How to Keep Twins From Fighting

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - February 17, 2020

This question is something that each of us with twins struggles with regardless of the age as soon as they start interacting with each other. “How do you stop twins from fighting?”

Twins fighting

If your twins aren’t fighting yet, just wait, and it’ll start.

They may fight because they’re always together, they’re in the same space, they’re the same age, or perhaps have conflicting dispositions. Regardless of the reason, your twins will end up fighting one way or another.

Redirection and Reinforcement

Here are a couple of things that you can try to help keep your twins from fighting.

First is calmly tell them that when they fight they cannot be with each other.

We used this multiple times with both our twins and their older brothers as well.

If they are doing something that isn’t appropriate we’ll separate them and then redirect them to other activities.

Twin Gender Predictor Calculator

For example, I’d say “When you fight (or when you hit or when you kick) you cannot be with us.” And we’ll then separate them and move them to something else.

This also leverages an important technique called the “distraction technique” which works wonders, especially when your kids are very young. They may want something or to do something but you can easily put a new shiny object in front of them and it gets their mind off of what they were fighting about.

Prevent Your Twins from Fighting

Don’t just think about how to keep twins from fighting in the moment of fighting. You can prevent fighting before it begins through how you interact with your twins during the rest of the day.

(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)

For example, when they are playing nicely together, praise them for their good behavior and the behavior that you want to see them doing. Acknowledge what they’re doing right. This could be through verbal praise, it could be through a pat on the back, it could be through a high-five or a treat or whatever you want to do.

Reinforcing good behavior will then encourage them to want that approval and that reward in the future instead of seeking your attention through fighting.

Let Your Twins Be Different

Another thing that you can do to prevent fighting is to not force your twins to do everything together. Make sure that they’re allowed to have their own individual space and time and interest in activities.

Let them pursue their different hobbies or interests that they may have. For example, with our girls, we put them both in soccer together and one of our girls loved it and the other didn’t dropped out in favor of another activity.

Twin Gender Predictor Calculator

Don’t pile on your twins with unnecessary comparisons. It’s going to be very easy to compare one twin against the other, how one is behaving against the other. Don’t try to foster that feeling of comparison of who’s better than the other. That may trickle down to the twins where they then use that against each other in their fights and their verbal disagreements.

So how can you stop your twins from fighting? In the moment, separate them, and set expectations.

Before the fight begins make sure you praise good behavior and encourage good situations where fighting won’t be something that they would want to do.

This topic was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Episode 68: Unbalanced Attention, Twin Nursery, Stop Fighting. Picture by Donnie Ray Jones.

(RELATED: Expecting twins? Avoid these 4 critical mistakes expectant twin parents make.)

Further Reading

Dad's Guide to Raising Twins book
Don't forget to pick up a copy of the definitive guide to raising twins. "Dad's Guide to Raising Twins" was written for fathers of twins to help guide you through the first several years with twins. Click here to learn more about the book and get your copy.

3 thoughts on “How to Keep Twins From Fighting”

  1. I value your input, but I do think there is value in teaching kids constructive fighting and problem solving skills. My twin girls are 4 years old and when they fight I tell them to calm down and work it out together with respect for each other (of course using language at their level). I get concerned that if I distract them all the time when fighting, that they will develop conflict avoidance skills when I want them to chose their battles and face the ones they fight head on. Does that make sense? Of am I setting myself up for a lifetime of therapy bills?

    Thanks for your consideration.

    Mary
    mom to 4 year old Camilla and Isabelle

    Reply
    • @Mary – you’re right in that we need to help our twins develop the skills to solve their own problems. When our twins’ fights escalate to where they could physically harm themselves or another, we tend to separate. By the time they are 4 like your twins, they should be able to better regulate themselves. When twins are very young like pre-toddler, they aren’t yet mature enough to sort it out and the distraction technique works great.

      Reply
  2. Our twins are 10 months old…surely encouraging good behaviour and telling them not to fight does not work here being this very young. I desperately need advice that’s appropriate for their age…it is urgent!

    Reply

Leave a Comment