Jenna Bush Hager Describes How Her Parents, George W. Bush and Linda Bush, Are as Grandparents

For those that missed it on Monday, Jenna Bush Hager was joined by Reba McEntire on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna – Reba was filling in for Hoda Kotb and it made for a unique show. During the ‘Social Dilemmas’ segment of the show, Jenna and Reba fielded some interesting questions from loyal viewers.

“My daughter is mad at me because she says I watch her sister’s kids more than hers. Truth is her sister’s kids are much better behaved. How can I tell her without hurting her feelings?” one of the viewers wrote – which prompted Jenna to ask if it was her parents, George W. Bush and Linda Bush, who submitted it. 

It wasn’t her parents, but it’s a question she definitely related to. She went on to explain how she wouldn’t take it personal if her parents were to spend more time with her sister’s baby. Since Jenna has three kids and her sister only has one, she understands that her kids might be too much for her parents to handle. 

RELATED: Jenna Bush Hager Shares Some of Her Best White House Stories From Her Past: Including How Her Now-Husband Once Snuck Out of the White House

“You think, ‘Oh my gosh does she prefer the other one? Does mom care more about the other one?’ When it’s probably just the ages of kids,” she said. “I have kids that are 10, 7, and 3, and that’s a lot for 75-year-old parents to handle. And my sister has one baby who doesn’t really move. It’s not personal necessarily.”

Reba had a response of her own and believes that ‘Grandma needs to be taking control and disciplining’ – especially if the kids aren’t respecting their home and/or surroundings. She went on to ask Jenna Bush Hager if that’s how it works in her family, but she said her parents take on a different role as grandparents.

In fact, Jenna said the former President and First Lady – who are both 76 years old – do the ‘opposite’ of taking control and disciplining. Her parents are the type of grandparents that allow her kids to eat ice cream for breakfast and be on the iPad all morning – in other words, they like to be the fun grandparents. 

“They kind of break up the schedules. They’re like ‘Sure you can have your iPad all morning. You want ice cream for breakfast? Sure. We have to kind of retrain them. I think they think the grandparents’ job is to be as fun as possible,” Jenna said of her parents during the ‘Social Dilemmas’ segment on April 17. 

One of the Lessons George Bush Taught His Daughter, Jenna Bush Hager

In March 2022, Jenna Bush Hager opened up about the time she had to tell her parents she got caught underage drinking – this was back in 2001, in the beginning of her father’s first term as President of the United States. She learned a lot of valuable lessons from that experience, including how to parent. 

When she apologized to her father, he ended up being the one to apologize. “He said, ‘I’m sorry, I told you (that) you can be normal, and you can’t. You can’t order margaritas,’” she explained – adding that her embarrassment paled in comparison to how embarrassed her parents were, but they never showed it. 

“I think it’s the best gift we can give our children, is the chance to fail. While we were growing up, I for one had parents that let us fail, let us fall and publicly. And I always say to them now, ‘How brave of you,’ because it didn’t reflect great on them, either,” she said of her parents and their parenting style back then.

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Now, Jenna Bush Hager is a mother to three adorable children – son Hal, 3, and daughters Poppy Louise, 7, and Margaret “Mila” Laura, 10 – who she shares with husband Henry Chase. They’ve been together since 2004, got engaged in August 2007, and tied the knot in May 2008 before growing their family.

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