Are you trying to influence your tween's politics?

Are you trying to influence your tween's politics?

Are you and your tween watching and talking about the political conventions? Planning to tune in to Mitt Romney's speech in Tampa? Counting down the days until Obama's speech in Charlotte?

We are in this house.  Actually, we are DVRing because school night bedtime makes staying up for speeches a bit tough, but we're talking about the conventions around our house and discussing the campaign and electoral process.

My tween is getting various political views from her parents.  We do not agree, but we work hard to model intelligent discussion and respectful discourse. This means that I have had to stop flicking my husband in the head when I disagree with him.  Or at least cut back on that.

I'm glad that my tween can get two viewpoints at one dinner table. I want her to make up her own mind. (No, I won't flick her if she disagrees, I promise.)   I want her to be an independent thinker. I want her to know that I trust her, although I suspect that trusting her on this is a whole lot easier when she can't cast a vote. I want her to learn early that as a citizen she needs to be informed and that takes effort, both in researching the facts and understanding your own beliefs. Not only that, but I also suspect that if I try to shove something down her throat, she will soundly and permanently reject it.

Other parents I know don't buy into that method.  They are are working hard to make sure their tween shares their viewpoint and imparting their beliefs and passion to their tweens. They are getting their kids involved in their party early. Some kids I know march in parades supporting a political party even before they are tweens.  The youngest Republican convention delegate is 17 year-old Evan Draim.  I'm going to guess Evan was a very politically active tween. Perhaps he would not be at the convention if his parents had taken the laissez-faire "decide on your own" approach.  Maybe my kid will blame me in 2020 when she isn't a delegate.

Which approach do you take with your tween - are you working to influence their political views or letting them chart their own course?



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