Michelle Obama is 'on the other side of parenting'—here's what she's learned
"I didn't feel like I came into my own until I was in my 50s," Obama, who is 59, told Kotb.
One reason, she says, is that she is "on the other side of parenting." "I'm moving from mom-in-chief to advisor-in-chief," she says.
Her years parenting both in and out of The White House taught her an important lesson on how to treat her own kids, and young people in general.
Parents often greet their kids with "a critical eye," she says.
Obama recalls her daughter coming into her hotel room wearing wrinkled clothes. "She walks in, maybe the second time I saw her this morning, and I was like, 'You're wrinkly, you're gonna do something about this,' and she was like, 'Yeah, Mom.'
"And then I thought, 'I did it.' I greeted her with [feedback], instead of what I felt, which is, 'Sit on my lap, give me a kiss.' I'm fixing things. I'm pointing out, 'Oh my god, your hair is not right here.'"
Parents can easily fall into the trap of critiquing kids before, or instead of, telling them how happy they are to just be together.
"What Toni Morrison says is that our kids just want our gladness, they don't need us to fix them," Obama says. "They don't need us to point out the thing that is wrong, first."
Obama further says this gladness should be extended to kids who aren't your own children. "We've got to be careful with how we communicate with young people," she says.
Dehumanizing them or treating them like a nuisance "leaves a mark."
"Whether it's road rage or some kids standing on the corner you don't know or someone who is in your business establishment making too much noise, we have to remember they are still young people," she says. "We are still the models of showing them the best parts of themselves."
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