Its turns out that when it comes to elections, we are all a little biased, even down to the decision of whether to not vote. Studies show that voting is nothing more than a habit, equal to brushing your teeth twice a day. Just like all habits, it is learned behavior. Behavior we learn from, you guessed it, our parents. In fact if you vote in the first three elections you are eligible too, I’m talking everything from mayoral to presidential, then you are likely to be a life long voter. Not only that but so are your kids.
The influence that our voting has on our kids during election time goes much further than whether they end up in the ballot box, we also sway them on which they will vote. We are responsible for teaching our children a moral system including our opinions on different ethical issues, so it only makes sense that has adults they would vote along the same lines as the way they were raised. Kids are naturally curious (I dare you to show me a five year old who favorite word isn’t why) and in our explanations of the world and its politics we can either voluntarily or involuntarily influence their future thoughts on matters. Quite frankly no one was born a racist or sexist, someone had to teach them that behavior.
So how do we encourage our kids to vote but to also think for themselves? According an article in the New York Tines on the subject, http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/11/07/well/family/what-really-makes-us-vote-it-may-be-our-parents.html, it’s best to proceed with caution and to be aware of the little listening ears. As American parents, we need to teach and encourage involvement in the diplomatic system. The best way to do this is by example, i.e. by voting ourselves. Make a big deal out of election by taking the kids with you and stressing that its an adults duty and responsibility to vote. Be careful though when it comes to talking about he candidates or declaring a party. As Dr. Mark Franklin of Trinity College puts it, treating voting like taking them to church. Its alright to educate them on your beliefs and why you feel that way but you should also encourage them to make their own decisions and draw their own conclusions.