Using Music to Communicate with Your Teen

One of the most prevailing memories of my childhood were the moments I spent with my dad while he drove me to school. The car ride was an open forum for me and he let me control the music that was being played. He might have cringed through some of the songs I chose but he never told me my music was awful or to turn it off. He instead asked me why I liked it and what drew me to it in the first place. It was the only time during my teenage years where I felt heard. Where an adult actually listened, and took in my opinions without judgement. When I think about those years it is these memories, driving in the car with my dad, that are most important to me.

It is easy for adults to write off music that teens listen to as not important. There has always been a prevailing criticism of groups beloved by teens dating back to Elvis and perhaps even farther. That they won’t last or they aren’t important because the younger generation listens to them. Sometimes it’s a true criticism but I also think it’s a way of dismissing music that teens love without considering it valid.

Teens are still learning a lot about the world, the people around them and themselves. They sometimes feel that everything they do is scrutinized, including music. Most people don’t reach out and ask their teens why they like the music they do. Any adult can use music as a powerful communication tool with a child or teen. It opens up avenues of discussion that might not have existed before. Ask them why they like the music they do and the answer might surprise you. Perhaps ask them during a car ride…

By | Heath Kull

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