Michelle Obama isn’t disturbed by her children’s tattoos.
This week, the former first lady spoke on The Kelly Clarkson Show, telling the American Idol alum about how she’s lately changed her attitude on tattoos and other forms of self-expression.
“We need to create a broader definition of who’s American, who counts, what beauty is,” Obama, who is mom to Malia, 24, and Sasha, 21, explained. “It only helps our kids. We don’t know who they’re going to become and we want to make sure there’s a space for them whoever they choose to be.”
She stated that communication methods should not be “politicized” in the past.
“Most kids who are wearing tattoos and piercings, they’ve got long nails,” she shared. “Their value system is about individuality.”
The Becoming author acknowledged that while she was growing up, “tattoos meant something totally different.”
That’s why, she joked of her and Barack’s past responses to their daughters getting inked (which Sasha has reportedly done), “We used to threaten our kids that ‘if you get a tattoo, we’re going to get exactly the same kind and show it on TikTok or whatever.’ Take the cool all away … We’re going to make it so uncool, Barack is going to have a heart on his shoulder.”
Obama has long spoken about how she is raising her girls. The Higher Ground producer emphasized the value of enabling her girls to explore in a 2019 personal essay for People the lessons she’s learned about parenthood.
“I see now how important that kind of freedom is for all children, particularly for girls with flames of their own — flames the world might try to dim,” she wrote at the time. “It’s up to us, as mothers and mother figures, to give the girls in our lives the kind of support that keeps their flame lit and lifts up their voices — not necessarily with our own words, but by letting them find the words themselves.”
Obama gushed over her daughters’ growth into young women in an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in April.
“They wouldn’t always be in that bubble of the White House, so they had to learn to make their beds, they had to learn how to drive, they had to learn how to be compassionate, independent, responsible people,” she said. “So that they entered the world as responsible, compassionate, capable people, and I think they are amazing young women because of that.”