Obama says daughters Malia and Sasha's 'very different temperaments' made him adopt different parenting strategies

He also emphasized on the importance of giving people the space they need to grow, just like he reminded himself not to call his daughters ever so often as they were away to college


                            Obama says daughters Malia and Sasha's 'very different temperaments' made him adopt different parenting strategies

Former President Barack Obama said that there was a leadership lesson that he learned from raising his two daughters, Malia and Sasha, both of whom are now away at college. Obama was speaking at an event organized by the data-analysis company Splunk on Wednesday in San Francisco.

He began by saying that parenting was no different from nurturing plants and understanding their unique needs as they grow into trees. “They’re a bamboo or they’re an oak or they’re a chestnut. They all need water, sunlight, some TLC (tender loving care), but how they grow and what place, when the branches sprout, when they flower at any given time, it’s just different. And so, our daughters are very different, and as they got older, they became identifiable," he said. 

It is also where he said he drew his inspiration for coming up with different strategies to deal with different political situations. Malia, 21, has a calm temperament like him, which varies from Sasha, 18, who is more like her mother, Michelle. 

U.S. President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Malia (L) and Sasha (R) pose for a family portrait with their pets Bo and Sunny in the Rose Garden of the White House on Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

“In parenting, the idea that you do the exact same thing with each child the same way actually doesn’t make sense. There has to be equity and fairness in terms of wanting them to get to the same outcomes, but we had to take sort of different strategies with our girls on certain things," he said. 

Its also "a good leadership lesson,” he added.

"What I found with my staff is, there's some people where I could be more blunt with, and some people, I have to be a little more, what do the girls call it, 'compliment sandwiches,' trying to wrap it around the criticism where you're like, 'You're wonderful. That was a terrible memo. I love you.' There's a little bit of that," he elaborated.

He also emphasized on the importance of giving people in his professional life the space they need to grow, just like he reminded himself not to call his daughters ever so often as they were away to college. 

“You’ve got to give folks enough room and ownership to be able to figure stuff out, and by doing that, it means they’re going to be making mistakes. That’s part of that process of development,” Obama said.

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