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Politics: From the Teen’s View

by Jacob P. | November 28th, 2012 | Teen Perspective, Teens

I understand that the elections have already occurred, but I didn’t feel a need for this article until the night of the election. The effect of parenting on political views has always been obvious, but I never really considered how powerful it is, because I’m a relatively independent minded teenager (in the political sense). Then, on the night of the election, my Facebook Newsfeed exploded with posts about the candidates, many of which were blatantly uninformed or offensive. This got me thinking about how parenting can effect a teenager’s political views.

Like many other children and young adults, I have asked my parents about their political views before. When I was younger, I would base my own political views around those of my parents, not knowing any better. Many children do this, as do some teenagers and even a percentage of adults. Anyway, as I grew older, I found myself deviating from the views of my parents. Eventually, I reached the point where I am now, where I have a political view that’s entirely separate from those of my parents (libertarian, if you would like to know).

Sadly, I feel that many teenagers do not develop their own independent opinions. Some teenagers may not be informed enough to have their own thoughts and others may just share their thoughts with their parents, but this percentage is probably smaller than one would think. Many parents are far too restrictive with the political views of their children. They insist that their party or candidate of choice is always correct, thus bending the viewpoint of their child into one that sees the same as they do. Because of this, I have some tips that will (hopefully) help you prevent yourself from controlling your child’s political views.

  1. Being open to political debating with your child will help them grow into an open-minded and intelligent individual. If you are closed to debate and simply say that you’re right without backing it up, it simply teaches them to be close-minded and “dumb.”
  2. If your candidate of choice makes a gaffe, don’t be afraid to admit it. I believe that our political parties’ habit of ignoring any errors made by their candidate has helped form this close-minded “I’m perfect” attitude our society has accepted.
  3. If you can’t back up your point, don’t express it to your child. I have been in many political discussions with fellow teens who use unsupported arguments… many of whom use the “My parents said so” excuse when you point out the lack of evidence. This will only make you look bad and, once again, close-minded.
  4. Finally, please, please, don’t insist that your opinion is the truth and everyone else is wrong. There is no such thing as a truthful opinion. And opinion, by definition, cannot be right or wrong. I have literally heard a classmate say, “I’m just using the truth to tell others that their opinion is wrong.” This will only make you (and possibly your child) look like a jerk.

I know politics can be a touchy subject, but hopefully this can help prevent you from accidentally stunting your child’s growth in their political opinions.

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