Compensation

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Categories Behavior, Fraternal, Toddlers

As we sent our daughter into time-out last night, for who knows what offense, my husband made a comment to me. “Do you notice that we almost never put them in time-out at the same time?” And it’s true.  Very seldom do they both behave poorly enough at the same time to warrant simultaneous time-outs.

Even more interesting, at least to me, is what happens during those inexplicable complete meltdowns.  You know the ones, of course.  The tantrum that comes on with no warning, and probably with no trigger event, either.  But they just completely lose it, and for a really, really long time.

Is it just my house, or does the non-melting twin suddenly go on super behavior?

Destroying the fort

Oh, sure. Not every time. We’ve had our share of double tantrums in this house.  But a lot of the time, I find that one kid completely loses it, and the other seems to compensate with a little extra cooperation and a little less whining.  And it’s not a straight personality-difference thing, as it has gone both ways with regards to who is melting and who is walking the straight-and-narrow.

So, is it a twin spidey-sense thing, or do I just have strangely empathetic kids?  Do you notice this happening in your house, that one child seems to compensate for the other’s misbehavior?  Is it always one kid or the other, or do yours switch it up?

One way or another, I’ll be grateful for the fact that sometimes they back off when they see mommy is about to crack. Thanks, kiddos.

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12 thoughts on “Compensation”

  1. I’ve noticed in not only in the kids, but in my husband an myself too. I think its a team mentaility thing. When one melts down the other one picks up the slack.

  2. I’ve actually asked my kids about this. They say that they behave extra well when sister is having a meltdown because it’s too noisy and they don’t like being noisy. I think what they mean is that seeing precisely how ridiculous a melt-down looks is a reminder not to have one … a reminder they soon forget.

    We do sometimes have simultaneous timeouts, but it’s usually because they’ve worked out some devious plan to misbehave together.
    .-= Sadia´s last blog ..Assumptions =-.

  3. I’ve always seen this as competition instead of compensation. As in, “Look over here ma; look how GOOD I am.” It is as if they are taking advantage of how awful the one is being in order to hightlight what goodness they are capable of.

    Of course, some see me as a glass-half-empty sort of person as well…
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Happy New Year =-.

  4. Mine are totally the same way. Before Christmas, we had a school morning from hell with one of my girls. Wouldn’t make her bed, wouldn’t pick out clothes, wouldn’t put on clothes. My other daughter had completed her morning “chores” and was free to play. Instead, she cleaned the entire upstairs of our house. She organized the shoes in everyone’s closets, dusted under furniture, wiped down the surfaces in two bathrooms with disinfectant wipes and straightened up misplaced items. She is not even five. I felt bad for her and kept telling her she didn’t have to do it.
    I too wondered if it was a “Look, Mommy, I am so well behaved.” Or is it a “Poor Mommy. She’s about to blow a gasket. I should be helpful to her.”
    Like my husband said, “Thank goodness they take turns!”

  5. It is extremely rare that both of mine are upset or “melting down” at the same time. I have one who is more feisty than the other. My feisty one makes most of the noise and has acted out way more. My other one get in plenty of mischief, but they DO take turns and when I am dealing with one’s problem, the other IS quiet and behaving while my back is turned (thank goodness).

  6. We have this in our house too – the girls will take turns with the meltdowns, which is a total blessing because simultaneous screaming makes me a little crazy. We also happen to have one that is much more of a screamer than the other – but it doesn’t seem to affect the “lesser-screamer” one bit. Even at nap time – it’s like they get so used to each others noises they just continue on their merry way.

    The only problem we have is with mischievous behavior. Playing on the stairs (beyond the 2nd step) and pressing the TV setting buttons are a deal breaker in our house – it’ll land you in the playpen for a minute or 2. But, if one girl gets a time out for breaking the rule and is put in the playpen, you can bet that within 3 seconds the other child is running to test out if she can get away with it.

  7. Mine definitely are on good behavior when one is in a time out. But the thing I’ve noticed most is a lot of times they act up just for a time out. Tonight one of my daughters was misbehaving and I gave her a warning that she was about to go to her room. She smiled and said she would like some alone time. Tantrum over.
    .-= Quadmama´s last blog ..The Not-So-Fun Part of Bedtime =-.

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