Parental influence on one's political views is not as damaging as you may think

College students being influenced by their parents' opinions is not necessarily detrimental

Parents' influence on their children shapes who they become and helps create their moral compass. It is argued that parents are also largely responsible for their children's political views, even into adulthood. 

However, this is not to say that the influence of your parents' opinions should inhibit your independent thought. 

Lyubov Shkarupa, a nurse practitioner in Newark, NJ, said that children who overhear their parents' political beliefs during early development can “greatly affect their children’s political views later on in life.” 

As college students beginning a whole new chapter of independence, we begin to recognize the influence our parents have had on our political views thus far, and we begin to wonder whether this is positive or negative.

With the current political climate, politics seem to have become an unspeakable topic. 

Often times, we encounter differing opinions or perspectives that seem outlandish to us, which brings into question where people's political views come from and how much of it has to do with their upbringing. 

Following the chaotic presidential election, college students are passionately protesting or supporting President Trump. 

There are many cases where students who vehemently oppose or support certain politicians have parents that do as well. 

This is not necessarily a bad thing. A parent's influence over their children's political views is a natural occurrence, as we build a large portion of our belief system on what we learn from them — political views are just a small portion of that. 

Because college offers students the opportunity to think independently of their parents' influence for the first time, students are able to alter their beliefs. In other words, they are given the chance to stray from what their parents have taught them in the past. 

According to the British Journal of Political Science, "Children who are most likely to initially acquire the political views of their parents are also most likely to later abandon them as a result of their own engagement with the political world."

Parents can act as an early moral guide for their children, but this does not mean the belief system they instill is not subject to change.

However, following your parents' political views should not reflect poorly on you, especially as you are allowed to develop your own ideas independently. 

In an ASU survey, students were asked to answer six questions revolving around their political views and how their parents influenced them. 

Based on the survey, 73 percent of students voted the same way as their parents did in this past election, 80.8 percent said their parents did have some influence over their political views as a college student today and 95.7 percent said that this parental influence was positive.


Survey conducted by Abigail Warshaw with ASU students


Ultimately, parental figures can, in fact, play a big part in the political figures their children choose to support later on in their life, but college students are mature enough now to form their own ideas, should they disagree. 

Therefore, the influence parents have on political views should be viewed in a more positive light — we can not attribute their belief system solely to their parents' influence. 


Reach the columnist at awarshaw@asu.edu or follow @abbey_warshaw on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.Want to join the conversation? 

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