How to Raise a Little Liberal (Or Conservative)
Parents: Do you find yourselves arguing with your adult children over who deserves to win the upcoming election? Does it confuse and frustrate you to realize your political viewpoints are so different?
Newly published research suggests you may only have yourself to blame.
Providing the best evidence yet to back up a decades-old theory, researchers writing in the journal Psychological Science report a link between a mother’s attitude toward parenting and the political ideology her child eventually adopts. In short, authoritarian parents are more prone to produce conservatives, while those who gave their kids more latitude are more likely to produce liberals.
This dynamic was theorized as early as 1950. But until now, almost all the research supporting it has been based on retrospective reports, with parents assessing their child-rearing attitudes in hindsight.
This new study, by a team led by psychologist R. Chris Fraley of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, begins with new mothers describing their intentions and approach in 1991, and ends with a survey of their children 18 years later. In between, it features an assessment of the child’s temperament at age 4.