Fairy-tale childhood is a twin battle of wills


Dear Amy: I have twin 10-year-olds who are constantly at war.

They can’t stand it if things are unfair. If one gets more than the other, it turns into World War III, and I jump into the middle to make things fair.

For example, I will use a food scale to make sure they get exactly the same portion of any food I give them, and I make sure that they get the same number of gifts.

I know that life’s not fair. But I’d like to let them have a little bit of respite before the world shows them how life really is.

I like letting them believe in Santa or the tooth fairy. I want them to stay in childhood as long as they can.

Where’s the line?

— Twin Mom

Dear Mom: First this: Parenting twins is hard work!

However, your desire to give your twins a “respite” from the reality of the world will have the unintended consequence of unleashing two aggressive adolescents who don’t have the motivation or ability to control their emotions.

They have instead trained you to take extraordinary measures to appease them, and your efforts to give them a fairy-tale childhood have resulted in World War III. Not quite what you had in mind.

I suggest that this is really all about you. You are having trouble regulating your own anxieties and feelings. You can work on this by becoming conscious of your own physical and emotional reactions when you fear things are going south. Your heart races, your breath quickens. Slow it down, calm yourself, and see if you can … let things happen.


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