Teen music = teachable moments galore

A major study recently found that “Radio continues to be the medium most often used for music discovery, with 51% of 12-24 year-olds reporting that they “frequently” find out about new music by listening to the radio. Other significant sources include friends (46%), YouTube (31%) and social networking sites (16%).”  I have heard from many parents who thought they were doing a pretty good job steering their youngsters away from songs that were morally objectionable, only to hear their pre-teen or teen singing a tune with words that would make your hair curl.  He might not even have it on his Ipod, but everyone in school is singing it.  And have you ever gotten in the car after your teen has been in it, only to hear hair-raising lyrics issuing loudly from the speakers?

The truth is, most teens haven’t taken the time to analyze what it is they’re hearing and repeating.  Case in point:  A top song in the last couple months, Love the Way You Lie (Eminem and Rihanna), is a recent #1 hit, and it has QUITE a message.  Check out the lyrics here at lyrics.com to see what this song is all about (warning: two uses of the F word).  Looking for a teachable moment?  use this song, or go to Billboard.com to find another top hit, and see if your teen has heard it.  Then have a sit-down to go over the lyrics and the messages in the song.  It’s a great way to teach about love, sex, and relationships, without bringing on the uncomfortableness and eye-rolling that a more direct approach might bring!  Here are some sample questions to ask:

  • What messages about love does this song have?  Are those message true?
  • What does it say about sex?  Is THAT true?
  • Is this an example of a good, or bad, relationship?  Why?

Whatever you do, hang in there and stay involved in your teen’s life…no one said parenting was easy.