The Washington Post

Sasha and Malia have a new term ahead, too

Of all the arresting images from the culmination of the 2012 presidential election, one that stood out for many parents was the sight of the two graceful young ladies who accompanied the victor.

Wow. Four years is a long time in a child’s life.

President Obama hugs his daughters Sasha (L) and Malia (R) on election night Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Except that the girls have not grown up in front of “our” eyes — that’s what made the sight of them so startling. We haven’t seen much of either since they stole the Inaugural show back in 2008.

From time to time we might see an official photo or a stray news item. Their parents refer to them occasionally to make points about responsible parenting and family priorities. Otherwise, the Obamas have been adamant that their girls remain out of the spotlight.

Michelle Obama has said she will not allow them on Facebook and says she goes to great lengths to protect them from the harm tremendous privilege and attention can introduce into a childhood.

Their success in this effort is why so many of us on Wednesday were talking about Malia’s height. When did that happen?

As they get older, though, the challenges of remaining private will come quick and fast.

“Malia will presumably want to learn how to drive while living in the White House — a feat that could be challenging given that her parents travel in motorcades. Then there’s the angst-ridden challenge of dating while living in the White House,” Krissah Thompson writes in today’s Post.

Thompson points out that Malia is a freshman at Sidwell Friends and Sasha is a sixth-grader. Up until now, their lives seem to revolve around sleepovers and homework.

By the end of the second term, however, they will be 18 and 15.

That’s a whole different universe.

Other teens in the White House have made some splashy headlines, from Alice Roosevelt to two secret service-shedding twins.

Those presidential children survived seemingly unscathed. But they didn’t have to contend with social media and technology’s ubiquity.

Will it be possible, in the next four years at a time of great personal change, for these two young ladies to remain relatively sheltered? If so, how?

Count that up there among the daunting tasks ahead for this first family.

Recent Content

Parenting through the non-post-racial post-election

The Alex P. Keaton myth


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Be a man and cry
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Sleep advice you won't find in baby books
Play Videos
Drawing as an act of defiance
A flood of refugees from Syria but only a trickle to America
Chicago's tacos, four ways
Play Videos
What you need to know about filming the police
What you need to know about trans fats
Syrian refugee: 'I’m committed to the power of music'
Play Videos
Riding the X2 with D.C.'s most famous rapper
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
Europe's migrant crisis, explained