Edited By Esther Thorson, Mitchell S. McKinney and Dhavan Shah
Chapter Seven: Parenting Styles in Political Socialization: How the Path to Political Participation Begins at Home
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Parenting Styles IN Political Socialization
How the Path to Political Participation Begins at Home
EDSON TANDOC, ESTHER THORSON, AND MARGARET DUFFY
The pathways of influence from parents to their children are complex in that parental influence is thought to compete with other socialization agents, including the media, the influence of peers, and children’s school experiences (Shah, McLeod, & Lee, 2009). The current study is an attempt to shed light on how the influences of these agents interact. In a survey of parents and their children during the 2010 mid-term election in a large Midwest city, we look at two ways that parents mediate their children’s media experiences and the role this plays in the causal pathways to development of children’s political orientations. Parents can restrict media access in an attempt to protect children from harmful media content. They can also actively mediate their children’s media use by suggesting reliable news sources, pointing out what may be wrong with news content, or asking what their children think about the news. These parental mediation styles, evaluative or restrictive, have been studied previously (see, for instance, Austin, 1993; Austin & Pinkleton, 2001; Nathanson, 1999, 2002), but it is not clear how they affect the relationships between parents’ and children’s political interest, knowledge, and participation.
It should be noted that the effects of parental mediation are not always direct. Though children get their first introductions to news...
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