We have 4-year-old fraternal twins and the following issue: ever since they were born, one was the "bigger" one, simply put, he's (currently) better at almost everything than his brother (be it reading, writing, sports etc.).

As such I don't think the difference is really an issue, life is long after all; however my concern is that the other one starts having issues with that. He becomes mad every time his brother does something better or beats him at bicycle races or whatever (he wants himself to enter the race but abandons it as soon as he sees his brother being faster). We try to push him or congratulate him, however it's hard not to congratulate his brother as well (Like but I can count to 100...).

It's also sometimes hard to get his attention as he often likes to play "dog" or cat instead of focusing on what you just happen to tell him...

Any idea on how to deal with all that?

2 Answers 2


It is in our nature to be jealous. I noticed similar problems with my kiddos. However, I then noticed how I "congratulated" them and such, and realized I was creating the jealousy. I've since switched to a "right on, the more you practice the better you both will get" kind of accolade for almost all situations. Even when it is just 1 kid doing something while the other is on the other side of the house, I will tell him good job, keep practicing and you will get even better!

It took a fair amount of that but we did eventually see their behavior change. There will still be little bits here and there, but Wifey and I are pretty happy with the results.

Also keep in mind that your kiddos are different people. They will respond differently to situations.

EDIT: I want to emphasize the word practice. In everything we do, we could consider it practicing. Every day we go to work, we "practice" and get better at our job. Eventually we will get good enough for a raise. When we exercise, we "practice" the exercises, and we get better over time. When your kids ride their bike, they are practicing, and no matter what their skill levels are, they will each get better at their own rate.

  • 2
    Exactly this. Praise effort, not success. One thing I've also added is that when I see one of my twins winning/succeeding where they previously were frustrated, I will attribute the win to practice and/or persistence. "You've won, good job, see that you can do it if you just keep trying?" This can be hard when one seems to be "just better" at everything, but being consistent with this pays off... eventually.
    – Cyrus
    May 16, 2016 at 19:50
  • There is no hard-fast rule as each kid is different, but I try really hard to avoid the word, "won", or "winning", etc... That word is bound to cause jealousy in any situation. Heck, I've had a friends kid doing something with my kid, turn around and say "I won!" in a snooty way, and I got pissed for my kid :)
    – Jeff.Clark
    May 16, 2016 at 21:06

LMAO, my Mother actually encouraged my twin brother and I to compete against eachother. It started as toddlers with the bathtub and a stopwatch. Who could finish first (no shortcuts)? It turned it into a game. As we've aged, the competition has continued, but always in good humor. My favorite is the hot spice (salsa, tobasco style sauces) and who can last the longest.

Twins begin to understand that they develop different interests that they can excell at on their own. But for now, while they are young, praise them for their individual acheivements and turn the competitions into games where they play off eachother. One might be faster on a bike, the other might score points for the best skid, or wearing his helmet without being reminded.

In the end, they'll be fine.

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