, what reason would you have for staying? He wants to get on better with dt1 but doesn't know how to. He would rather fight with him than be alone. Ds1 will sometimes climb stairs to seek out ds2 and annoy him, when he could be doing ANYTHING else but for some reason doesn't.

I'm still trying to figure it out really confused

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