Growing up in the white house is a unique experience, one that any child in the world would wish to have. However, growing up in a presidential lifestyle does not translate to life that is purely full of excitement as there are some challenges that first children undergo. This is something the two first children Malia and Sasha Obama can attest to after being in the white house for the past one and half year.
While living in the white house it is very difficult to live a normal life as a lot of attention is directed to you. The country’s media, news agencies, life stylists, paparazzi among others are always on your back watching your every move in each and every day. Also having the status as the first children of the country increases your security risks and thus you have to walk around with large security details and follow strict security procedures. This is far from a normal life for any child.
Due to this public life that they live and the strict scrutiny that they are subjected to every day Malia and Sasha are compelled to be good role model for other children and have to be on their best behaviors at all times. This is not a small responsibility for any child to bear. It exerts a lot of pressure on the children which if not carefully checked can have a toll on them. Therefore, parents and others responsible for the up bringing of this two children should try an ensure a more normal life for them.
I understand that Malia is now 12 years old and is on her 7th grade of middle school (Wikipedia, 2010). This means that she has now joined the early adolescence stage of life. Adolescence is a period of rapid physical transitions in such characteristics as height, weight and body proportion. Apart from physical changes there are also the more significant mental, emotional and hormonal changes that come with this stage (Gale, 2010).
A lot of parental guidance is required at this stage as most children undergoing this period do not understand what is happening to their bodies. This is the stage where a person struggles with self identity, becomes extremely sensitive to physical appearance of her body and begins to show interest in establishing close friend relationships (Pearson Education Inc, 2010).
Malia’s Parents should guide her in managing her physical appearance especially now that it means a lot to her and that she lives a very public life. Malia should also be allowed to interact with peers and form friends as it is a need at this stage. Both Malia and Sasha attend the Private Sidwell Friend School in Washington and therefore there is little to worry about Malia joining bad peers. This would be of concern as peer pressure largely influences interests, conducts and behaviors at this stage. Sexual developments occur earlier in girls than boys and therefore Malia must also be undergoing these developments.
The sexual developments are usually characterized by physical body changes, hormonal changes, greater interest in privacy and worries about being normal. This occurrence also requires a lot of parental guidance and support. At this period occasional experimentation of different things among the peers is the norm and therefore parents should always keep watch of what their children are involved in.
Sasha on the other hand is 9 years of age and is currently in her fourth grade of elementary school. Guided by her age, she is now in the middle childhood stage of development. This stage of development occurs in children between the ages of 6 and 12 year before they are ushered into puberty (National Research Council, 2010).
The middle childhood stage forms an important phase of development as it encompasses a number of distinctive and important transformations in a child’s life. At this stage children exhibit changes in capacity and behavior and should be supported in the areas of interest they choose to pursue. I understand that Sasha has shown interest in gymnastics, piano, tennis and taping. Her interests and capabilities that she is exhibiting should be developed and supported to grow as this is very important for a child’s development.
At the middle childhood stage, a child’s personality, behavior patterns and basic competencies begin to crystallize. This means that this is the best stage for parents to mould and transform the above mentioned aspects of their child’s life into the desired ones as beyond this stage it will be very difficult to change some of these aspects. This is the right stage for Michelle and Obama to mould Sasha personality, behavior patterns and basic competencies as beyond this point what she will be having will crystallized. At the middle childhood stage a child changes in quality of thought and exhibit growth in knowledge.
It is imperative to ensure that Sasha also gets to learn aspects of life which children outside the confines of presidential lifestyle are exposed to. Knowledge of social relationships begin and Sasha should be supported in making positive friendships. Self definition also begins at this stage and a child should be allowed to exercise her sense of self management, regulation and control.
Malia and Sasha are good children with a great hopes and great futures. They also form role models for other children in America and around the world and people have great expectations concerning them. However it is important to ensure that they also enjoy their childhoods/ teenage life as other children do as this will be best for their personal development.