Think back to your first political memory...what is it?
Maybe you overheard your parents discussing candidates at dinner or a relative screaming incredulously at the TV screen during a presidential debate. For many, political ideologies are shaped in large part from what we learn as kids from parents and other relatives.
Whether we carry these ideologies or beliefs with us throughout adolescence and into adulthood varies from person to person, but there’s no question that family plays an important role during a child’s formative years in terms of planting the seeds of political ideologies.
During an election season full of intense rhetoric and hyper-partisanship, there are no doubt plenty of parents whose kids are asking pointed questions about candidates and policies as they hear family members at home or friends at school talking about it.
But what’s the best way to approach talking to your kids about elections? How different is it from the way your parents talked to you about politics and elections? Do you impart your own values on your children in the hopes they’ll take root, or do you let your kids find their own way to conclusions? How do you handle it if your kids’ political values don’t match your own?
Lynn Vavreck, professor of political science at UCLA