Parents, Children, and Politics – Are Our Kids Listening?

By admin ~ June 22nd, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

This is election year and often, as parents, our conversations turn to politics. Our beliefs, our fears, our tolerances or our impatience. Are our kids listening? Are they being influenced? Who is the bigger influence: Parents or Hollywood?

We all know Hollywood celebrities have a huge influence on people in general, especially
with children. Little Timmy sees Adam Sandler drinking his product-placed new flavor of
Mountain Dew and suddenly little Timmy wants it. Not a big surprise.

Most of these impressions are harmless, as long as parents maintain the final buying/consumption decisions. But more and more these days, celebrities are using their power to voice their personal political opinions. Which would be fine, but when their statements are bias and lean to the left or (occasionally) right, is that the message we want sent to our children? Does it follow our beliefs? And, how does it influence children?

When George Clooney goes up to accept his Academy Award and gives a long speech on how liberalism is basically the wave of the future, he’s molding his fans’ minds. Fans may or may not have already felt that way but his opinion seems to have an impact on society.

George Clooney is just an example. More and more politicians are using actors to be their voices.

You need not be politically active nor even agree with a political side to feel the influence. It is everywhere.

As adults/parents, chances are we have already formed our core beliefs. But, what about the kids?

Raising children today is much different than generations prior. Kids do talk about policies and elections. They live in the same world we do and are affected by many aspects of the political fall- out.

There is no way to completely isolate your children from differing political opinions. Even if you never let them watch tv or listen to the radio, there are still the playground, school and neighborhood friends that have been influenced and now feel empowered with their new viewpoint.

What you can do though is teach children how to become an informed American citizen and voter.

When your children turn 18 and go to the voting polls, hopefully you will have instilled in them a sense of responsibility to vote their minds based on research. Instead of a movie star influence.

They will have been exposed to the hidden messages in some of their favorite movies or shows and might think ‘wow, I can’t support this because Family Guy made fun of it.’ But, hopefully, with family discussions during their impressionable years, they will know enough to be able to sort through the facts to reach their own conclusions.

Wouldn’t it be great if Hollywood help send the message out to children to go research and find out for themselves what they truly believe in? Sad to say, some adults don’t even do that. They, too, succumb to well paid messages.

Voting is an extra ordinary privilege and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Each vote does count and it is our children we are handing over the governing to, all too soon.

Include your children in appropriate political discussions. Encourage them to ask questions and assist them with research on issues that are of interest to them.

There are plenty of websites and books out there speaking from a mutual standpoint so they can be educated and learn to vote for their own reasons on a subject. If they go left, that’s great. If they go right, that’s great, too. Just as long as they’re leaning one way or another for their own reasons based on solid information.

It is Hollywood’s right to speak out, just as it is anyone’s. That’s what makes this country so great, free speech.

It is a good thing when anyone speaks out and takes initiative regarding issues they
feel need changed or tweaked. Voices cause action.

But please, let it be parents who teach our children how to become an informed American Citizen. Let the influence begin in the family home. Let parents teach their children the true honor of living in this country. The right to our own opinion!

When the children grow up, hopefully they will be in the habit of being surrounded by influences but still thinking for themselves. If, as parents, we do our job well, the children may actually end up disagreeing with us on social issues.

If that is the case, and your children form that opinion based on experiences and research, than you have done well by them. After all, you can teach facts and figures but you can’t teach an opinion…

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