Do we truly know how to raise a conservative child? Hell no! We’re just doing the best we can. This is what we’re doing …
I’m afraid for my children.
I’m afraid for America.
I’m afraid for the world.
I begged my husband to help me last year with research on where in the world we could move and be left alone. When that didn’t produce the desired outcome, we began researching what it would take to move to a private island with a select group of like-minded friends and family.
Yes, I realize I was asking to start a commune, and I do not apologize for believing this might be one of the best options we could come up with if the world falls apart.
Last year wreaked havoc on my mental health. And had I not deleted Facebook from my phone to decrease my exposure to all the negativity in the U.S., I think I’d still be in a bad mental state.
And just when I thought I was doing okay, the feelings of despair over the world we’re raising our children in hit hard again with recent events and discussions.
We’re having regular, mature, and honest conversations with our children about the issues affecting the people of the United States (and the world in general). Not to worry them, but so that they’re not in the dark. We want them to know about the world in which they’re growing up. And we expect them to ask questions when they’re presented with ideas, beliefs, and theories outside of our home.
Of course, we always tell them that we try to give them facts, share our experiences, and let them know that they have to make up their minds about what they believe in.
A Few Things to Note
Before we begin, there are a few things to note here:
- I do not believe that all conservatives are racists, bigots or homophobes – those are very strong generalizations
- I do not believe we should be teaching our children to specifically look at or call attention to each other’s skin color
- I do not believe we should be adamantly against someone’s religious or personal beliefs
- I do believe the two-party system doesn’t provide a true middle ground that I think the majority of us would like to find ourselves in … so we have to take a stand on a side that houses some of the major policies we feel most closely represent our feelings.
- Trying to argue online will not change anyone’s mind
- Most importantly, resorting to name-calling and character attacks hurts your chances of effective discussion
- Finally, this post will not take on
Do Children Take Their Parents’ Political Beliefs?
I want to say yes but I know that’s not always true.
Growing up, I asked a crap-ton of questions and began to rebel or argue with my parents over what they believed.
Moving out on my own, working and having personal experiences as an adult, I found myself on the fence. Am I liberal? Am I conservative? There was no true answer because I found I could believe one thing from one side and then another thing from another side.
It wasn’t until I had children that I realized I hold mostly conservative values.
So, I think the answer to this question is: not necessarily. Perhaps having personal life experiences as we age determines more of our political beliefs than how our parents raise us.
But, if one never explores alternative thoughts then yes, I suppose children grow up to take their parents’ political beliefs.
Does Being a Parent Make You More Conservative?
The complicated thoughts I have about “political” subjects do not define me, politically.
There’s no way to lump oneself into a political camp fully because some issues cannot and do not belong to a political group. They are feelings and beliefs.
However, some issues that appear to be starkly “Liberal” do not align with what I feel is right for my children and their futures. So, yes, I do think being a parent has tipped the odds in favor of conservativism.
So What Am I Going on About?
Sometimes I’m sad about raising my children in our broken world of unhappy people that have lost sight of family, community, and the well-being of our children. I’m sad to watch more individual rights being stripped of hard-working, upstanding citizens. And all my negative feelings about our country came back in a big way when I had to submit to facial recognition to opt out of Advanced Child Tax Credit payments.
I couldn’t understand why nearly a year ago people were fighting against an ID requirement to vote, yet today, if you don’t want a government check, you have to submit to supplying your ID and a facial scan. Heaven help you if your scan doesn’t go well, because then you have to submit a load of documents and participate in a live chat to verify who you are. All because you don’t want the government to send you a regular check!
Our society puts money before everything.
Social media tells us what to be unhappy about, incites violence, and tells us whether or not we should believe in something (hello: banning physicians and scientists who believe something different).
Humans are putting their faith in media and government, allowing (even asking) for too much control.
I didn’t enjoy history classes, but I suppose I paid more attention than I thought at the time. I wonder about the majority of Americans though.
How to Raise a Conservative Child
It’s not an easy task. Already with our elementary-school-aged child, we’ve seen the use of subjects and leading language that guides her to believe what they want. And we’ve had to have discussions about learning to ask questions and think beyond what is taught in school.
Here are a few ways we’re hoping our discussions on current (and past) events lead our children toward conservativism, improve critical thinking skills, and question everything!
Here are some of the discussions we’ve had:
Should Violent Games Be Banned?
This was, seriously, a discussion in 4th grade to which my daughter believed the answer was “Yes.” Why? Because she believed based on her reading that violent video games make people violent.
Both her father and I were surprised by her response.
She and her brother play “Cel Damage” which is considered a violent game. She knows that her dad plays a violent game.
So, we reminded her of these things and asked if she believed she, her brother, or her father were violent people?
And what can someone do to blow off steam if their usual outlet is playing violent video games?
“I don’t know.”
Well, there’s a lot of options, right? But what if a violent video game is what keeps a person from acting out on strong emotions? What if punching a game character is emotionally fulfilling and you take that away from someone?
“Hmmm,” she says.
We’re not saying banning a violent video game will make people violent (although we have all heard the stories about the physically abusive kids who act out when their parents take electronics away). What we’re saying is that every decision can have unintended consequences!
What’s Up With These Policies?
I’m extremely grateful to be living in a Red State. It’s not perfect here, but we still have some freedoms. But I feel as though we’re losing ground as children grow up believing more and more what they’re being taught outside the home.
I read a book (and as always I never can remember which one it was) that stated (and I’m very loosely quoting):
“..if you don’t want your children to become liberals, make them go to work before they enter college.”
Now, I did a bit of work before and during college, but it wasn’t until I moved out on my own and became fully responsible for myself and my finances that I began to piece things together politically.
So, some of our conversations about political issues that could affect our children have been:
- Should trans women participate in female-only sports?
If they’re competing for scholarships, money, etc they should participate in the sport designed for the body they were given at birth.
Physiologically speaking, a man’s body does have an advantage in certain physical activities. Therefore, regardless of personal feelings, this person should not be allowed to participate in certain female sports when scholarships or other gains are to be had for the purposes of a future endeavor.
There are plenty of activities where females (trans women) can be equals among men and women. Anyone up for some racing?
Where are the feminists when you really need them?
- Should we subscribe to Critical Race Theory?
To be honest, I haven’t read up on this much, but our state has banned this for use in our school systems. I’m pretty sure I’m grateful for that too.
From the little I’ve seen and heard on it, our kids don’t need an excuse to look at race as something inherently wrong with a person. Nor do I think we need to be teaching children that their race holds them back or provides them an advantage in life.
Why would we teach our kids to think about a person’s color if we’re so desperately trying to make people blind to race?
We’ve talked with our children that a person’s race, ethnicity, religion or any other physical feature doesn’t make a person who they are.
Instead, we remind our children that a person is defined by their choices and actions.
If you think (or assume) otherwise, I must ask if you skipped the history lessons on Hitler and the Nazis.
- Give the Government More Control
Holy hell! Seriously?
Okay, the discussions with the kids have been:
People in Government = Corruption
Whether or not they intend to, money leads to greed. When we take into account the insane amount of money and retirement our Government is afforded, you must ask if your tax money is being used properly.
I want our politicians to be required to wear badges from the companies they’ve been sponsored by.
More Government = Less Freedom
Taxes, rules, etc. The more control government has, the fewer freedoms you will enjoy.
If you think the system is broken, why the fudge do you want the government to have more control?
- Should social media censor speech?
The truth about social media is that it doesn’t provide a safe space to talk with friends and family. Instead, it’s weaponized our speech causing friends and family to fight, block or unfriend each other. And, the social media giants censor what they deem “false” information.
Can you imagine how our world would have progressed if we censored and banned all the “crazy” intellectuals, scientists and inventors of the past?
What we tell our children is that if we have to hide our feelings or beliefs from our friends or loved ones, we need to ask ourselves if they’re people we should associate with.
If I can’t truly know a person, should I consider that person my friend? If a person has to hide their feelings from me, am I their friend? If a person doesn’t like what I feel or believe, are we meant to be friends?
Maybe censorship gets in the way of taking personal responsibility for our thoughts and actions!
Who else thinks it’s hard to raise a conservative child these days?
I have so many thoughts running through my head about the norms of broken families, pandering to feelings over facts and increased government control. So many conversations we’ve had with our kids that I realize we need to teach our children:
- To be confident and comfortable in their skin
- Not just to speak up but to listen and ask questions
- Not to allow media or people we know to silence us
- Not to give up rights solely because media has deemed them “the thing to do”
- Don’t just listen in history class … learn from it
- Accept peoples differences but remain true to yourself
Some additional suggestions:
- REALLY listen to the song “The Sound of Silence”
- Read these books:
Any other tips you can share??