children and political affiliation

beliciousbelicious Posts: 196Registered Users
I have a few nieces and nephews that are aged 12 and 16 that are on Facebook and list their political party on their profile. Basically they consider themselves similar politically as their parents! What do people think of this? As a mom of a 2 year old, I do not want my son at 12 or maybe even 16 having their mind made up about a political affiliation yet. I plan on discussing political issues at home but hopefully with explanation of all sides of an issue if my child asks questions. Parents of 12 -17 year olds: is it common for kids to have decided on a political party at this age and to proudly express it? I remember becoming more interested in politics around 18, but even then I was more exploring the political parties rather than firmly committed to one.
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  • notegalnotegal Posts: 560Registered Users
    Well to be honest when I was in high school or college I could care less about what was happening in the world regarding politics. That was my early 20's, I've hit 26 and have a completely opposite view of politics and how they affect everyday life.

    So why did my views change?
    One, my family takes a liberal view to politics and they could care less about it, must less even understand what was going on when I was younger. They are a bunch of moderates to leftys. Not to offend anyone, but that's what they are. So I was brought up thinking what they thought, and for the most part didn't really get into discussing politics with anyone. Nor did I put my political views on my web pages because I didn't understand it or take the time to learn it, and just thought what they thought was right.

    I hit 24 or 25 and moved away from home and that's when I started actually paying attention to what was going on. I have had a little help with learning about all philosophies of the political spectrum and understanding what is going on from my dear boyfriend, but for the most part I chose to learn on my own. I still choose to learn to this day.
    I still don't say what political philosophy I tend to lean towards. I figure the people that know me best know who/what I'm for and who/what I'm against. I've heard people say as you get older sometimes it's best people don't know what you're for or against as it doesn't always help certain situations in life.

    As far as sites go why must we let it all hang out for people to see? I think sometimes it's best we don't tell everyone everything.
    As far as it goes for kids agreeing with their parents, have they ever taken the time to take a look at both sides or do they just assume that if their parents agree or disagree with a political philosophy they should agree? What happened to people actually thinking for themselves and not having everyone do it for them? What happened with people actually going out and learning what works for them?
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  • beliciousbelicious Posts: 196Registered Users
    notegal said: "What happened with people actually going out and learning what works for them? "

    This basically why I am asking the question. This is what I wish to encourage my children to do. I know that I will share my biases at times, but ultimately I would be more proud of my child for thinking things through on their own and making their own decisions rather than just stating my beliefs as their own. But I am not sure how realistic that is? I think children at certain ages are more likely to just want what their parents want... Just curious if other parents thought like me but ended up with children at various stages of their lives who just wanted to be just like them!
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  • BoomygrrlBoomygrrl Posts: 4,940Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I know at that age, they're still trying to figure things out for themselves. Their parents are a guideline for that.
    I know I was a republican when I was a kid, just like my parents. As I got older, I was more aware and I changed my mind.
    I don't see it as a problem. We don't learn in vacuums. It makes perfect sense for some kids to agree with their parents and others to disagree, depending on their personalities...but still they're using their parents as a sounding board either way.
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  • beliciousbelicious Posts: 196Registered Users
    My parents have different political views and they discussed them with us, but I never felt that I needed to agree with either one. They never explicitly said that it was up to me to make up my own mind, but I decided that early on. I am thinking that I might say explicitly to my child as he is growing up that I feel this way about things, but it's for him to decide how he feels about things. Make sense?! I guess the main thing is I do not want him to feel approved of or feel that I am proud of him simply because he says he feels the same as I do about political issues. Does that make sense? I wonder how other parents handle this.
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  • MichelleBFTMichelleBFT Posts: 4,812Registered Users
    My parents never told us what their political beliefs were when us kids were growing up. They'd discuss issues with us; my father LOVED to play devil's advocate. He never ever let any of us just parrot something we'd heard somewhere else, he would grill us on why we felt that way, needle us about the opposing viewpoint, etc., but they were never particularly forthright about it. It was never a, "Well this is what's right. There are some OTHER PEOPLE out there who believe this (snicker snicker), but that's not what WE believe.) Good dog, I can't even imagine my mother saying that.

    It wasn't until we were old enough to have formed our own opinions that they started being more forthright about their own. By then I already knew how I felt about most things, so what they thought wasn't nearly so important.

    And, FWIW, I had strong political opinions by the time I was 13 or 14, so it's not so strange to me that the people the OP are describing have decided to affiliate themselves.
    "And politically correct is the worst term, not just because it’s dismissive, but because it narrows down the whole social justice spectrum to this idea that it’s about being polite instead of about dismantling the oppressive social structure of power.
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  • AmnerisAmneris Posts: 15,117Registered Users
    I only see a problem with it if their parents are conservative/republican/ right-wing. Those ranks don't need to be increased any more ;)

    Seriously, I think it is good that kids are talking and thinking about politics, even if they are just copying their parents. A lot of kids have no clue and no interest at all in civic affairs, which is a shame. Isn't that the point of parenthood - to set an example for your kids? Kids tend to follow their parents in religion, manners, values, attitudes towards education, culture etc. etc. etc. so why not politics? I would be honoured and flattered if my kids wanted to follow my politics. I think if they didn't I'd be more concerned as to what I did to turn them off or why they wanted to rebel against me so drastically.

    Also, I wouldn't assume that their only reason is because their parents follow that party. Maybe that has set the foundation for influencing them, but they still have to make their own minds up in the end. My parents and I support the same party, but I distinctly remember being around 17 and the parties all came to my school to speak around an election. I was impressed with the speaker from my parents' party who spoke in favour of immigrants, the poor, the needy etc. and after the speech, I signed up to join their youth wing and be a volunteer. I wore their button, delivered flyers and asked my parents to take a lawn sign (they didn't because they don't believe in that.) Those were all things I did on my own. Politics has always been discussed passionately in my home by my mama and her family and it was always hammered home that we as women/Black people/people from former "colonies" fought hard for the right to vote and should use it and use it wisely in an informed way. However, because my father's homeland became a Communist state, he believes in keeping one's politics private, and so, even though he and I share beliefs, I express them much more openly than he ever would.
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  • mad scientistmad scientist Posts: 3,530Registered Users
    I think Facebook just makes it easy to put all that info "out there" whereas before you'd actually have to engage someone in a conversation to find out their political affiliations.

    I definitely talked politics with my parents when I was a high schooler.
  • Ryfrie21Ryfrie21 Posts: 40Registered Users
    When I was younger I definitely knew my parents were Republicans but I never knew much about it myself. Since going to college, I've become a lot more active and I'm by far more of a right wing conservative than my parents even are. But now I KNOW why. Being raised in a Catholic home, I don't agree with abortion. I also don't agree with unions or hello, Obama's healthcare/insurance reform. I've always been a little Republican, but I would definitely say I didn't know why until I went to college and got into conversations with others. I live in Wisconsin too, and every campus is EXTREMELY liberal. Through that I was able to get opposing views on policies and it also strengthened my roots.
  • curlygirlymecurlygirlyme Posts: 1,340Registered Users
    Amneris wrote: »
    I only see a problem with it if their parents are conservative/republican/ right-wing. Those ranks don't need to be increased any more ;)

    Good luck with that... I've got a gaint family full of them and there are still 20 grandkids who haven't had kids yet look out we're coming. :laughing4:
  • zcurlygirlzcurlygirl Posts: 217Registered Users
    One of my friends had very strong political views from the age 10 (she organized a rally for kids at her school in 5th grade). Yes, most of her views go along with the views of her parents, but I have witnessed many instances of them arguing about issues in today's world; i.e. healthcare, the war in iraq, etc. All of her opinions come from research and critical thinking, and she is much more knowledgeable about certain political topics than many adults these days.

    I think children and teens absolutely should be involved in what is happening in the government because the decisions the government makes, affects them and will continue to affect them for the rest of their lives.
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