Learn 6 rules to keep your cool when dealing with the drama of teen twins, from a mom who has been there with her twin teenage girls.
Let’s face it, you haven’t really lived until you’ve witnessed your sweet, responsible, laid-back 15-year-old girl ball up her fist and punch her sister in the head, and then help her with her math homework all in the same hour. But, that’s teen twins for ya. They share a love I can’t explain and a fight with a viciousness I can’t even begin to understand.
Sometimes, it’s downright frightening, to be honest. I’m the self-proclaimed queen of the “take it upstairs” moms, but even I have my limits. It seems my teen twins have taken it as their personal mission to test those limits at every turn.
I’ve found a few ways to hang on to my sanity as we finish out these last few years at home before they head off to college. Here are my six rules to keep your cool with teen twins.
1. Pick your battles.
In our house, every battle isn’t worth fighting. If they’re fighting over who’s turn it is to take out the garbage, I let them hash it out. If they’re arguing about who gets to shower first, let them work it out of their own.
It’s good for your teen twins to learn to manage these situations on their own and by the time the teen years hit, you’ll be fighting with them near constantly if you step in each time they disagree. Do everything you can to avoid getting involved unless it’s absolutely necessary. I often achieve this by telling them to “take it upstairs.”
2. Try not to yell.
OK, OK, OK. Stop yelling at me saying not to yell. I get it. It happens. I yell. We all yell from time to time. I’m certainly not suggesting a parent NEVER yell. Please, I’m not completely insane.
I’m saying to be selective. Most situations probably don’t really warrant a rise in your voice and blood pressure. If you don’t yell often, it will probably mean more when you do.
The surprising benefit to this strategy is that when you do yell, you get the joy of watching the kids scurry around in fear for at least a few minutes. It’s kinda fun.
3. No hands.
Remember when I said to try and stay out of disagreements between your teen twins? Yeah, when they put hands on each other, all bets are off. You didn’t think I just sat on the couch laughing when my girl punched her sister, did you? Once the horror wore off I snatched her arm up and sent her to her room after making her apologize.
Once they were out of sight I laughed a little to myself, but that’s a whole other matter. Obviously, just because it’s a rule doesn’t mean my teen twins will never do it. They look at it the same way I do yelling. It’s reserved for special occasions. If they know they’re going to get into trouble, it had better be worth it.
4. Set clear expectations.
Make sure your teens know what their boundaries and responsibilities are. And work up to them. Don’t decide you’ll run around cleaning up after them until they turn 14 and now they have to do laundry and cooking and bathrooms and garbage. That won’t work. Have them start now when they’re young.
Also, don’t decide they suddenly at 17 have to abide by that curfew you half-heartedly put into place at 14. Be consistent with the rules. That’s the only way they take rules seriously. Let’s be honest, the whole point of the teen years is to push those boundaries. We get the pleasure of enforcing them.
5. Always remember that the teen years are God’s way of helping parents let go.
Close your eyes and imagine yourself in the hospital with your two sweet, snuggly little newborns. Now, imagine you go home and within just a couple of years, they take 2-hour afternoon naps and proudly scribble pictures just for you to hang on the refrigerator. They love telling stories and giving you big, never-ending hugs and blowing bubbles in the backyard.
Imagine sending that kid four hours away to college. AHHHH! Not happening!
That’s why they have to become mouthy, messy, loud teenagers. By the time you’re done dealing with five years of teen twins, you’re ready for them to go. It’s time for all of you to have a nice semester-long break from one another. Keep this in mind now, more than ever.
6. Take it all in.
Before I know it, my girls will be making the trek to the dorms. Most days the thought of driving away and leaving them at college literally makes me sick to my stomach. The thought of seeing their bedrooms empty of endless cups and chip bags makes me want to cry.
Who will I drive to practice and school? Who will ignore my existence for hours and then interrupt me every 3 minutes of my 25 minutes phone conversation with silly questions that most definitely could have waited?
Most days, I wouldn’t trade these sweet young ladies of mine for anything in the world. The days when I don’t feel that way, I remind myself of this and I suggest you do the same.
I’m soaking up each and every high school experience. I go to all the parent meetings, let them play sports, and go to dances. It’s exhausting because, if I’m being honest, I’d much rather be watching TV and working on the mounting pile of projects that have piled up around the house. But, we only have them for three more years. The last 15 years have gone by in what seems like minutes and I know I won’t be ready to let them go when the time comes.
Despite them making me absolutely crazy at times, they make me laugh every day. As parents of teens, we just have to hang on to the laughter to get through these crazy teen years. I’m in the trenches with you. As Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games says, “May the odds be ever in your favor!”
Megan Loden is a stay home home mom to twins — identical 14 year old girls — and an 11 year old son. She, her husband, and kids live just outside of Phoenix. Her writing can also be found on Bluntmoms, sammichesandpsychmeds and scarymommy. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.