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Ask a Professional: 18yr old twin girls constantly arguing

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Ask a Professional: 18yr old twin girls constantly arguing

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Ask a Professional: 18yr old twin girls constantly arguing

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I have two 18yr old girls who are proving to be so hard at the moment, being a single mother for most of their lives I have never seen or wished this at all. I am now at breaking point. How do you manage 18yr old girls in today’s world? I have always been there for both of them but am now being told that I have always favoured one. I don’t believe in myself that I have ever done this but the one says I do.

They are just constantly fighting between them, whether it be over clothes, boys,friends, vapes. There is always something. The one is sitting back and just copping everything as the other one is mainly doing everything as in her words “I like drama and being petty” this is now the one who is saying I favour the other child.

I am at my wits end and I suspect that there is a lot of bad influence coming in from a so-called “best friend “ of whom I have heard bad things. I am trying to separate them but being 18 this proves to be so hard as a parent nowadays as I don’t believe we have many rights.

All I want is for both my girls to succeed in life.


Dear @Headspacegone,

It can be so challenging trying to support both teens when they aren’t getting along. No wonder you are feeling overwhelmed. It also sounds like your daughter’s statement about you favouring one of them came out of the blue.

I’m wondering if you have had the opportunity to talk to your daughter and try to understand why she feels that you favour her sister?

This type of chat works best at a time when you’re both feeling calm and have time to talk things through. When you and your child have a very different perspective on something and you’re seeking to understand their perspective, it’s important to focus on listening and acknowledging what they are saying, without arguing against their interpretation of events.

This doesn’t mean that you need to agree - it's okay to see things differently! Showing genuine interest in understanding why she feels this way can do two things - it can show her that you care about how she is feeling, and it can give you more information about what is happening for her. This might give you some ideas about ways you could help her feel supported.

It may be a good idea to also have a separate chat with your other daughter, to make sure you are considering the perspective of them both.

You mention that your daughters are constantly arguing, and it sounds like this is really exhausting for you. I’m wondering what would happen if you took a step back and left it to the two of them to negotiate these disagreements and their relationship?

I’m not recommending that this is necessarily the right fit for you and your family - I don’t have enough information on the situation for this specific kind of advice. The reason I mention it is that sometimes the more involved the parent is in this situation, the less need teens feel to work things out, because they know that their parent will step in. Learning how to negotiate conflict independently is a really important skill for a young adult. Of course, sometimes it is necessary to be involved, such as when there is bullying or abusive behaviour.

If things are feeling really stuck, and another option to consider is professional support such as family counselling - a professional could help you explore the family dynamic as a whole, and help the three of you work out how you can all get along better. Relationships Australia has services throughout Australia, or your GP may be able to recommend someone locally.

Best wishes,


Linda is a psychologist experienced in working with people across the lifespan, including teenagers and their families, in a variety of settings, and is ReachOut's Clinical Lead.