As a teen progresses through adolescence, it’s likely you’ll notice her use of music increase and her taste in music evolve, advise extension educators with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in a publication titled “Teens and the Media.” Teens often prioritize music, and parents struggle, wondering whether it’s necessary to monitor music taste and choices.
1. Observe the Genres
Teens may enjoy a variety of genres, depending on mood, activity or personal taste. As parents, you may feel uncomfortable about some types of music your teen listens to, especially if you’re hearing hip-hop, rap, goth or heavy metal. While some genres have an association with rebellion, violence and substance abuse, just because your teen is listening to one of these music genres doesn’t automatically mean your teen is headed for trouble, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' HealthyChildren.org.
2. Monitor Activities
Observing the music your teen enjoys may give you a new perspective about your teen’s friends and interests. Monitor music your teen purchases, downloads and listens to so you stay current with her tastes and activities. If you find that your teenager is listening to music with violent or profane lyrics, you might make a house rule that this music does not play in your home.
3. Open Communication
Keep communicating with your teenager about various issues, including music, advises the AAP. If you have questions about what your child listens to, ask him for more information. If you hear lyrics you don’t understand or lyrics that concern you, open a dialogue about your concerns to discuss them with your teenager. For example, music that depicts violence or substance abuse should lead to a conversation wherein you express your concern and ask your teen open-ended questions about what he enjoys about this music. Resist the urge to criticize or judge your teenager about music, instead keeping conversation positive and productive by sharing your thoughts.
4. Encourage Safety
As your teenager enjoys music, encourage safe listening to preserve your teen’s hearing, advises the AAP. When teenagers listen to music at decibels of 80 or more, especially with ear buds or headphones, permanent hearing damage may occur. For comparison, a garbage disposal typically operates at 80 decibels, according to the Industrial Noise Control website.
5. Allow Independence
Part of the teen progression toward independence involves separating from parents and choosing a new identity, advises music therapist Kimberly Sena Moore, writing for the Psychology Today website. Music often plays a principle role in a teenager’s new identity. While you may opt to censor extreme music from your home, strive to give your teenager space to make her own music choices as much as possible. You might even approach it as an opportunity to connect with your child if you regularly engage in conversations about music choices to learn more about your child’s music tastes.
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images