How do Parents Affect Their Kids’ Political Views?

Madison Affourtit, Copy Editor

Since birth, our parents have been the biggest contributors to our thoughts and opinions. But as we grow older, how do they affect our political beliefs? This question has become even more pertinent this campaign season, which is one of the most volatile in recent memory.

“I’ve become more interested in politics because of how often my parents talk about it,” said senior Sidney Ovrom.

Some families make it a priority to let their kids form their own ideas, and others have the opposite approach. Senior Ankitha Neelavar and sophomore Emerson Martz said that their parents had more of a hold on their beliefs when they were younger.

Indeed, Te-Erika Patterson of The Atlantic says, “Many parents try to instruct their children and impart their views, perhaps hoping their kids become carbon copies of themselves.”

However, impressing certain opinions on children can often produce a negative result. Research suggests it is less likely that kids have radically different opinions from their parents when they are left to form their own ideas.

After being given unbiased information, students tend to produce original viewpoints. “I’m really lucky because my parents worked really hard to let me shape my own political views,” Confirmed Neelavar “They pushed me to stay really well informed all throughout my childhood and tried to make me see things in different perspectives.”

When talking about her mother, Neelavar said, “She used to read to me about Rosa Parks every night. So that really formed my belief that all Americans are equal. And so I feel really passionate about how we should always be protecting our first amendment.” Through impartial research, Neelavar has discovered that her views are not particularly different than those of her mother.

On the other hand, households with a more aggressive approach tend to generate kids whose beliefs are far different than their parents. Ovrom, who considers herself a liberal, says her dad often goes on rants about the advantages of a Republican mindset. “My dad definitely wants me to be conservative,” she says. Through hearing her father’s forceful and unwavering opinions, Ovrom is far from adopting her dad’s beliefs.

In junior Caitlin Keating’s case, growing up in a highly conservative household has yet to cause a major rebellion in her own belief system. “I have a lot of my own opinions but it just makes it a lot easier for everyone to have a similar political view. Because then there’s not as many debates or arguments.”

Keating says that her family is always supportive of everyone’s beliefs and perhaps that is a factor in why her ideas remain close to those of her parents.

But rather than being granted unbiased information from the outside world, Keating is met with opinions that mostly apply to her and the world that she knows. “Usually they give me reasons that relate to us. For example, if we’re talking economic policy and taxes, how heavily we might get taxed compared to others.”

In households where political discussion is nonexistent, kids have been known to either crave the information they were never afforded, or remain without a stance. Whether parents are instilling strong beliefs, or leaving the political door open, there is no way of telling which way their children are going to sway.