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My Two-Year-Old Twins Are Having Tantrums!


April, 2004

By Cheryl Lage

QUESTION:

My two-year-old twins are having tantrums. Any advice on how to handle them?

ANSWER:

Tantrums are undoubtedly the most challenging and most-dreaded "milestones" of two-year-old behavior.

And with twins? You've got twice the tantrums to contend with!

Fortunately, the adults you see having throw-down/kicking/screaming/hitting fits are few, which means the reactive behavior can be "unlearned". Hopefully, you can speed that unlearning process with your twosome.

My beloved hubby and I in our early twin parenting naivete declared, "Our kids may have A tantrum, but they'll not have a second!" Needless to say, we were wrong.

Here's the trick: No matter when or where a tantrum occurs, be prepared to react with the same, firm, immediate, and most importantly, CONSISTENT response. Whether it is a time-out (isolated & contained safely with no stimuli), or a temporary "taking away" of a toy, privilege or freedom...they will learn that the tantrum-esque behavior will not be accepted.

Don't be overly optimistic. It is highly unlikely that the tantrums will instantaneously come to a screeching halt. They may not even slow down. There are reflexive angers when you don't get your way. Throughout life there are occasions when we don't get our way. Best to learn alternative behaviors early on. Help your kids out by letting them know their current response is an unacceptable one.

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Warning: YOU MUST BE CONSISTENT!!! Especially with twins. They will watch to see how you respond to their partner. Waver even once from your predictable corrective response, and you can plan on starting over from scratch.

Avoid the common trend of attempting to figure out the "why's & how-comes" of tantrums. It doesn't really matter in the long run. Psychobabble often glosses over the unavoidable: Tantrums happen. If you "get lazy" and don't respond with some type of pre-determined and predictable correction, the era of tantrums will last far longer in your household.

All that said, my son had a flailing, swatting, howling tantrum only 2 hours ago. My response was the immediate confinement to his crib, as it has been in the many instances before.

The tantrums haven't stopped in our house, but we are starting to hear apologies. We're hoping that's progress.

Wishing you energy, courage, and a rapid set of "unlearners"!

Feel free to contact me with your experiences in twin potty-training, or with any twin parenting dilemnas you may have at http://www.twinsights.com. I hope to hear from you!

© Cheryl Lage, 2004-present
Author of "Twinspiration: Real-Life Advice From Pregnancy Through the First Year" from Taylor Trade Publishing (2006), Cheryl is a fully-mobile, full-time mom to four-year-old fraternal twins, Darren and Sarah. Cheryl's unabashed honesty, vigilantly supportive style, and willingness to share "what works" have made her a requested speaker on a broad range of topics, twin-related, and otherwise. Check out her website @ twinsights.com.

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