Until a few months ago, my children were content listening to Radio Disney because it wasn't "babyish" as were the Raffi, Two of a Kind, and Classical Kids CDs I'd pop into our minivan's CD player. However, recently they've decided that Radio Disney is just not cool anymore. Or, rather, they are too cool for Radio Disney. The station of choice is now Philadelphia's Q102.
This past week, I relented and allowed them to turn on this station while on our way to the pool. I was dismayed as they sang along to Eminem and Rihanna's hit "Love the Way You Lie."
Here are just some of the lyrics:
Just gonna stand there and watch me burn/But that's all right because I like the way it hurts
And right now there's a steel knife in my windpipe/I can't breathe but I still fight . . . It's like I'm in flight/High of a love/Drunk from the hate
It's like I'm huffing paint/And I love it the more that I suffer I suffocate/And right before I'm about to drown she resuscitates me/She f*ing hates me/And I love it
What?!?! Are you kidding me! Huffing, f*ing, loving someone who is hurting you? There's NO WAY I want my kids listening to this. But, they are listening to it. They knew the song when it came one. Somewhere, somehow, they are listening to this garbage. And I know that I cannot police their every move. I am not with them when they are at school, at their extra-curricular activities, at sleep-overs with friends. But shouldn't they have the sense to know that this music is trash? That it's not appropriate for pre-teens? Yeah, right . . . I know. . . it's the forbidden fruit.
I've been reading thought Dr. Michael Bradley's book Yes, Your Teen is Crazy. So, when I got home I flipped to the index to see if he offered any advice for parents dealing with the horrible music their adolescents are listening to. I found a few pages on this topic. I can't say that I agree with everything he says, but I did grudgingly have to admit that Dr. Bradley is correct when he says that adults are the ones producing and marketing this junk to our kids in order to turn a profit. Adults are taking advantage of our teenagers' young minds. With that in mind, I read the rest of the section on music with an open mind. Here's an excerpt:
Is much of the music of today's adolescents outrageous, disgusting, evil, racist, chauvinistic, violent, and poorly harmonized? Without a doubt. Does it cause kids to become outrageous, disgusting, evil, racist, chauvinistic, violent, . . . and poorly harmonized? No, it doesn't.
Okay, he's the expert and I guess I should feel relieved to read those sentences, but I don't know if I fully agree that music doesn't have an impact on adolescents. Heck, how many of us feel uplifted when we hear certain songs, or moved to tears when we hear others? (Did I really just write "heck"? I hope my kids don't read this because any "coolness" points I've earned from them will go right out the window!) Anyway, that's just my opinion.
But some of Dr. Bradley's suggestions I am going to try to employ. For instance, he suggests that parents bargain with their teens and tell them that they can listen to the music as long as the parent and child listen to it together and talk about it. Dr. Bradley also suggests that parents try not to forbid music and not to fight with their teens about it, but to save the big fights for really huge issues that will come down the pike (sex, drugs, alcohol). Hmmm . . . we'll see how well this goes when I begin a discussion about someone being burned and liking it! I'll keep you posted.
Until then, I'll throw the Raffi CD into my personal CD player, pop earphones into my ears, and wish for the times when life with the kids was simpler.