What makes a conservative? What makes a liberal? New research suggests that political socialization begins with parenting. Mothers and fathers who adopt an authoritarian parenting style (as opposed to an egalitarian style) tend to raise children who endorse conservative ideologies as adults.
But it isn't just as simple as nurture over nature. Children with fearful dispositions are more likely to grow up with conservative values, too. Researchers at University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana confirmed these theories in an important, if not exactly earth-shattering, study published in Psychological Science recently.
Psychological scientist Richard Fraley and his colleagues looked at early childhood and youth development data from the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). In the longitudinal study, parents of 1-month-old children answered a questionnaire, which Fraley et al. used to determine whether the parents were more authoritarian or egalitarian. (Authoritarian parents were defined as being more likely to use punishment, emphasize obedience, and have strict rules for discipline and behavior, whereas egalitarian parents were seen as less rigid and more open to their children voicing opinions and bending the rules.)
When the kids turned 4 and a half, their mothers filled out questionnaires on their children's temperaments. At age 18, the children with authoritarian parents were more likely to be conservative. The researchers found similar results among the fearful children--those who were afraid of the dark or who would get upset watching a sad event on television--regardless of how they were raised. At age 18, they had more conservative values than those who had restless, active or attention-focusing temperaments as children.
Fraley and his colleagues hope future studies will look at things like parent-child conflict and genetic makeup to link parents' influence and temperament on children's political ideology. Then we'll be able to draw stronger conclusions about why conservatives and liberals believe what they believe.
It's not a stereotype if there's science behind it, right?
So parents too scared to be in control of their kids raise kids with little self control.....got it.
My parents were very strict, very authoritarian, but I escaped from that horrible mindset.
The whole authoritarian thing seems like mental illness and child abuse to me.
The two first comments are so opposite from one another. One calls a more liberal or egalitarian mindset a lack of self control and the other calls the conservative or authoritarian mindset a mental illness and child abuse.
I find that very funny and interesting.
Bagpipes refers with his 'too scared to be in control' towards the typical obedience towards 'authorities' found in conservative folks (be it the invisible man called god or social structural ones like law&order/king&country).
So in no way are those two comments opposite from each other.
They are infact complimentary - being incapable of deciding for one own and following orders/authorities and indoctrinating their children to follow orders instead of thinking for themselves...
"Blame your parents!"
Or thank them. I would never have forgiven them if I'd turned out to be a liberal.
Those who have self control do think for themselves, that's the point. They don't run on every whim they have. Self-control is a learned trait, authority when younger is the lattice it is built on.
Liberals just like to go on whims, they are enslaved and controlled by their chaotic passions. When you choose to submit to an authority then you learn self control and actually become more free, because you are living less on passion and more on your own choices.
@Murkus, you need to go back to school and learn some critical reading skills. It is obvious that bagpipes is saying that parents who do not discipline their children and teach them right from wrong, are raising individuals who will have no sense of right and wrong and who will turn out to be not just liberals, but thieves and burdens on society.
@GeeWhizBang, maybe you have mommy or daddy issues. Or maybe you are just a selfish and arrogant person who cannot see the forest through the trees. Children need structure and their parents are supposed to be in control of them. It is the adults' responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of their dependent children until the child has reached the age of majority or been legally emancipated.
Lastly, I think it is a sick misallocation of anyone's time and money to do any research into this B.S. Further, why is it that the article said anything about using genetics to determine political affiliation? That sounds alot like talk that leads up to the stategies of eugenics that this nation threw away after seeing what happened to millions of people in Germany, Poland, and even here at home. I am of course speaking about WWII NAZI (National Socialist Party) concentration camps and U.S. forced sterilization laws. I thought that we were better as a nation than to even suggest this type of wholesale violence as a solution to political turmoil.
strict authoritarian parents that force a "structured" set of rules and regulations on a child hinder creativity and personal growth.
Perhaps we should all blindly follow the rules and regulations established by our government.
I'm just glad I had both parents to raise me, no matter how many mistakes they've made on the way. I feel differently toward them today than I did growing up. I don't have kids of my own yet, but I don't know how I'd be able to raise a kid these days. Sadly, more and more families are lacking both parents - you just got to hand it to them for trying.
I'm not sure about the study though, someone I used to be close to turned out to be VERY liberal (like totally out there) despite his parents strictness. Of course, this could just be rebellion at play. Kids will be kids sometimes.
I find it funny how some of you guy think not being Authoritarian means not having any rules or morals.
that says something about you and little of it good sorry.
anyway this makes sense conservative people are fearful, it doesn't matter if they're from the U.S., England, china, Afghanistan or anywhere else. Anyone who is different or has different idea is a monster out to get them. The rights hate of anything or anyone homosexuals or Muslims shows this perfectly.
They don't know these people but they're different and someone somewhere who was one did something bad real or imagined so they must all be a threat, it's an I'm always right you're wrong view of that world that breads Authoritarian ideas.
Liberals aren’t afeard of differences, change or being wrong which is why the two don’t get along so well.
@dex drako - "...it's an I'm always right you're wrong view of that world that breads Authoritarian ideas"..."Liberals aren’t afeard of differences, change or being wrong which is why the two don’t get along so well."
Defending your self righteousness with negative connotations are we!?
I never really thought about this liberal / conservative thing so many people seem to enjoy so much until 2008 and the last presidential election. I guess I just didn't care I just decided for myself everything.
But since then I've thought about the dynamic quite a bit, and this article surprises me.
From what I've been able to divine liberals are actually the most controllable and controlled by authority people. They cheer for all authoritarian moves yet think themselves free spirits for doing so. Only on certain allowed subjects like abortion, drug use and gay marriage all things designed to degrade and eventually help collapse from inner rot, the society are they allowed freedom by their thought police.
I'm not a conservative or a liberal. But this article helped me to understand better, you actually believe you fight for freedom by accepting tyrrany? The only way to ensure it is by giving yourself and everyone else body and soul to a central authority?
I assumed you realized your actions would lead to the obvious end and cheered for it. But you actually don't know, do you. You've had up defined as down and down as up so often and for so long, you've never questioned your own beliefs.
This is scarier than the former assumption. If a person knows that the end will be evil, AND it will affect them negatively, their are natural limits to what someone will do. But if they don't realize the end results of their actions will be negative there is no end to what they can be convinced to do (think naziism or communism as just two examples). How do you stop someone from destroying everything when they believe that the end result, as long as it is their side doing it, will be good?
I've now decided of the two conservative is less evil than liberal. Though I really think everyone should rethink the idea that the universe and human mind are bounded in a one dimensional, and completely binary (left OR right) world. That makes no sense and was only defined that way by Hegal to move people in any direction with the polarized dialectic between two (and only two) opposed camps.
There are an almost infinite number of directions you can take, and only by where you arbitrarily place the boundary line in the sand can you define what is opposite. The current left vs right debate only works when you place these lines on an arbitrary and highly emotional argument abortion for instance. Do you stand for the rights of the woman not to be forced to have her rapists or incest baby OR do you stand for the rights of the innocent baby that just wants to have a chance at life. Both fine choices I'm sure and both where you can feel you have the moral high ground both highly emotionally charged and hard not to have an opinion. That's how it works. Divide and destroy.
Life would be so much easier if our political opponents would just go away, or be converted so that everyone would think just like us. Not gonna happen. Even if it did, it would only last for 5 minutes and then some heretics would be inventing knew philosophies that would be going against the status quo.
Being more conservative or more liberal is not what determines one person's character. It only shows that some people are more inclined to take risks than others.
Where do Libertarians fit into this study? I grew up with strict parents who constantly worked, forcing my brothers and I to often fend for ourselves. Parents who allow their children to become self-sufficient, I think generally raise kids who will grow up to be Libertarians, with a "survival of the fittest" mentality. They become adults who feel that government handouts and social programs infringe on their independence.
We're not "afraid" of change or being wrong. We're afraid of too large of a government, a government that has been given too much power. Most of the social issues discussed by today's politicians shouldn't even be an issue for the federal government; things such as abortion and gay marriage should be a decision for the individuals involved, the government shouldn't have a say in what each individual does with their life; and a politician's religious beliefs should play no part in these decisions either.
Just because you're catholic and your beliefs say abortion is wrong, doesn't mean I'm catholic and that my beliefs say abortion is wrong. To avoid this issue, just avoid the issue; keep the decision out of the governments hands and let the individuals decide.
Social programs like Social Security and Medicare should be privately funded programs that people can elect to buy into rather than public programs everyone receiving a paycheck is forced to pay for. If you're worried about not being able to pay for healthcare in the future, by all means buy into these programs, so the money will be there when you need it. People shouldn't be forced to pay for things they may or may not ever use.
I see this study making some sense though. I have several friends who's parents were not strict at all and let their kids do whatever they wanted. Those friends are very liberal. I also have friends who's parents are still strict, and they are very conservative; a couple of them are also Libertarians, who's parents also worked a lot forcing them to fend for themselves; further support for my theory.
I think the conclusion that children who fend for themselves as ending by being libertarians is a bit premature.
To counter your own experiences, my parents were also out of the house a lot, and I certainly had the same experience. In fact, to my parents' dismay, I started reading before they thought to teach me. That being said, I'm best described as a social democrat. I'm not saying it's impossible that I'm an outlier, but the argument could easily be made that independent children form beliefs independent of their cultures, which seems reflexive (like this study).
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how's this: I'm a libertarian who doesn't believe in mandatory schooling and believes "kid" who are 14 are just as old as they've ever been in the past and should be considered adults, I strongly value autonomy and support the sudbury method of schooling. That said I hate large federal government and am a strong supporter of state and city rights. I believe in low government spending and NO government regulation in any business or what people take into their bodies. Also I don't like fighting constant wars and would never gone into iraq and would adopt a defensive foreign policy. I wouldn't allow gays marriage rights... because i wouldn't regulate marriage at a governmental level at all. I would leave abortion up to the states though personally I think the woman should be able to be charged by her significant other with murder. I've always lived by my own moral code (which is based around what the bible ACTUALLY says, not what people pretend it does) and, despite having a controlling mother, was always in fights with her and always did my what i believed to be right. I don't like the field of sociology as it puts the childs upbringing on the parents where I barely ever spoke to my father and was always into fights with my mom. I was raised by books, friends, relatives, and personal experience, not by two random people. The thing is people don't and never will fit into stereotypes this only happens in strict authoritarian nations, and even those don't last for too long.
Obvious? For me what would be obvious was that strict parents produce rebel children...
I noticed how PopSci is leaning towards politics nowadays... perhaps a result of the upcoming Presidential Election?
I disagree strict parents do not raise conservative kids.