Parental Parties
Photo by Keoni Cabral, Flickr CC.

Good news for social change: Most children don’t mindlessly follow the political views of their parents. Past research conceptualized children as blank slates who routinely inherited their parents’ political beliefs. In a recent American Sociological Review article, however, Christopher Ojeda and Peter Hatemi find otherwise.

Ojeda and Hatemi suggest a two-step process of political party transmission between parents and children: children must accurately perceive their parent’s attitudes, and then decide whether to adopt or reject the political party ideology they observe. The authors propose that children are not passive learners, though—children correctly perceive and then adopt parents’ political attitudes in less than half of the parent-child relationships they studied.

The authors used two data sets, the 1988 Health and Lifestyles survey and the 2006 and 2008 waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, to draw conclusions across generations. The perception of parental attitudes was the most important predictor in the transmission of political beliefs to children. Not surprisingly, children are more likely to adopt parents’ political attitudes if both parents held the same political identity, which likely leads to consistent informational cues. Children are also better able to correctly perceive parental attitudes in households that have political discussions, but this may not necessarily lead to adoption of these views.

These findings have potential implications for the transmission of other social views, such as “passing down” religiosity and other social norms. Children have self-determining agency, and parents may not hold as much responsibility for their children’s beliefs as previously thought.

Comments 2


August 19, 2016

It sure is awesome. My grandparents were Republican. My mother was a Democrat and all 7 of us kids are voting for Trump now! Also, being bullied by racist anti-white Mexican kids (being the only white kid in the whole school) has a lot to do with that. But don't mind me, my life doesn't fit into your narrative of only white people can be racist. It just really sucked being called racial slurs everyday and chased by Mexican boys throwing rocks at me calling "fking white girl" "white btch" "puta gringa" and all kinds I can't even get into... My dog was my only friend. Then when my brother was jumped by Mexican, they almost killed him. They put cigarettes out all over his body and they curbstomped him: dislocating his jaw and also busted his lips and cracked his top row of teeth in half. He had to have reconstructive surgeries... I guess that way payback for "stealing Mexico's land"... The time when my sister was 5 month pregnant with my half-black niece and was assaulted by an illegal Mexican molded me, too. It was an attempted rape and she bled so much from the beatings in her head with a giant spiked rock that she almost miscarried my niece and could have bled to death herself. She also gets jumped by black girls all her life because she dates black men, luckily she can take about 5 negresses at once. It's really something! I'm proud of her fist-fighting style, but personally I'm more of a 2nd Amendment kinds girl, let some black broads come at me... Sure all the anti-white hate-crime sucks, but I guess that's what my family gets for living in a border state. I started watching Colin Flaherty's YouTube with all the black on white (black on Asian, black on Gay, Black on Latino, ETC... ETC.... ETC...) crime that happens every day in this country that mainstream media ignores.... it's almost like the media wants white people to be oblivious to the hate crimes awaiting us outside of our doors.. It's almost like they want all white people to die. That's kind of like... genocide. #justsaying

Giovanni Bonilla

September 28, 2016

I think you missed the WHOLE point.

Comments are closed.