Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This material reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein

Also available in:

"I Am Not Scared" Project

Homepage > Case Studies > Document

Case Studies


Twins' disputes

  • Direct bullying
  • Indirect bullying
  • Non-especific

The described bullying event occurred in 2011 between twin sisters. One of the twins takes responsibility for both of them and continuously controls everything the other twin does by means of words and actions. Another sister, less capable of controlling herself and behaving correctly, rebels against her sister:
The first sister likes authority, in every possible way is trying to manage the class, teachers, and social educators, and is confident of her authority, which, unfortunately, in recent times degraded. The first sister thinks she is the victim, during interviews class and social educators tried to find out more about this unpleasant situation, but due to different opinions and the persistent disagreement the pedagogical-psychological aid had not been accepted.


The head of the school, class teacher and social educators monitor, coordinate the behavior of the girls‘, but it is difficult to maintain the cordial and open relationship. Sixteen-year-olds teenagers do not realize the meaning of psychological-care, assistance and communication. The twins believe they are independent and give hard time for people who want to get close to them.


High self-esteem, resistance to the sister's lead. Whereas previously the girls perfectly agreed during adolescence the changed views on the human values has led to confrontation. The girl didn‘t regret her behavior. Not only children, but also the teachers seems to think that the current state is naturally anything but shy or modest, the behavior is controversial, she has no regrets.


Class teacher was the first to notice the difference of these sisters’ behavior, learning and conduct culture. Discussions with both girls were organized. They debated openly, it seemed that both understood what's going on, but it led only in the short term changes. The biggest issue is that both girls are constantly together: they attend the same school and are in the same class, also attend the same non-formal education classes; everyday they come to school and go home together, they have common friends. They both suffer from their parents' divorce. At present, the parents still live together, but disputes mostly takes place in the presence of the girls.


Class not immediately acknowledged the controversy in sisters’ behavior and actions and not all the students went deep, what's going on in the minds of the girls, why they started to openly constantly oppose each other. In the classroom, they have been recognized as equal; just the first was calmer than the other as she was more rebellious which is usually perceived as normal teenager behavior. Only later the students began to openly talk about the growing discord between the sisters, the first sister was being the mother figure and the second constantly bullying because of the care and protection. Even the boys began to acknowledge the second‘s sister‘s wrong behavior towards her sister. The students informed class teacher, social educators; they didn‘t ask for assistance, however, gave specific facts about the girls' behavior. There were interventions when friends tried to reconcile the arguing sisters, but their view towards each other have not changed.
During discussions with the girls class teacher sometimes found compromises. In most cases, this was a short-term improved relation.


Teachers even during lessons took discipline actions towards the girls, talked to them, found numerous agreements, sometimes these discussions resulted in peaceful negotiations. The social educators regularly consulted the twins about good manners, tried to constantly interact, invite to have a cup of tea during breaks, to involve into cultural and social projects. In the context of the various tasks the sisters were together anyway. The first regularly performed the largest part of the work, and the second was abusing sister's kindness and kept constantly ignoring her in the presence of educators by words, actions and bad manners.


The school director and administration received information about the discord of the twin sisters from class teacher and later from social pedagogues.
The discussions were carried carefully; the girls were silent and involved willingly to the proposed activities. The girls didn‘t express openness, were quiet and approving. No hostility was present during the discussions. It was made clear that at home the first sister does everything and the second likes to laze away the day and ignores the sister's actions. Parents had no interest in daughters’ behavior since the beginning of marriage problems.


The father haven‘t visited the school. The mother has been called to come to school, during the conversation had her family situation withheld from educators and have not attempted to clarify the reasons for disagreement, she accepted the situation quietly and a bit indifferent. It seemed the mother was well aware of the state of twins’ communication but now it is simply convenient to have at least one daughter who does all the household choirs responsibly and takes charge.
The mother of the twins explains that from birth the girls have very different characters and behavior. It has become natural that first girl became a bit abandoned and not equally recognized, and the second, due to unknown circumstances, became more beloved and cared. She was allowed to rebel against whatever, act as she wanted, gets anything not based on merit. The second daughter was even dressed better, with more fashionable clothes, and the first sister had to wear used clothing. It remained up till now and in the family is considered to be the norm. An interesting fact was observed when during the meeting the mother was sitting together with the rebellious daughter, while the first daughter was sitting alone and obviously was extremely angry that her mother and sister sat together and didn‘t interact with her.


The social educators sorted out the situation partially thanks to the class teacher, partially by themselves. It was acknowledged that, during luch breaks, the second sister, sometimes is even aggressive at her sister, teachers had to make remarks about the use of swear-words. The main educational method was systematic discussions and the ongoing conversations, mostly after school and during different project activities. The social educators called their mother to discuss; they analyzed confrontations during classes and after classes, analyzed the reasons for the negative effects of parents’ divorce, talked about parents’ behavior at home. The girls have told that parents have open disputes. The father still resides in the family, the mother of it going out of the House. The father currently does not work, the mother is the only working member of the family and she works in shifts. The communication with teenage daughters is episodic.
Lately, the father does not give the attention needed to his daughters, almost doesn’t communicate with them, he has closer relationship with his two adult sons, who live together with them. Social educators explored that brothers does not interfere in parents relationship, they are quiet and calm.
Pedagogical assistance provided by the social educators sometimes calms disputes between sisters. It was also suggested to go to the doctor or psychologist.


This continues bullying in school event is not public. It was proposed to twins’ mother to take care of her daughters by herself, firstly to seek for the medical consultation or psychologists’ assistance, so school administration didn’t contact public authorities’ opinions.


Comments and conclusions of this case study:
1. The reason of these bullying actions is unstable situation in the family because of parents’ divorce and because of minimal communication with the daughters.
2. A negative family tradition- to care more for one of the twin sisters and pay less attention perhaps the respect and love to the other.
3. Adolescent period brings rebellious actions in teenagers mind.
4. The cause of continuous bullying is girls' being very private and not willing to accept help when speaking confidentially.
5. The ignorance of the class friends of the girls’ family conflicts.
6. The offered assistance from the school in the family (mother) is indifferent or simply not accepted.
7. The school provided best possible educational help, while ensuring the short term improvement of relations between the twins.


Конфликт между близначки.pdf

Comments about this Case Study

Date: 11.05.2012

Posted by: LEILA SLIMANI - criminologist
Country: Belgium

This situation shows how much what happens in private life of a young person can affect his way of being in school.
In addition to a divorce (their parents) which may, of course, everyday, be difficult to accept and manage emotionally, the twin sisters seem to have no equal consideration for their family.
Some attentions are more pronounced towards one of the sisters, fact that affects the fraternal relationship.
Moreover, the parents do not show a real involvement in managing the problem between their daughters. The school seems to have tried various contacts with the family, but the effects are lessened by the little statement of position taken by the parents in relation to this problem.
Similarly, while courses of action were considered and discussed with the two teenage girls, no prolonged help has been accepted.
Here the school seems to have tried to manage the difficulties in many ways, involving the different actors concerned, but the conflict persists.
We must ask if we know whether, apart from a real demand from young people and their families, an aid may, in a school context, be made.
How to help people who refuse help?
How to move from an assistance which may seem forced to a consented one?
Also, how to make each other accept to reveal some of his private sphere without giving him the fear of an altruist intrusion?
I think that, in relation to the difficulties, the school has correctly reacted by proposing external assistance (medical and / or psychological) and giving choice to parents and young people to take charge of their problem.
Being the conflict closely related to the family context, it seems appropriate that this family reappropriates of his problem and advance towards a help they would choose and accept.

Date: 16.03.2012

Type of school: Vocational School, GRUP SCOLAR ECONOMIC DE TURISM - IASI
Country: ROMANIA

A very good school counselor should be able to establish a connection between him and the sisters, especially with the bossy one. If he finally manages to earn their trust and respect, they will be easily molded. I don’t think that any of the two sisters has a very serious problem that cannot be solved.

Knowing the home environment where the twins come from is crucial for establishing the psychological portraits of the girls and also for designing the future steps that should be taken to put them on the right track. Often children have the tendency of reproducing their parents’ behaviour, good or bad. If the parents were not able to solve their disputes in a friendly way or, at lest, in the absence of the girls, the teachers in a close cooperation with the school councelors, have to step in. They should talk to them both separately and together and it would be advisable to have several group sessions with their friends, relatives and parents and, why not, strangers. In these kind of sessions the twins should be convinced to switch places and comment their reactions from ”the outside”.
I would definitely disapprove the idea of separating the two girls in different classes or, worse, different schools.

As their teacher, I would try to get the two sisters involved in a ...special project about...twins. in this way they will have to cooperate with each other to solve certain tasks especially made for them. I would imagine a play in which the two sisters are the main actors. The play should be called ”ME & YOU” and the girls should take each other’s place. They will have to write the scenario and only after this step they will be told to switch places on the stage. The play can be recorded and the girls will thus become spectators of their own lives. After drawing the conclusions, maybe they will become aware of their excessive reactions to each other.

Sometimes the school becomes like a second home for many students. That is why teachers and counselors should establish the proper conditions for the students to feel safe and comfortable here. Unfortunately, some pupils consider that the school represents the real home for them, but hopefully, a place where they can feel appreciated, where it is peace and quiet, where they can grow up without being persecuted and where there are people who trust them and take them as they are.

Date: 13.03.2012

Type of school: AEDE - European association of teachers
Country: Belgium

Not many information, no accurate events told (except saying swearwords).
We just know that:
• two very close twin sisters spend all their time together
• on sister is under her sister’s influence since their birth, but this situation is deteriorating
• this situation is linked to the familial context (one of the twin sisters is loved and preferred by the parents, the other one is “ignored”)
• at school, the dominated twin sister rebels and clashed with the other one.
Is that bullying? It seems it is more about an old family disagreement, based on the preference of one of the two twin sisters by the parents as well as the on the will of these one to dominate.

The internal counsellors (teachers, social educators) are overtaken by the situation:
• The attempts to dialog with the family and the twin sisters are not successful, or have very little impact (short pacification);
• The proposals for psychological support are refused

• The disciplinary sanctions (not described) seem to have no impact
The headmaster’s office has been informed of the problem, but it seems it has not intervened
Finally, no response has been brought because the school has no hold over the relational aspect inside the family. Anyway, it is not its role.

The school should have hand over to the “mobile teams” in order to wrok with the family (specialized intervention team under the authority of the school).
These one would have organized meetings in family to understand the family disagreement and the suffering endured by one of the two twin sisters.
It would have probably proposed to register the twin sisters in two different schools to allow them to individually blossom and to carry on a pacified schooling.
They would have stressed on the need to call for a psychological support for the twin sisters.
The headmaster’s office could have intervened on the class to remind the school rules (right to well-being and safety for everyone).

Better training of the educative team to the bullying phenomena.
Information sessions in the classes organized by professionals on the following themes: respect of the others, self-esteem, communication,…

I Am Not Scared Project
Copyright 2024 - This project has been funded with support from the European Commission