If you haven’t noticed, Malia and Sasha Obama went through quite a growth spurt since their first presidential term days.
Malia, 15, is standing tall and looking more and more like FLOTUS every day and it’s hard to believe that Natasha (Sasha), 12, was fresh out of first-grade when her dad made history as the first Black president.
But as summer approaches, things around the White House are sure to change yet again. Malia will turn the dreaded 16 come July 4th, and Sasha will hit her teenage years full on in June. Both of which are making President Obama pretty anxious.
During an interview with Ellen DeGeneres in March, Obama talked about his babies hitting their teens and how growing up means they don’t have much time for dad anymore.
“Increasingly they don’t have that much time for me. I’m not that interesting. They’re nice about it though, because they still love me. So they’ll come in and they’ll pat me on the head and kiss me and say ‘daddy we love you so much,’ and they’ll talk to me for about five minutes. Then they will say ‘we’re going to be gone all weekend.’ So that’s making me sad.”
And with Sweet 16s come driving lessons, something Michelle Obama revealed that she and her presidential husband are not going to facilitate.
“I think our agents don’t want us driving with teenagers. So they want to keep us, you know — especially the president’s detail. I don’t think they want him in the state when she’s learning how to drive. We will fortunately be able to hand that responsibility over to someone else,” she told Michael Strahan during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.
But those dreaded teenage years aside, the Obama girls seem like pretty grounded kids. First of all, because Michelle and Barack are not here for the foolishness and secondly, they have some pretty cool parenting tricks up their sleeves.
Promising To Get Matching Tattoos:
How are the Obamas going to keep body ink in check? In a 2013 interview, the President gave away his top secret to dissuade the girls from going under the needle.
“What we’ve said to the girls is, ‘If you guys ever decided you’re going to get a tattoo, then mommy and me will get the exact same tattoo in the same place. And we’ll go on YouTube and show it off as a family tattoo.”
And during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres a year later, he stuck to his guns, revealing that trick was still in his arsenal.
“I suspect it will be a pretty good deterrent for Malia and Sasha,” he said.
Give Them *gasp* Space:
Despite that bear grip in the above picture, FLOTUS understands that the growing girls need a little room to develop into individual women. In an interview with Parade Magazine, Mrs. Obama talked about giving the little ladies as much independence as possible.
“I give them as long a leash as they can handle,” she said. “What I tell my kids is, ‘I’m preparing you for college and for life.’ So, having independence, knowing how to set your own boundaries, figuring out how to make that balance. We still have screen time rules.”
Great advice for “helicopter parents” who aren’t sure how to just let it go.
Because what are teenagers without embarrassing parents?
Just this week, FLOTUS told the world her secret weapon when dealing with that moody teenage angst — dancing.
“We’re like any parents. We love to embarrass them. If they’re looking a little, you know, uninvolved in an event, I’ll just lean over and be like, ‘If you don’t smile, I’m going to start dancing. And it’s like, ‘No mom, please! Whatever you do, just don’t move.”
President Obama has his tactics as well.
“And Barack is like, I’m going to sing, I’m going to start singing. Here I go! Here I go!”
Sounds hilariously adorable to us, but we can imagine how mortified the girls would be.
Giving Them Structure:
Sounds like a common parenting practice, but when you’re the President and First Lady of the United States of America, things can get pretty hectic. That’s why the dynamic duo rule with an iron fist when it comes to education and play.
It’s rumored that these are just a few of the strict rules the girls have to follow in the White House:
- The girls have to write reports about trips they take.
- Computer use during the week is only for homework. Television and cell phone (Malia’s) is reserved for the weekend.
- Each girl has to play two sports, one they choose and one their mother selects.
And then, of course, there is always time for a Beyonce concert.
Letting Them Tease You:
Not exactly, but President Obama has remarked that he and his girls can throw some shade around the White House for fun.
“I’ve got three opinionated, strong, tall women. If they get together, they can have fun about my ears or being too loud or how I dress.”
Normal dad teasing, normal family. But what that statement implies is that Barack and Michelle are raising outspoken, confident and opinionated girls who aren’t afraid to say how they really feel. Even if it’s about Obama’s dad jeans.
Letting Them Know Dad Has Men With Guns Who Will Take Care Of Business:
What would a family be without a nervous dad dreading sending his daughter off on an outing with a hormonal teenage boy?
“I’ve got men with guns following them around all the time. This is the main reason I ran for re-election. You know I’m going to have them covered for most of high school. They’re doing great, but they grow up so fast.”
He’s just being honest.
And Reminding Them Not To Date Jerks:
And President Obama knows that comes with the teenage territory. He was quoted on his dating advice to the girls just last year.
“What I’ve told them before is, as long as that young man is showing you respect, and is kind to you, then I’m not going to be hovering over every second. I think it’s intimidating enough to be asking out the daughter of the president without me adding to that intimidation factor.”
“The great thing about the girls is they’ve got a wonderful role model in their mom. They’ve seen how Michelle and I interact — not only the love but also respect that I show to their mom. So I think they have pretty high expectations about how relationships should be, and that gives me some confidence about the future,” Obama said.
But remember kids, daddy still has his guns. Just in case.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty
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