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Should You Monitor Your Teen’s Music? A Guide for Christian Parents

As a parent you want to guide your child in making healthy decisions. An area of frequent battle for Christian parents is whether or not you should monitor your child’s music.

Your child will tell you their music is a personal choice and you’re just too old to understand it. You may remember saying the same thing to your parents if they brought up the topic.

The Power of Music

Think about what happens when you hear a favorite song from your past. Some songs bring pleasant nostalgia and others remind you of something painful.

Consider music in the movies:

  • Exciting music paired with a scientist in the research laboratory would get you ready for an amazing discovery.

  • If it’s ominous or foreboding, something bad or horrifying will happen.

Another way of saying it is that music influences your emotions.

The words in songs are subliminal. The words have an effect upon the mind without the person realizing what is happening.

See how unwanted messages from songs can sneak up on your child:

  1. Even when they don’t consciously listen. Your teen may say, “I don’t listen to the words. I feel the music.” However, the message of the words still enters your child’s subconscious mind and can affect what they believe about themselves and others.

  2. The power of repetition. The more someone hears the subliminal messages, the more it affects them. Consider advertising, which is often subliminal. The more someone sees the advertising, the more likely they are to want the product.

Music and lyrics affect people differently. Think of yourself. There is some music which is meaningful to you, which resonates with you, and other music which turns you off.

For example, do you like country music or rock? Do you like a hard beat and loud music or soft and gentle music? Does the type of music depend upon your mood?

If your teenager is sad, sad music may make them sadder. It could also help because it allows them an outlet to express their feelings. For instance, listening to a song about the pain of breaking up when they’ve just broken up with someone may assist them in working through their feelings.

What If the Lyrics are Against Everything You Believe?

As you know, the standards of a Christian are different than those of much of the world, and certainly different than the standards of the music industry as a whole.

Music about sex, rape, suicide, and murder is perfectly legal. But that doesn’t mean that you want your child to listen to it.

You may also ask, “How can I stop my teenager from listening?

Let’s address these two issues:

  1. What if the songs give a message contrary to Christian morals? Think back to your own teen years. Did your favorite music, music you may still enjoy, proclaim the Christian message? Unless you listened to Christian music, chances are it didn’t always. How can you address this with your teen?

    • First, ensure what you listen to is in alignment to what you’re telling your child. If it isn’t, remember that it’s important to match your walk to your talk.

    • Talk with your child, not at your child. Have a discussion. This means a give and take. Express your views as clearly as possible and give them a chance to share their thoughts if they will.

    • Understand that songs about rape, murder, and suicide are dangerous. If violent messages resonate with your child, they may have an issue that could better be addressed by your minister or a counselor. A depressed child listening to music about suicide may need professional help.

  2. How do you stop your child from listening to inappropriate music? The truth is you can’t. You can, however, set standards in your own home.

    • You may forbid your child from listening to the music in your home, but you can only control their actions to a limited extent. Phones, computers, and tablets make it difficult to assure they’re following your rules.

    • Keep the lines of communication open. Watch for warning signs of a child in trouble (depression, anxiety, anger) which differ from the common angst of adolescence. Get help when appropriate.

Guiding your teenager about their music, or anything else, can be tricky. Be vigilant and strengthen your communication. You don’t want to push them away, yet it’s important to ensure they’re safe and understand what can influence their lives.

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