If you’re a Trump supporter who can’t wait to get your kid their own “Make America Great Again” hat — or a Sanders guy trying to fit the best campaign bumper sticker ever onto your kid’s bike — researchers have some bad news for you: It’s unlikely your kid will inherit your political beliefs and there’s a decent chance they have no idea what you’re talking about in the first place.
That’s according to a new study from Penn State, which found more than half of American kids either rejected mom or dad’s political affiliation or “misperceived” them (meaning they couldn’t correctly identify their parent’s political beliefs). The results come from surveys of over 12,000 families in 1988, and between 2006 and 2008, and they conflict with old assumptions that kids simply believe whatever their parent believe the same way they got your good looks and irresistible charm. This held true even when the parents talked openly about politics with their kids, and the researchers suggest that media, education, and peers ultimately determine how your kid will vote. So, look on the bright side — at least your kid has a mind of their own.
Even if you can’t count on your kid’s vote, it’s still a good idea to talk politics and introduce them to the issues that shape the country. And if they ultimately wind up the sort of neocon or bleeding heart you’re convinced is ruining everything, remember that you never had a say in the matter to begin with.