Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Why conservative parents raise progressive children

There is a WND columnist named Dennis Prager whose writing is, I believe, outstanding. Last week and this week, he wrote a two-part column that absolutely nails why conservative parents often end up with adult children who are progressive, and who reject all the values with which they were raised.

The first column is entitled Conservative Parents, Left-Wing Children.

The follow-up column is entitled If You Want a Conservative Child.

Some quotes to highlight:

• "As a father, my purpose is not to pass on my seed, but to pass on my values." [Pride in our children comes not just with achievement, but with character. As Dr. Laura once said, the world is full of smart kids. What we need are more good kids.]

• "But the village – i.e., American society – has radically changed... Virtually every institution outside the home has been captured by people with left-wing values: specifically the media (television and movies) and the schools (first the universities and now high schools)." [Which is why I'm SO thankful we have no television reception and have homeschooled our girls.]

• "[I]t is best that your child not go to college immediately after high school. One reason colleges are able to indoctrinate students is that students enter college young and unworldly. It is very rare that adult students are convinced to abandon their values and become left-wing. Why? Because they have lived life and are much less naive. For example, someone with life experience is far more likely than a kid just out of high school to understand that the best formula for avoiding poverty is to take personal responsibility – get a job, get married and then have children – not government help.

• "Teenagers who spend a year before going to college working – in a restaurant, for a moving company, at an office – will mature far more than they would after a year at college. And maturity is an inoculation against leftism." [The inference -- that progressive values are a sign of immaturity -- is a whole different subject.]

• "The more your child knows, lives and adheres to the principles of [Judeo-Christian religions], the less likely he or she will convert to leftism, which has been the most dynamic religion of the last hundred years. For example, it is a fundamental belief of each of these Judeo-Christian religions that the root of evil is within the evildoer. But it is a fundamental belief of leftism that people murder, steal and rape overwhelmingly because of outside influences such as poverty and racism. The moment your child understands that people who commit evil are responsible -- not poverty or racism -– they cannot be a leftist."

• "[D]on’t be preoccupied with instilling high self-esteem in your child. It is the left that believes that self-esteem is a child’s right, something that parents and society owe children. Conservatives believe that everyone, including children, must earn self-esteem. Indeed, the belief in earning –- rather than in being given –- is conservative."

• "It is not all that hard to produce a son or daughter able to withstand left-wing indoctrination. You just have to understand that it doesn’t happen automatically."

A recent email I received accused me of being full of pride. He's correct in one regard: I am very very proud of our girls. They are carrying on the conservative values Don and I hold dear.


  1. When I was a high school teacher, one of my students told me that I needed to respect him. When I asked him what he had done to earn my respect, he couldn't come up with an answer. Finally he said that I showed respect for his buddy but not him. I replied that his buddy had earned my respect by working hard and being nice to everyone. He was unable to understand why he couldn't be respected when he was consistently lazy and was rude to everyone (girls in particular). I doubt if he has changed any since then.

    1. The student is a human being and deserves respect. The teacher is a human who also deserves respect. The teacher may or may not deserve more respect than the student, I don't know the teacher so I cannot say. But the teacher does not necessarily deserve more respect on the basis that they are a teacher. Just because they are a teacher does not deserve more respect. There are teachers who deserve less respect based on their actions.

  2. I think "our" biggest problem is a lack of "real world" experience. 99% of our children and adults have never experienced hunger (in spite of what the left would have you believe about the poor in this country). Except for our military and gang members 99% of us have never experienced or seen real violence. We simply are not the same as the generation that went through the great depression and then WW II. Most people cannot comprehend these things without experiencing them. Then you pile on top of that the pure BS kids are fed in school about how bad we are for starting wars or having slaves etc. and it is easy to see why these pampered, ignorant kids grow up to be liberals. The bad news is I think we are going to go through another great depression and possibly a world war too and it will be a wakeup call. I'm not sure our country will survive it.

  3. Excellent article, or rather obituary on America. I made many of the mistakes Dennis Prager describes. At this point as a parent (and Christian) I would live and raise children like you and Don are doing. We also highly respect how your friend Enola Gay and her husband are living and raising their children.

    Most of America has abandoned God, but He sees us as His people, not as Americans. The Bible is full of examples of idolatry and government tyranny, and how God does His work through faithful 'remnants'. Let's stay faithful. Like John Quincy Adams said, "Duty is ours, results are God's."
    Montana Guy

  4. Wow, I found this very interesting. I was born in '64. My parents rarely discussed politics with me. I DO remember an argument with my father about Patricia Neal's condemnation of gays as a kid. My political leanings as a young person were decidedly more liberal than my parents, but as I've aged, things have been changing. Thank you for sharing this, Patrice, I read the articles and can't say I disagree. I think my parents were more liberal when they were younger too, but I can't say for sure. I think that youth embraces libereralism, we all like to think we can change the world for the better. But when you are in the real world long enough, you realize that getting back to basics is what we really need to focus on. You are doing a wonderful job and thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  5. My parents were more towards the liberal side when I was young, my mom still is, but my dad has turned 180 and is very conservative. My saving grace is probably that my parents didn't talk about politics much when I was growing up so I developed on my own.

    College for me was actually good and created even more conservative values. I can't say I never had a liberal professor because I did, but I had 2 VERY conservative economics professors that I truly did and still adore and they had a powerful and big influence on my development. Mine was probably more luck than plan, but it worked.

    I am not making the same mistakes with my daughter. I talk politics ALL the time and take her shooting and hunting and other activities. My problem in this department is probably introducing ideas that are too advanced for her age (9) so I am always struggling to find ways to discuss politics in terms she can easily grasp at this age and keep stepping them up as she gets older.

  6. I had no idea , we were following the ideas in this article. Both our kids , worked a year before college. My oldest worked a year , served 6 years in the USMC , and then went to college. He used to tell me how much older he felt than the rest of the students. He could not identify with their ideologies and naivete. He felt he had a better idea on how the world worked , on top of his college education.

  7. Love Dennis Prager! I read him whenever I can on WND or Townhall.

    His observations mirror my life. Despite a solid Lutheran upbringing, I was pretty leftwing in many things. Then I joined the US AIr Force in '79. There I got the real world experience Dennis talks about.

    As I look back, I wonder how I could have ever been so stupid! I thnak God for the way grew up!

    Steve Davis
    Anchorage, AK

  8. Husband and I raised six children. They are adults with families of their own. All six are saved, go to church regularly as well as being involved in the church. They are good kids...I mean adults. While all kids/teens can be a challenge upon occasion, ours never rebelled, specifically meaning that they were never out of control or acted in opposite of our Biblical family values. As parents, we walked our talk. We worked hard, told the truth even when inconvenient, did the "right thing" to our own hurt, and had high standards of living and conduct for ourselves as well as them. No, we are not perfect; We rely on God. Fasting and praying helps as well.

    1. AMEN! Jesus Christ, the living word and the written word is the answer in all things!

  9. Excellent article. I would add one more thing for parents - practice humility. Teenagers and young adults, when confronted with many of things that are really wrong in the world, struggle with how to apply their moral values and have a strong desire to make the world a better place. This is also the age when children realize that their parents are not superbeings, but fallible humans.
    I went through a progressive phase in my adolescence, and came of age in the 80's. My parent's insistence that racism and injustice were not really a problem (including denying the existence of apartheid in South Africa), that everyone who is poor should just work harder, that only deviants get AIDS, etc, did not do the cause of conservatism any favors. It just made them sound out of touch with reality.
    As your kids struggle with the complexities of this broken world, acknowledge the real pain and struggles out there, and then show how strong conservative values actually help solve these problems. Don't oversimplify because you think they can't handle complex discussions - if they are asking, then yes they can understand. You will be a more credible authority if you don't sound exactly like the reductivist stereotypes your kids are hearing in school.

  10. Hmmmm..... Wish I would have read this one before I sent my son off to college right out of high school. He is now the most liberal brat I have ever met! I will always love him, but for heaven's sake, what in the world are those college professors teaching my son! He thinks that everyone should make the same wage, regardless of how physically or mentally hard a job is, that everyone should have a free college education whether or not they are a citizen, and that Obamacare is a wonderful thing! What makes him angry is when I tell him that some day, when he grows up and gets a job and family, he will change his mind about all these things! Unfortunately I can't take back time, but I know that "in time" he will come to his senses and our family values! This is the first time I have found your blog and I love it! Thanks

  11. They say: "It's OK not to be OK". We all sometimes have unpleasant feeling and doubts about people we communicate. And thinking about possible treason is making you depressed, look at for more!

  12. Isolating children from society causes them to only internalize the norms and mores of their family unit—and deprives them of the many opportunities unstructured peer play provides.

    A child that has no peer influence does not learn how to play with others as peers—instead their only relationships are those where they have no power, no voice, and no opportunity to interact with others who are their equals.

    In addition, children who are not allowed unfiltered access to media, books, and computers do not get the same influences as their peers. Since discussing movies, video games, and phone apps are what kids these days do—having access to these experiences is important to children as these things help develop social capital by having a shared experience and the child who watches (for example) a television show shares in-group status with other children who watch the show. This status allows for deeper relationships and helps the child avoid out-group rejection.

    I understand the desire as a parent to have shared experiences as your children—what is odd to me is the parental belief that somehow a parent has the right to dictate a child’s moral and ethical outlook by depriving the child access to traditional education and media.

    Unfortunately many of the views expressed here are the same I have heard from cult members who are desperate to stay isolated because they believe that everything outside of their cult is evil.

    As to your belief that many or even most Christians are conservative or abhor “leftism” this is simply not the case. According to Pew polls in the 2016 election (google “pew mainline percentage vote democrat”) you will find that roughly 37% of mainline are Democrat and 43% are Republican with the rest made up of undecided or 3rd party voters.