Connecting With Your Teen

As a long time lover of live music, folk music and nature music, as a Waldorf educator and someone who has led their children through circle times filled with holistic music I am set up to be the ideal parent that would say “Hey – don’t listen to that pop/loud music.”

In fact, I have to admit, I don’t understand the attraction. I prefer different music, I am perplexed at why my son would want to listen to loud music with loud lyrics and why my daughter would join a band that plays what I would call “angst music”.

When they turn their music on there is this little part of me that is just dying to say, “Hey stop that right now. Go play some nice violin, acoustic guitar or harp or something” or “How about this nice folk music CD?”

But instead I chose to allow each child to listen to what they wanted, when they wanted and I found out wonderful things –

– It became a new way for them to communicate with me!

Both of my older children, ages 12 and 14, are going through those years of their life when they become more focused on their own peer group, the world at large, a less focused on the home life. They may remain attached and loving with the family, but their inner world becomes more and more private, like that of an adult. It is a hard for many parents who are used to reading their child like an “open book” who then, all of a sudden find the book has closed.

Listening to my child’s music has opened that book for me again. They choose what to listen to and what their favorite songs are. And when I am very lucky they share these favorites with me. Today my son came to me and said “I want you to listen to my favorite song”. It was an amazing insight into what is going on in his mind.

It was much like the art therapy that some people use on children when they are little or the color and painting therapy that anthroposophic doctors use on children. Both of these methods are based on the idea that if you can SEE what the child is producing you also have an opportunity to see into their mind. Many therapists use art therapy as a way to gain insight into small children who may be experiencing challenges or illnesses that they are not able to fully describe.

The same happens when you listen to the music your child is listening to. You gain insight into what they, as an older child, may not want to share directly. It is their way of communicating with the world and with you.

So let’s celebrate listening to music we may not enjoy! Or at least, when my child asks me to listen in.

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