By Eric Storms
Can two elephants raise a donkey? Many parents have strong political beliefs, but their children don’t always follow in their footsteps.
Most parents have some sort of effect on their children’s political beliefs, though not always on purpose.
“I grew up listening to their dinner conversations and you don’t really have any other source of information...you end up kind of just believing what they say,” senior Chris Swingle said of his parents. “Then, as you get older, you start expanding your resources and learning more about it. But they pretty much lay the foundation of what you believe.”
However, it’s not always parents’ words that have an impact. Sometimes it’s simply their social and financial status.
Senior Vivek Sreenivasan said of his parents: “They’re both working-class citizens, so that sort of leans me towards the certain party that would be more towards helping and aiding working-class people.”
It’s also possible that political tendencies might be genetic. According to a 2005 study from the American Political Science Review, the variance of political differences are accounted for by genetics more so than family influences. But genes did not have an effect on the family of WHS Business Teacher Mr. John Morrison.
“I’m an independent, my son is a Republican and my daughter is a Democrat, so they don’t listen to my views at all,” he said. “I think it’s very healthy for them to have their own opinion and have their own beliefs, so I try not to influence them.”
When parents do try to impose their views, it can backfire, leading to unnecessary conflict.
“Sometimes we fight over stuff and then I’ll want to believe in what I believe even more,” said senior Victoria Knaul. “Especially with my parents...so my mom banned the topic of the presidential election in my house. So I think parents just have to be careful when they talk about politics so they don’t cause any issues between their kids and them.”
Due to this, many students think a parent’s role should be to make them aware of the issues, but without bias.
Said sophomore Andrew Zanfagna: “I think parents should educate kids. Then, once they’re educated about it, they can make their own decisions.”