Teens influenced by household views

“I’m a democrat, I think…”

Parents and home life have a big impact on the way children and young adults behave and carry themselves, and they also have a heavy influence on how they think about things, such as religion and politics.  With the race for the presidency being spotlighted by media, the halls and classrooms at Marshfield are filled with students giving their opinion on the matter, or rather the opinions of their moms and dads.

Recently, in my US History class, a discussion broke out involving the second Republican Presidential debate after it had aired on television the previous night. I was surprised to see nearly every student with their hand in the air, eager to speak. Only a handful, however, could actually argue and have an educated discussion about it. There were few students who actually knew what each candidate stood for, while the majority of the class was most likely just repeating the conversation they heard over the dinner table among family members.

When it came time for my turn to share my thoughts on the debate I simply responded by saying, “Well, I come from a pretty liberal Democratic family.”

When my history teacher, Debbie Brown, said, “Well that doesn’t mean that you have to be,” I realized that I was guilty of the very thing I was accusing my classmates of. Growing up in a very progressive and liberal family, under the influence of two Democratic parents, I have always considered myself the same when really I am not educated enough to make the decision between any party.

Not only do I see evidence of this in school, but frequently on various social media sites. When scrolling down Facebook, I constantly see kids my age posting articles on political issues and writing their opinions. This often sparks arguments in the comment section.  When reading these comments I often see anger in the replies of students who do not necessarily agree.  This makes me wonder, why is there such passion behind something they don’t even know much about?

Most teenagers will grow into adults with the same views and behaviors as their parents and eventually pass those on to their children. I feel it is often a parent’s goal to produce almost mirror images or even better versions of themselves through their children.  Students may express a political opinion, however many are not educated enough on the topic to have one of their own.

This problem can be solved by educating students more on modern issues and current events to help them formulate their own opinions for when it is their turn to vote, whether that be as a Democrat, Republican or an independent voter. Marshfield does offer a semester of Economics and Contemporary issues to seniors, however, incorporating these modern issues in history classes earlier in a student’s high school career may help them get a better grasp on politics before they reach their senior year.

With a more educated society, students will be able to make their own opinions and not just fall back on their parents’ views while readying them for when they are able to vote. Kids being influenced by their parents will naturally occur, however better informing them now will help them make better decisions in the future.