Growing Out Of The Views You Were Brought Up With

Growing Out Of The Views You Were Brought Up With

Do you know what it’s like to reveal yourself as someone with different ideas to the people who raised you? Lizzie does, and it hasn’t been easy. Here’s how Lizzie and five other young people have found this revelation.

I’m from a white, middle-class, nuclear family with a very opinionated father. It took me months just to admit I no longer eat meat.

While politics are traditionally banned from the dinner table, my dad sees it as his chance to share his unwanted opinions. He looks forward to stirring the pot. It’s difficult to reason with someone who refuses to be wrong and can yell louder and for longer.

I lived in a conservative echo chamber for 18 years and completely accepted my dad’s opinions as fact. To me, climate change was a hoax. Feminism was stupid. White privilege didn’t exist. Australia Day could stay put.

When I left home for university, I was finally exposed to new people that taught me about a life outside of privilege and ignorance. I wondered if others had found this, so I asked young people what it’s like to go home with a different worldview than the one you left with, and how this affects their family relationships.

Jay, 25, Wollongong, says:

I first started questioning what I’d grown up with when I was around about 17. I was raised Christian with traditional, conservative views: no sex before marriage, no drugs, no homosexuality etc.

I just began to stop and really think about what I’d been taught (and just accepted as a given) and weighed it up against what I personally believed. Summed up: ‘If you had never been told what to think about this, what conclusion would you naturally draw yourself?’

Nikita, 21, Central West NSW, says:

The moment I realised my family and I actually had very different opinions was during the 2016 United States presidential election. I was living in England at the time and had called Dad to catch up. We were on the phone for around 20 minutes and he said something about why Trump was a great presidential candidate and I laughed, thinking he was kidding. I was in absolute shock, the phone call ended when the conversation got very heated and I hung up, I didn’t call him back for over a week. We now have a strict no-politics rule when we catch up.

Lisa, 24, South Coast NSW, says:

Growing up, most of my family were really supportive of the Liberal Party. Their argument was that they were good for the economy and made smart decisions. So I grew up thinking that was the way things were. When I turned 18 and had to vote for the first time, I decided to do some genuine research. I realised Liberals do a lot of things that often benefit the rich and are pretty anti-progression.

I don’t quite know what I believe, but I definitely lean to the left with my political views, in favour of progressive changes. I avoid talking about it because it erupts into a massive argument about how any other party is going to ruin the country financially. There’s been a lot of heated arguments. I don’t say anything anymore, because I’m tired of arguing and no matter what I say, it won’t change their minds.

Keira, 20, Parramatta, says:

I grew up in the church… Since learning about being an ally, working towards decolonisation, anti-racism and a whole lot of other things that are very progressive, I can’t relate to the Christian thing… It’s difficult because I’m moving more and more left than my family and I’m reading more about empowering Indigenous people and cultures and learning more about how damaging missions and people of the church were to them. It just feels weird to navigate when mum has bible verses in her house and my grandparents want to hold hands and say grace before every meal.

Lachy, 25, South Coast NSW, says:

As I got older, I gained more interest in political issues and started looking into them more. I realised my views didn’t line up with my dad’s anymore. It slowly progressed, but the major turning points were when he started claiming we weren’t contributing anything to global warming and when he defended Fraser Anning. Talking to him about political issues now is frustrating because he’s very dismissive of valid points. Sometimes it feels like he disagrees just for the sake of having an argument.

What has moving away from home been like for you? Tell us! Email newsroom@fya.org.au.

Responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.