Parents and Political Socialization

imagesPeople acquire political culture through a process known as “Political Socialization.” “Political socialization is the process by which political culture is transmitted in a given society. It occurs at both the individual and community level, and it extends beyond the acquisition of political culture to encompass the learning of more sophisticated political ideas and orientations. Political socialization is a life long process and a variety of individuals and institutions contribute to its shaping effect.” To learn more about political socialization click HERE.

So how exactly do we end up supporting the specific political party that we vote for? One of the most common explanations points to the role of our parents in our early political socialization. Most of political socialization happens when we are young. Children usually spend much more time with their parents than with anyone else and because of this they tend to acquire their parent’s habits, beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes. The parents tend to be the most important source of political socialization. Parents mostly show political culture unintentionally by acting as examples for their kids, rubbbing their political views off onto them. So many people end up with political beliefs similar to those of their parents.

hqdefaultOur parents influence us on many things when we are young simply because we look up to them and we admire them for their opinions. We want to be like them. Because of family socialization, young individuals get to know about who and what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in the political world, just based off of their parents’ own opinions and what they say about them. As a child, it is only normal to believe and agree with everything your mother or father says or thinks, right? In a child’s eyes, mom and dad are always right, so, they form their political views before they can even develop a deep and sophisticated understanding of politics. Children rarely declare a party identification with the main rival of the party to which parents are loyal.

In a study done at Tufts University, it was discovered that 87 percent of people raised in a liberal environment developed a political liberal orientation. The study also showed that about 70 percent of people raised in a conservative environment have conservative political beliefs as an adult. To read more click HERE.

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While a fifth of U.S. teens (21%) say they are “more liberal” than their parents and 7% say “more conservative,” 7 in 10 teens (71%) say their social and political ideology is about the same as mom and dad’s.



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Only 9% of teens who say they will align with the Republican Party when they are old enough to vote indicate that their views are more conservative than their parents (77% of future Republicans say their views are similar to their parents). But 25% of future Democrats and 28% of future independents tell Gallup they are more liberal than their parents. Source: HERE.

Although there are many other factors of Political Socialization, parents and family are the most powerful influence, ecspecially when children are exposed to political ideas at a young age. Even though it is certainly not guarenteed that a person will maintain the same political beliefs as their parents throughout their entire life, early socialization is definitely a component that affects the voters first political beliefs.



One Response to Parents and Political Socialization

  1. Emily M. says:

    I really like how you addressed the issue that has plagued young Americans for so long! I personally understand wanting to break away from parents with my political views. It seems that no matter how I go about trying to break from the “path” my parents set for me, I can’t make my own decisions about what I agree with and believe, whether I am influenced by another person or not. I think that it is healthy to get values from your parents on some things, but honestly, to be forced to have the exact belief as your parent is not what becoming an adult means. I do not like how some parents force their opinions on their child, influencing them further into “believing” what the parent does. I think that when a parent gives a child a free realm of what the child chooses to believe, a more diverse group of voters will come to light, possibly making the future of American voting different and exceptional.

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