Dear Ivy

Billy Ferguson/Fourth Estate

Ivy helps a student who disagrees with their parents politically


Dear Ivy,

I’m realizing now that I’m in college that I disagree with my parents politically and socially, and now they are pressing me on it. Should I tell them what I really think or pretend like I still think like them?

-Politically Unsure


This is actually a really good question, as I feel it resonates with a lot of people, including myself. Growing up, we are taught by our parents what to value and believe in, and many times we take them for granted.

In my case, many of these values and beliefs began being challenged when I was in high school, yet I was scared to disagree with my parents and let a lot of things slide. Now, being in college, I have realized how important it is to have those discussions, as well as disagree with and challenge what you always took as a given.

No matter what you are studying, you are exposed to new ideas and stories that open and change your mind in college. Over break, I tried to avoid voicing my opinions with my parents, but then realized that my opinions are just as valid as theirs. When having these discussions with your parents, or family members or friends, it is important to be open-minded and respectful, even if the other party is not. In my case, I remember that my parents and other family members grew up during a different time and place than I did, and though this does not excuse anything, they have held their values and beliefs much longer than I have. With this in mind, I can still hold respectful yet stern discussions with them.

You shouldn’t seek out arguments, but you also shouldn’t avoid them just because they can be uncomfortable. Sometimes it is better to have an uncomfortable, yet valuable, discussion than not have it at all.

In fact, much can be learned about each other through these discussions. My parents now know what I believe in and stand for, even though they disagree. Personally, I could no longer handle sitting silently while I knew that I was bothered by what was being said around me. I realized that my input in adult conversations, despite my age compared to my family members, is just as important as everyone else’s.

Once you realize that your opinions are just as valuable as everyone else’s, it will be easier to disagree with your parents and those around you. As children, we place our parents on pedestals. They are the ones who taught us and raised us, yet this period in our lives is when we realize that they are not superhuman or always right. Disagreeing with your parents is part of growing up.