(Updated 4/26/2013) President Obama said he and wife Michelle have what they believe is a foolproof way of deterring daughters Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11, from getting tattoos or engaging in other teenage rebellion.

“What we’ve said to the girls is, ‘If you guys ever decided you’re going 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,’” Obama said, speaking in an NBC “Today” show interview aired April 24.

The “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach, he said, will –- hopefully – “dissuade them from thinking that somehow that’s a good way to rebel.”

It is unlikely the girls will call their parents’ bluff, as the president and first lady have already proven their willingness to brave public embarrassment.

Given the post-“American Idol,” everybody’s-a-music-critic society, a dauntless Obama belted out Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” while at a fundraiser at the Apollo Theater of Harlem last year.

And Michelle Obama audaciously showed off her “mom dance” moves with Jimmy Fallon during a February appearance on his show.

The “father-in-chief” statements were part of an exclusive and wide-ranging interview with “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie, which was taped just hours before the Boston Marathon bombings.

The president even discussed the first lady’s gaffe in a recent interview, when she described herself as a “busy, single mother” before quickly correcting the comment.

“You know, 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 a slip to the tongue,” Obama said. “But there’s no doubt that there’ve been times where Michelle probably felt like a single mom.”
The president said there were times during his Senate and presidential campaigns when he didn’t see his family for a week, and he praised his wife for holding down both a job and duties at home during those times.

“She was still working and having to look after the girls,” he said. “And she definitely, I think, understands the burdens that women in particular tend to feel if they’re both responsible for child rearing and they’re responsible for working at the same time.”


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO