Parenting styles and childhood temperament may actually shape your child’s future political ideologies, so unless you want to raise a conservative jerk – you better take the strictness down a notch.

In a new study, a team of researchers led by psychological scientist R. Chris Fraley, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that children who had authoritarian parents are more likely to be Republicans when they grow up. Children whose parents had more egalitarian parenting attitudes, on the other hand, were more likely to hold liberal attitudes as young adults.

My husband is constantly accusing me of not being strict enough with my son.  He came to this conclusion because my toddler doesn’t listen to a damn thing I say.  Seriously, I could repeat “no” all day and try various techniques to correct his behavior – but they all seem lost on the little tyrant.  I’m being a little dramatic, here.  He’s a good kid.  He doesn’t throw tantrums in public or scream all day long.  He’s just a little stubborn.  So basically, I choose my battles.

This is not to say that I don’t discipline him – I’m just not convinced that every little misstep deserves a time out.  His father is the exact opposite.  All day long he’s correcting his behavior and raising his tone.  Of course, the little man listens to him.  I’m pretty sure the only reason for this obedience is the bass in his father’s voice – but whatever.  Now I have a great excuse for being the “good cop.”  I’m raising a future tree-hugging liberal who will champion the cause of women’s rights and fight tooth and nail for green energy solutions.  Yay, me.

The study also found that childhood temperament had a lot to do with future political ideologies, too.

In terms of temperament, children with higher levels of fearfulness at 54 months were more likely to be conservative at age 18, while children with higher levels of activity or restlessness and higher levels of attentional focusing were more likely to espouse liberal values at that age, the researchers report.

High levels of activity – check.  Restlessness – check.  High levels of attentional focusing – hmm. The jury is still out on that one.  Does being able to sit through a nightly reading of Goodnight Moon count?

Who knows if studies like this one actually mean anything?   But it doesn’t hurt to know that we might be able to consciously manipulate – I mean – guide our children into becoming the future human beings we think the world needs.  My parents clearly dropped the ball on disciplining me. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

(photo: Jeffrey Collingwood/ Shutterstock.com)