The White House and Teenage Residents

The thread about Obama playing golf with Tiger Woods got me thinking about something else White House related.

Suppose the President Obama his wife want to go to Camp David for the weekend and the kids don’t want to go-what happens then? Can the kids just hang out in the living quarters at the White House? Is there some sort of supervision? Must they be a certain age to be left “alone” in the White House?

In the specific case, I think that the First Lady’s mom lives with them so she would take care of the kids.

Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, lives with them at the White House so presumably she provides supervision for the girls whenever both their parents are away.

Have you seen Project X?

According to military fiction author Tom Clancy, even the presidents children have secret service agents. That should be sufficient safeguard against teen-type stupidity (especially the sort insipired by the “I’m invincible” attitude of people who’ve survived childhood but not yet faced any serious real-world difficulties).

I would hope that the Obamas are like regular parents and would be like “too bad, you’re going, too.” Surely the Secret Service guys aren’t used as babysitters?

I can’t see the Secret Service being babysitters - that would distract them from their job of actually being on the alert for threats.

Having Secret Service protection didn’t keep the Bush girls from underage drinking. I’m sure there’s a line somewhere–for example, if a teenaged presidential kid seemed drunk to the point of blackout and was still drinking, or if they wandered onto the parapet of a bridge, then I’m sure the SS would intervene because it becomes an issue of safety. But I don’t think they would prevent the kids from sneaking out of the White House, or even trashing the place, as long as they wer enot placing themselves in danger.

I’d think at 12 and 15, they’re not really at the “babysitter” age- I’d think that you could set the older daughter to look after the older one food and hygiene-wise, and between her and the Secret Service agents, everything would be ok.

I babysat my 8 year old brother when I was 15; when he was 12, he was pretty much autonomous, with the exception of needing to be reminded/prodded to do things.


I wonder if it’s similar to the close protection police (it’s not a separate agency, it’s a specialist unit of the regular cops, and maybe some army types for special occasions) that the British royals get? Their job is to stop, say, Prince Harry from getting shot or kidnapped or falling off a balcony, but if he wants to get his knob out playing strip pool in Vegas, it’s not really their job to stop him.

Didn’t Gerald Ford’s kids get up to a lot of mischief when he was in office?

Ford’s kids were a little too old when he became President to be thought of as wild teenagers. Only the youngest was under 18 when he became President, and she was 17. It was more like they were outspoken young adults (who sometimes disagreed with their parents) than wild teenagers:

Amy Carter used to climb the trees and bring her friends over to watch “Freaky Friday.” So I guess that qualifies as rowdy teenage behavior. She had her own suite where she and her friends can hole up, even during a nuclear attack.

Gore’s then-17yo son was picked up in 2000 for doing 97 in a 55 mph zone, so even on safety issues, they have their limits.

I lived in New Haven, CT during the early 2000s. This was the same time the smarter looking Bush twin attended Yale, and it was common knowledge that she had a Secret service agent that trailed her wherever she went. I heard of a couple of incidents from area bartenders in which she tried, unsuccessfully, to gain entry into various 21 and over venues (she was underage at the time) and according to these stories the agent would simply stand there quietly while she tried to finagle her way around the bouncer, and would leave with her without commenting after she was turned away.

I also remember the well publicized incident from about the same time, involving both twins, that TSBG mentioned. IIRC, after the girls were caught they got up and left, and while their Secret Service handlers were escorting them into a waiting vehicle the police (who had been summoned due to the twins fake IDs) showed up, and when they ordered the group to stay put so they could deal with the girls, the agents obeyed. So it seems that the Secret Service’s job is simply to be present in order to protect the president’s children from harm and/or potentially harmful situations, but to otherwise stand back and let them do as they wish, and suffer any consequences that the agents are not specifically entrusted to protect them from.

The only time I can see where they would be required to intervene would be if the child was physically taken to jail. Not to stop that from happening, but to ensure that the child is not placed in a cell with any other prisoners or otherwise separated from their SS protection.

I’ve always wondered about sleep overs. What happens if one of the daughters wants to sleep over at a friends house? How does that all play out?

And for good reason. If Secret Service agents act in loco parentis, then they’re just one more authority figure to ditch in the process of teenage thrill-seeking. Every dramatization I’ve ever seen of presidential children involves their assigned agents specifically telling them that they’re not there to make them do their homework, keep their nose clean, or stop them from partying or sleeping around. They’re there to keep them safe, and trying to do any of that other stuff compromises that mission.

It’s probably the other way round: a lot less likely that the Obama girls will want to sleep at a friend’s house.,than that all their friends will want to sleepover at the White House.
Which brings up another thought: what about the parents of the other kids at school?
Most parents want to meet the parents of their kid’s playmates. And if your kid suddenly sits next to an Obama kid in the classroom, I bet you don’t skip out on the PTA meetings like you did the previous years. :slight_smile: