Politics and Parenting Reprise

There was a popular TV show in the 1980s called Family Ties about Boomer Parents and their Gen X firstborn.  Elyse and Steven are Democrats (Dad works for Public Television, for Pete’s sake) and their son – Alex P. Keaton – is a conservative Republican.  Sitcom hilarity subsequently ensued.

According to this recent article, from information first published in Psychological Science, researchers have determined that authoritarian parents tend to raise politically conservative children and egalitarian parents tend to raise politically liberal children.  In other words, Alex P. Keaton would be an anomaly.

We adults define “good children” in different ways.  Some of us define “good children” as being compliant and obedient.  Others of us define “good children” as being fearless and inquisitive.  Which temperament would you prefer to have in your real or imaginary children?

Conservative families tend to have more fearful children, according to this article.  Their children are more afraid of breaking the rules, getting into trouble, and being excluded if they go a different way.   Have you found this to be true in your family or in other families you know?

Liberal families tend to have more fearless children.  Their children are temperamentally more restless and focused on activities.  Have you found this to be true?

As I’ve shared before, there seem to be two basic parenting styles.  And while it’s really easy to peg people and their their children, I am amazed when parents raise children who see the world in a diametrically different way than they do.

Republican parents tend to raise Republican children.  Democratic parents tend to raise Democratic children.  Or do we?


2 responses to “Politics and Parenting Reprise

  1. I grew up in a liberal town with a Democrat single mom and all her Dem friends. Alex P. Keaton was who I wanted to be.

    I was solidly Republican in high school and through college. When hundreds of people gathered to protest the first Gulf War I found the 5-10 college Republicans who were counter-protesting. I gave money to the GOP, the Christian Coalition, and had signed pictures of Rush Limbaugh and Dan Quayle.

    But I was heavily influenced by two things beyond my Democrat mom:

    1) My conservative evangelical youth director who was a mentor and a friend. That relationship and my involvement in the youth group as a youth and leader for more than a decade was a huge part of my life.

    2) I’m a contrarian by nature. I love to be in the ideological minority. So it was fun for me to be the conservative growing up in a liberal environment. This also helped fuel my evangelical fervor. I thought I was ready to take a Left Behind/Red Dawn kind of stand for my faith.

    So what about now? I’m a radical lefty. Ok, I don’t know about radical. But I’m still contrarian enough to vote Green Party in presidential elections. 🙂

  2. Raised in the Redneck Shallow South by very conservative parents, I am the only Democrat in our family. Husband was raised in a large city, but also by conservative parents, he is one of two Democrats in his clan. We raised one Democrat and one Libertarian. I did not see that last thing coming. 🙂

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