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John-Michaels
John-Michaels, Counselor (LPC)
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 562
Experience:  25+ years working with familes and 6 children of my own.
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I have twin sisters that are now 11, they have always gotten

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I have twin sisters that are now 11, they have always gotten along so well. In fact, their elementary school broke their own rules and allowed them to be in the classroom in the 4th and 5th grade because they got along as regular friends; not overly relying on each other and not fighting like sisters would.

Well, that's all changing. Its the summer after 5th grade and they just keep pushing each others buttons. The millions of stupid arguments like "don't look at me" and "she's not listening to me." Whatever is asked of them, they seem to intentionally choose different answers and makes it very hard to do anything (I have two boys too, so no one ever agrees to do anything ever).

So, I figure they won't always get along.. but how do I help guide them through this part of their life? Right now, all I can think of is tell them to "work it out" by alternating or flipping a coin or something. And when they fight, I send them to clean something for a 1/2 hour.

HELP! !!! :)
Hello! I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and have six children of my own. Note, this is not therapy, but advice. I hope I can be a help to you. I would say for one, you are correct in your assumption. Siblings do have these times when they fight for space. That is complicated even more in twins. Be patient, they will not always get along. You also cannot force then to get along. I would say they are probably going through the stage in their life when they are trying to prove their independence of each other. The primary strategy I can think of is allowing and encouraging their independence. Find out what Interests each has and encourage them to pursue that interest apart from the other. They each sound like they need some me time. Encourage that they get it. Another thought is encourage them to talk out their problems. Do not get involved at all unless it is totally necessary. They need to learn to work these things out without intervention. I hope I have been informative and helpful. If you have a question or comment, please state it here before you rate me. I do want to help you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

> Another thought is encourage them to talk out their problems. Do not get involved at all unless it is totally necessary. They need to learn to work these things out without intervention.

Currently, their method for working it out is to go back-and-forth saying the same thing "is too" -- "is not" kind of thing getting louder and louder until one of them screems at the top of their lungs and the other one stomps off crying. Typically, these roles are cast as girl-A does the yelling and girl-B does the crying.

This doesn't seem like they will learn to work it out using this model. When in this process would you get involved and what would you say and ask them to do...

Well, there needs to be consequences if they can't work it out on their own. I am a proponent of natural consequences. They both sound guilty by the way. Natural consequences would depend on the activity. An example might be if they are arguing over a TV show, revoke TV privileges for a couple hours. If they are arguing over chores, increase the chores. They will hopefully eventually get the point. Don't over punish them, but stick to your guns. Leave room for further consequences in the future. Don't back down. Dont give them a choice but to work it out or pay the price. I still propose they are searching for their independence. Find a way to get them some time and activity on their own. By the way, it is pretty awesome that they have a sister that takes such responsibility. Dont give up. It seems you are doing a good job. Remember, if you have any questions ask them here. If you find my response at least "Informative and helpful", please rate it so, so I can be compensated for my time. I hale I have been a help Thank you!
John-Michaels and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Hi! I appreciate you allowing me to help you maybe arrive at a solution the other day. I hope I was helpful. Let me know if I can help you in any other way.

John Michaels, MS, LPC