Parental Influence; Helpful or Destructive


Photo by Tessa Guthrie

Empty playground.

In 2012, I was in fourth grade and Barack Obama was running against Mitt Romney for president. Our school held a fake election where all the elementary students submitted a vote for a candidate. I voted Mitt Romney.
My teacher asked me why I voted for Romney, and I replied, “Because my Dad talks about him a lot and has his signs in our yard.” My other classmates had similar answers to why they voted for a certain candidate. I thought nothing more of this, I was focused on more important things––like the silly band epidemic.
Middle school was a whole new world. We talked about important issues like politics at lunch, and we all knew exactly what we were talking about and what was the truth. In reality, we had all just heard our parents talk about politics and whatever they said was true.
In 2016 I was in eighth grade and Hillary Clinton was running against Donald Trump. I was in and elective Model UN class. Everyone in the class was very opinionated on the subject, meaning some kids would come into class with ‘Make America Great Again’ hats, and talk about how great Trump was while others ranted about how Trump was horrible. When some kids were asked why they supported Trump they would talk about the tax cuts and Clinton’s emails, but not about the sexual assault claims or offensive comments. I couldn’t decide if they supported him because it was funny or because they thought that he was a good candidate. I realized that it was because of their parents influence when a dad and a kid and my class came to school wearing matching Trump attire.
Parental influence can be very critical in a child’s life. More often than not, parents teach their children important values like kindness and to be polite, but there are times when a parent should step back and let their children develop their opinions and values without being told that a parents opinions are facts.
Hunter Love, a freshman at AHS agrees. “Personally I’d rather be able to make my own decisions about beliefs than being swayed by my parents. Kids shouldn’t be taught there is only one right and one wrong based on a candidate or party,”
Parental influence has a huge impact on a child’s opinions and view of the world. Sometimes without realizing it, parents are being observed by their kids every second, and their children often imitate their actions causing a continuous chain reaction of the same values throughout generations.