TODAY   |  January 24, 2014

Jenna Bush Hager talks life as a twin

Twins Abigail and Robin Pogrebin along with Dr. Harold Koplewicz from the Child Mind Institute discuss the special bonds twins share and the importance of parents treating them as individuals. Jenna Bush Hager says that she and sister Barbara had crazy times as twins, and talks about how their separate personalities influenced who they turned out to be.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we are back on this try day friday with more of "today." if you are just tuning in jenna bush hager is helping me out all week while kathie lee is enjoying time off.

>> hi.

>> twins have been the subject of fascination and curiosity.

>> from columnist answn landers and mary kate and ashley olson and me and my twin sister .

>> who?

>> barbara.

>> oh.

>> abby po griffin wrote one in the same about her identical twin and here with that twin, robin, a "new york times" reporter.

>> and dr. cupwits is the president of the child mind institute and child and adolescent psychologist. good morning.

>> you lived the life.

>> yes.

>> you two guys when i see twins, inseparable, lucky, closer than any other sisters could ever be. are those theories true.

>> i would say it's a mythology in the sense it's the most incredible intimacy, as jenna knows. it's hard to put into words clothesness you're born with a best friend and other people have to learn how to make that connection with someone, you start with someone that's your soulmate.

>> did you start with that from the beginning.

>> i definitely did. one thing we went through all these kind of crazy times , right, and when my parents were going through this, we had somebody at the exact same age.

>> going through the same stuff.

>> going through the same thing. i could call her and say i'm going through this, what do i do? we looked so opposite. i don't know why they put the western photo but from little babies we looked opposite. one of the things that's important our parents always treated us as individuals, total individuals. you say that's very important.

>> it's important because any set of siblings really want to be identified as an individual and how they fit in with their other siblings and into the world. i think twins have a greater challenge. how are they going to identify to each other and want the world to identify with them. that means parents have to be smart enough to encourage the differences, to try to avoid the comparison, to try to diminish the competition, and that means at a certain time they have to separate them. they have to give them different classes, hobbies, activities.

>> is there a thing about leaning too much? you have your best friend right next to you at all times. does it prevent or stop you from reaching out to others who may --

>> it's actually a good question. i think i'm a little less social possibly because i have this kind of built-in ally and it makes it less effort to have somebody who is always there. what harold said was important, the one mistake my parents will cop to, they emphasize parody and making everything equal which you can do as a parent with kids, you want to make sure everybody feels like they're getting the same treatment but on the downside you don't feel like you have the one on one which is important.

>> dating, one has a boyfriend, one doesn't, do you feel like one is ahead.

>> we had an unspoken code. when someone gravitated toward a friend or boyfriend it was hands off for the other.

>> definitely. i think one of the great things that my parents did, we went to different camps when we were little. what you said is right away we had these different personalities and we did. if we were compared i would feel bad about myself. she was a brilliant math student. i never felt bad for that.

>> robin said something that's important. i think every parent should spend alone time with their child and each child but particularly difficult when you have twins because it's so easy, why don't we just do it together.

>> exactly.

>> and giving time alone with the child, gives you an opportunity to understand their personality and understand the complexity of who they are without them always being a twin. because it's important to be an individual.

>> i also found sometimes parents would say, they want to be together. they don't want to do things separately. it's sort of artificial, feels counterintuitive but as parent you have to say i'm taking you today.

>> fascinating subject.

>> great book.

>> thank you.

>> thank you for coming to see us. we appreciate it.

>> twin power.