White House Life: The Obama Family and the Next Four Years
First daughters are preparing to spend teenage years in the White House.
Nov. 7, 2012 — -- With the Obama family ready for four more years at their 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home, the first daughters, Sasha and Malia Obama -- now 11 and 14 -- are preparing to spend some of their teenage years in the White House, and in the public eye.
During his victory speech, President Obama praised his daughters, and even echoed his famous promise from his 2008 victory speech that led to the first family's new dog, Bo.
"Sasha and Malia, before our very eyes you're growing up to be two strong, smart, beautiful young women, just like your mom," he said. "And I'm so proud of you guys. But I will say for now: One dog's probably enough."
Sasha and Malia Obama are now older, more poised, and taller than they were four years ago when, at 7 and 10, they had their lives in Chicago uprooted. They found a new home in Washington, new friends, and a new school.
"You know, I did worry what this life would be like for them," Michelle Obama said. "Could I keep them normal? Could we instill in them the values that we learned growing up, humility, and decency, and treating people with respect?"
Because of that, much of what we've seen has been carefully controlled by their parents, who are hoping to give them a regular childhood.
"They're very careful about what they say about the girls, and really do their best to shelter and protect them," Rachel Smolkin, White House Editor at Politico, told ABC News.
The public has seen the girls in glimpses over the past four years: with the president as he coaches Sasha's basketball team, the two watching the Super Bowl, reading to children, and on their first day of school.
"I know Malia was really embarrassed when I walked her to the classroom," President Obama said. "But I went anyway, because she is Daddy's girl, and will remain Daddy's girl until she is about 30."
Now Malia is 14, a teenager already nearly as tall as her mother. Sasha is sprouting up too, showing considerable growth from Obama's 2009 inauguration to her recent appearances alongside her parents.
"I look at them in the same way, and think, wow, you guys have grown up, and you are so poised and you're so sweet, and so there's that motherly side of me. But it's still always a balance between protecting them," Michelle Obama said.
Though their mother is seeking that balance, it will inevitably grow tougher as the girls grow up.
"They have a regular life, they've got friends and sleepovers and you know, to them it's home," Michelle Obama told Jay Leno earlier this year.
But by the end of their father's second term as President, Sasha will be 15, and Malia will be 18, and they'll have moved from sleepovers to college applications. At that point, they'll have lived much of their lives in Washington.
"They're smart, they're funny," President Obama told "Good Morning America's" Robin Roberts. "But most importantly, they're kind, they're respectful, they're responsible, they're well behaved. I could not ask for better kids."
Now there will be more milestones in that big White House, including homecomings, proms, learning to drive and first dates.
"I have men with guns that surround them -- often," Obama said, laughing. "And a great incentive for running for re-election is that it means they never get in the car with a boy who had a beer. And that's a pretty good thing!"