- Every generation is attracted to its own music, music that their parents often don’t relate to, don’t like, or find dreadful or disturbing.
- We tend to remain affectionate and attached to music from our teen years particularly throughout our lives.
- Parents shouldn’t sanction musical content (or the content of games, TV programs, or websites) that we find disturbing). Not sanctioning does not mean that we have total control. As parents, we can only control our home environment. We can heavily influence what our children do outside of our homes but, especially for adolescents, we can’t totally control.
- We should be aware of what our children are listening to (and viewing). Music on satellite radio (like Sirrius) is uncensored. A tune that we would find catchy and acceptable on AM or FM radio is usually a version that has been cut (edited) for the general public. We can change the radio station when shuttling our children in the car.
- A big part of our job as parents is to instill values in our children. If they are consuming lyrics and other media content that runs counter to our values, we have to let them know. We should explain and discuss what we find disturbing, unacceptable, vile and/or dangerous. Our children will come to understand and support our values…eventually.
The teen years are the bridge from childhood to adulthood when children pull away from the adults around them as they figure out who they are. They often rely on their peers for information. As parents we have to give information and guidance even if teens resist or resent us for offering it.
Pattie, a parent of a 14 year old, says that when she asked her daughter about lyrics of a particular song that was filled with profanity, her daughter said, “I didn’t write the song. I didn’t say it.” She told her to change the station to one with music they could both listen to. Another parent said that her daughter’s boyfriend claimed that when he listened to dance music, he didn’t pay attention to the lyrics at all. She didn’t quite believe him.
It’s important to remember that teens take risks and many like being oppositional. Younger children, on the other hand, don’t have the ability to analyze what they are consuming but messages/content is getting in. We have to protect them.
A child who listens to crude, rude and/or violent music won’t become crude, rude and/or violent because of media content, usually. We do have to be vigilant, however, and notice whether adolescents are becoming withdrawn, sad, isolated, angry or antisocial. We must know their close friends and pay attention to who they hang with and what they do.
Adolescents are going through tremendous changes physically, intellectually and emotionally. We have to be watchful and provide guidance.
Meanwhile, find some common ground on music you and your kids can enjoy together.
- Candelaria Silva for Parent411
*With input from Faina Smith, Founder of Parent411.