(CBS News) Very few people know the blessings and burdens of spending their formative years in the White House. Two people experiencing that right now are 11-year-old Sasha and 14-year-old Malia Obama.
Presidential historian Doug Wead spoke to Anthony Mason and Rebecca Jarvis about how their experience differs from their predecessors. He interviewed 19 presidential progenies for his book, "All the President's Children."
"Whether you live in the White House or the slum, your childhood is good or bad, depending on if mom and dad are there," he said. "That's the key to the life of Sasha and Malia -- they have their mom and dad at home. And the fact that they have their grandmother makes a big difference."
Wead sees Michelle Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, as a critical component of the girls' upbringing because of the continuity she represents. He lamented that it's too bad that there was no one like her for the children of past presidential families.
Most of the children he interviewed called their White House years the best period of their lives -- primarily because they had the chance to spend time with their families in one place. Many -- especially the older, grown-up kids -- experienced a great deal of long separations in the effort to get to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
The Obamas are different because they have always been together.
"It always depends on the presidency and their parenting style -- and the atmosphere in the country," he said. "But I think they're going to look back on these as great years."
To watch the full interview with historian Dough Wead, click on the video player above.