The Wiggles Have Left the Building: Managing When Their Music Sounds Less Than Melodic
‘Let me get this straight,’ you think to yourself, she can’t stand Madonna but thinks that Lady Gaga is the bomb? Remember when you were a teen? Maybe your home was filled with the voices of real crooners such Judy Garland, Johnny Mathis and, of course, Frank Sinatra. Perhaps your parents were really cool and they rocked with the Beatles, Elvis and The Rolling Stones with a bit of The Who thrown in for good measure. While now you may appreciate your parent’s admiration for these legends, back then much of it may have sounded dated.
In the time before the Walkman and way before iPod’s and MP3 players, you pumped up the volume on your stereo to listen to ‘your music.’ How many times did your parents come knocking on your door while you were trying to stage your own Battle of the Bands with your favorite artists?
Fast forward to today and you are surprised and maybe even appalled. You swore your taste in music would remain ‘cool’ and current. And while you do like many of your teen’s choices, there are some brands of music you just don’t get and you really have tried! Of course the music you dislike the most seems to be the type your teen blasts on a regular basis. At least if he used his iPod you could be shielded from the noise. He, however, chooses not to --- why, you still can’t figure out.
You check out your teen’s list of music stored on the family computer. The glare of the red ‘Explicit’ notation seems to mark every other song. Is it you, or have the lyrics today gotten more provocative? Themes of sex and violence see to pervade even the sounds and rhythms you find catchy and pleasant. Perhaps, once in a while, you find yourself quietly singing along to lyrics about lurid one night stands on Friday Night and ‘S&M.’ Angry words are rhythmically shouted to background beats, which to you sound repetitive and at times annoying.
When your teens were younger you closely monitored the music that filled your home. Back then, however, it was a bit easier especially since your child’s taste in music included mainly such hit makers as The Wiggles and Barney. Yes, things have really changed. You are unsure if there is anything you should be doing to censor your teen’s choice of music. This is difficult when Billboard’s charts are topped by brands of provocative, sometimes angry and violent lyrics. How do you shield your teen from pop culture, is it even possible?
Should you try to censor your teen’s music? You know that the minute he walks out the door your attempts at prevention are most likely all in vain. Do you remain silent? Well, that is for you to decide.
What you should know is that you have more influence on your teen than you may realize. Research indicates that when it comes to the important stuff like values, most teens have the same underlying beliefs as their parents. This suggests that all that direct and indirect teaching you have provided throughout their formative years has had an impact. Good to know, but what does this have to do with their choice of music? Well, it implies that while you may not approve of the lyrics to your teen’s favorite song, you can rest assure that the impact of the message is most likely minimal.
You should, however, take the time to talk with your teen about their music. Explain to them why you are less than enthused by the tunes and artists they so admire. This is indeed an opportunity to have a good and perhaps meaningful conversation with your teen. Ask them what they think of the lyrics and music. You may be pleasantly surprised to hear that they are more in agreement about the content than you think.