Letting Twins Be Individuals: How Ken Jeong Celebrates His Daughters' Differences
"I have not one but two 'Daddy's little girls,' and you have double that dynamic in a lot of ways," Ken Jeong tells PEOPLE of parenting twin daughters
Ken Jeong is many things — an actor, a (real life and TV) doctor and a husband. But his biggest role to date is dad.
“I have not one but two ‘Daddy’s little girls,’ and you have double that dynamic in a lot of ways,” he continues. “It really is just double the sweetness. There’s something to be said about that.”
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The Korean-American funnyman says he and his wife, Vietnamese-American Dr. Tran Ho — a breast cancer survivor — encourage their daughters to celebrate their differences.
“I didn’t have any preconceived expectations, so I figured that they would have unique and diverse personalities, and they do. So to me, irrespective of gender, it’s really about listening to your kid,” Jeong says of parenting.
“Every child is different — they say acting is reacting, and I think it’s the same for being a parent,” he adds. “It’s about listening to your child, and both children have different personalities, different expectations, different goals. I think the key to being a good parent is to individualize your love for each child.”
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“The best thing I can recommend is to listen to your child. I really mean that,” he says. “Alexa loves gymnastics, and neither me nor my wife [are athletic] — she may have taken a few tumbling classes, but Alexa really had an aptitude and a passion for gymnastics and we encouraged that.”
“We listen to [our children] and I take a lot of pride in that,” Jeong continues. “Zooey, on the other hand, loves comedy. She’s guest starred on Dr. Ken, and it’s been fun having shared experiences as well.”
The Community alum touches on the fact that being a parent to two girls at one time has given him a love and happiness he never knew existed.
“I’ve already had the equally wonderful experiences of finding joy with a shared joy and finding joy with a newfound joy, and to me I’ve already been so fortunate as a parent to experience that. And both are equally important, and that’s because I’ve never wanted them to follow in [my] footsteps,” he says.
“It’s not like I’m like, ‘You’ve gotta be a doctor and a comic,’ but [rather] find your own passion and your own love, and we encourage them to be unique in their own way.”
Although his daughters’ interest are very different, they both enjoy a good laugh, just like Dad.
“They actually like old Community episodes. It’s crazy. They were just born when I started doing the show,” Jeong shares. “It’s a very sophisticated sense of humor. It’s funny, they say, ‘Is it okay that we like other aspects of the show more than just your scenes?’ ”
“It’s great to share moments that weren’t necessarily intended for them, but the three of us are bonding over a shared sense of humor and form of comedy, which is really cool,” he adds. “I never thought in a million years that we’d share those things. The Hangover is a different story. They will never watch that — ever.”
For more about Ken Jeong’s parenting adventures, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.