Parents’ Political Views Are Affecting Teen Mental Health

A recently published op-ed by researcher and essayist John Mac Ghlionn has suggested that parents’ political beliefs are negatively impacting the mental health of their teenage children, particularly girls.

The report stated that in 2021, 30% of teenage girls have seriously considered suicide, an increase of almost 60% compared to a decade ago. This raises questions about what is causing negative mental health changes among young people.

“What is going on? Why have young people suddenly become so disillusioned?” questions Ghlionn.

According to Ghlionn, who holds a doctorate in psychosocial studies, while social media is often blamed for the rise in mental health issues among teenagers, parents also bear responsibility for much of the problems that young people are experiencing today.

“Children do not raise themselves, and the attitudes and ideologies of their primary caregivers have a profound impact on their mental well-being. This includes political ideologies, which experts now conclude can directly shape how a child sees the world. And liberal parents appear to be creating a generation of left-leaning and deeply disaffected children,” claims Ghlionn.

Ghlionn went on to highlight a study conducted by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, which was released in December. The study explored the link between gender and politics and found that teenagers who identify as liberal are more likely to be unhappy than those with conservative views.

The report also revealed that female adolescents are more likely to be liberal than male adolescents, and liberal girls are the most susceptible to depression. The study found that symptoms of depression increased by more than 50% for “female liberals” between 2010 and 2018.

Ghlionn went on to add that while liberal boys also experienced an increase in depressive behaviors, it was lower compared to conservative girls, who had higher numbers. Interestingly, conservative boys had the lowest increase in depressive symptoms, which were approximately half of those reported by liberal girls.

Ghlionn concluded his article by suggesting that young people should be given the freedom to make their own decisions about their political ideologies.

“There are both genetic and environmental components to depression. And teens seem to be most impacted by this intersection of nature-vs-nurture. True, left-leaning families appear to be producing more depressed teens. But allowing young people of all political persuasions to affirm their own ideologies isn’t just a necessary right of passage, but a path to keeping them mentally fit and stable,” said Ghlionn.

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