7 surprisingly good parenting tips from the Obamas
Recently Ellen DeGeneres asked how the president felt about his daughters growing up. Mr. Obama stated, “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.”
Now that both daughters will be in their teens by this June, Michelle and Barack have opened up and given some parenting tricks that have worked well for them.
1. Promise to get matching tattoos. President Obama states, “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.”
2. Give them space. The first lady explains, “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.”
3. Embarrass them. Michelle said, “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.”
4. Give them structure. It is rumored that the girls have to write reports about the trips they take. They also are only allowed to use the computer for homework on weekdays and are restricted from TV and cell phones until the weekend.
5. Let them tease you. Mr. President stated, “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.”
6. Let them know dad has men with guns who will take care of business. Having two teenage daughters has to be rough. Obama jokes, “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.”
7. Tell them not to date jerks. Great advice I wish my parents would have given me. President Obama comments on this advice, “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…”