Malia and Sasha Obama were 10 and 7 when they moved into the White House in 2009. As they grew up, pictures of them at public events were few and far between. Thanks to the strict boundaries instituted by the Obamas early in the presidency, the press knew unequivocally that the First Daughters’ private lives were off-limits. As a result, Malia and Sasha concentrated on school, sports, homework, and after-school activities and grew up grounded and unentitled.

In an interview on the Today show in 2018, Michelle Obama told former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager that the mamma bear in her wanted her kids “to grow up normal and … have these wonderful experiences privately.” She later said “you want them to be able to fail and stumble privately, like any other kids. And when they aren’t allowed to do that it’s unfair and you feel guilty as they didn’t choose this life.”

During the Obama Presidency, the press was told to stay away from the school and were given guidelines about when they could photograph the girls.

However, the girls were still given as much freedom as their circumstances allowed. Recently, on The Michelle Obama podcast, the former first lady said, “They couldn’t not go somewhere or do something because of dad. I never wanted them to resent the presidency, or resent what their dad did,” 

The former first couple also acknowledged the role of the girls’ grandmother Marian Robinson who moved into the White House during the Obama Presidency and helped raise the girls and keep them grounded. Today, both daughters are private citizens and still stay away from the public eye.