Tattoo parenting, Obama-style
April 24th, 2013
12:12 PM ET
5 years ago

Tattoo parenting, Obama-style

(CNN) - President Barack Obama says he and the first lady have a good strategy to prevent their daughters from getting tattoos.

"What we've said to the girls is, if you guys ever decide 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," he said in an interview that aired Wednesday on NBC's "Today."

He said his daughters, Sasha and Malia, have kept him "posted on what's cool and what's not," but argued he and Michelle know how to make things look not so cool.

Their tattoo threat, for example, is a good tactic to "dissuade them from thinking that that's somehow a good way to rebel," he said.

The president also answered a question about the first lady's recent slip-up in which she described herself a "single mother" during a television interview earlier this month.

"As somebody who has stumbled over my lines many times, I tend to cut my wife or anybody some slack when it comes to just some slips of the tongue," he said. "But there's no doubt there were times where Michelle probably felt like a single mom."

When he campaigned for the Senate and White House, he said he would often be gone for a week at one time.

"She was still working and having to look after the girls. She definitely, I think, understands the burdens that women in part tend to feel if they're both responsible for child-rearing and if they're responsible for working at the same time."

- CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Malia Obama • Michelle Obama • President Obama • Sasha Obama
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. In Reality.......

    Perhaps their tatoos should read 'Property Of Catholic Freemasons'

    April 24, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. Woman In California

    I agree with you WWF. A lighthearted story once in a while is fine with me also.

    Both of my son's have tattoos and they know how I feel about them but I know when they get older, (just as I did), there are a lot of things they'll regret doing and I'm hoping this is one of those things.

    April 24, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. Mike

    The whole tattoo thing has kind of jumped the shark. You want to be different, then don't get one.

    April 24, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. Dude

    His girls are smart enough to know his promises have very short expiration dates.

    April 24, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. HenryMiller

    Not to mention that any tattoo "artist" who got close to either kid would likely get shot by their—armed—Secret Service details.

    April 24, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. Jim

    Just another promise that won't come true.

    April 24, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  7. frank thomas

    I am a senior with brilliant tats I received years ago, they are still brite with beautiful colours, I never regretted them ,Yes I did campaign and voted for Obama and would do so again

    April 24, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  8. Wake up People!

    Good lord. Do you vicious trolls just click on anything Obama, just to say negative things?? Get a life and a job!

    April 24, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Hopefully her mother's extremely ugly tattoos stop my granddaughter from following her mother's (and father's) foolishness
    Now there's a different type of tactic and effective deterrent: not wanting to do what your parents did.

    April 24, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  10. Ed1

    Another way is to show them all the tattoos from the guy that was killed in Florida that could have been you son your words not mine and stop using the photo of the 12 year old.

    April 24, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. Summer

    What if the girls get Vote Republican? Would you do the same?

    April 24, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. werthrough

    As long as they don't get them on their butts!

    April 24, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. ted

    It is amazing that the right wingers find any excuse to criticize Obama. I criticized Bush but only for big things like his totally lied about reasons to go to war in AFghanistan and Iraq, not if he stumbled over words which he did all the time any way. You republicans need to stop and breath and accept that we have a minority in the White House and try to be part of the solutions, not the obstructionists you are.

    April 24, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    One phrase, almost whispered as I made direct up close and personal eye contact with my underage son (s):
    "I wish you would...".
    Worked for me.

    April 24, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Dominican mama

    Your tactics and mine are probably similar in nature. I never got to follow through with my threats though. The wailing began before I ever got to the finish line. Looking back, all three of my daughters and I laugh at their antics. I have to admit, they were great little actresses.

    April 24, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. Bessy

    Pretty good Mr. President. I threatened my kids with " death ". Not to mention that their father has some from when he was in the navy and he has always regretted getting them.

    April 24, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. A Kickin` Donkey

    Itls clearly a generational thing that comes around every so often – like clothes going in and out of style.

    I`m not of the tatoo generation and in 5 years they will be passe AGAIN. Just like 20-somethings smoking.

    I`m going to "keep it real". There will always be some people who will judge you adversely because of tatoos; especially a female. If you want to take on that additional burden, be my guest. But your right to do it will never outwigh other`s right to hold it against you in some way.

    Is something that you will probably later regret [or at least get TIRED OF] worth it? /-t in my calculus.

    April 24, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. Calip

    Hey America! Let's take this otherwise benign and light commenting by the President and twist it to something sinister about his job performance!

    Clearly, his ideals about parenting and tattoos on minors show that he's 100% responsible for the gas price crisis we're in right now!

    /sarcasm & *facepalm*

    This is why there are memes out there about not wanting to live on this planet anymore...

    April 24, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  19. worldofnick

    That's a great strategy the Obama's have though personally i think all they need do is threaten to 'dance' in front of their friends every time they come round.

    April 24, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. St Xavier

    For me a tatoo is a personal thing, to say a tatoo is wrong is wrong we all should not be so critical towards other for wanting a tatoo, let them do as they wish to them selves. An if in the future they do not like there tatoo any more it was there choice they will have to live with it or else, unless they have a lot of MONEY to get rid of the tatoo, paying out will be there punishment for the tatoo. Do I have a tatoo NO it's my choice not to have one. Live an let live be no ones boss.

    April 24, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    @Dominican mama

    Your tactics and mine are probably similar in nature. I never got to follow through with my threats though. The wailing began before I ever got to the finish line
    LOL!! I'm sure you're right!
    My husband used to tell our boys "You know your Mama is nuts dontcha?"! He wasn't far off the mark of course, and it did help us keep two big strapping boys in check. They both waited until they were 18 to get their tattoos, and then they were rather sensible about it.
    I'm not sure how I would've handled girls and the theatrics though, so I take my hat off to you my friend! Glad we both survived that stage of motherhood!

    April 24, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. Demigod Vadik, CA

    BRILLIANT as ever...

    ...GREATEST PRESIDENT U.S. has ever had...

    April 24, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  23. Jamie

    @Woman In California You hope your sons end up regretting their tattoos? Really, that's kind of mean, don't you think? I would hope that even though it's not something you agree with you would wish that it makes them happy.

    To anyone who is outspokenly against tattoos – it's not your body, if you don't like it, don't have one of your own. End of story, Most people don't regret their tattoos, but even if they do it will be their problem, and no concern of anyone else.

    As to the article, not all tattoos are a form of rebellion. I could understand not wanting kids that are too young to make a rational decision about a life-long commitment to be able to get tattoos, but as far as I know you need to be 18 in the majority of states to get a tattoo without parental consent. So I am missing the issue....kid's can't get tattoos anyway. If you're really trying to control what your kids do after they are need to just cut the cord. It's a tattoo, it's not like they're cutting off a leg.

    April 24, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  24. Chas

    Yeah RIGHT, chances are it will occur some years down the road so we'll just have to wait/see...

    April 24, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  25. rogercottonsr

    I personally don't like tats and would never get one. Of course I am an old man now. My 33 year old daughter who is a single mom felt it necessary to get a big tat on her left upper arm which shows unless she wears a long sleeve shirt. It will hurt her getting a decent job and look bad to anyone over 45 unless they were a sailor or whatever. The Obama kids getting a tat would be catastrophic for their future. I would just tell them that. Kids need to understand the difference between what is in their best interest and what is not. That's all.

    April 24, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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