Music has been known to play a beneficial role on the mind since time immemorial. Music is played during sports to incite enthusiasm, at temples to invoke devotion, at morning hours to increase positivity, at workplace/home to reduce boredom, at shopping malls and hotels to entice the customers and in the health sector as a therapy. Modern research also supports its benefits on mood and confidence.
In this article, let’s see the reasons for teens preferring a type of music, its effects, and solutions for parents to set boundaries without confronting a young adult’s autonomy.
1. Why do teens love music?
Following are the reasons for teens to like certain music:
a) Easy access: Teenagers listen to music for managing their mood. Music is supposed to be the most favoured way of spending time. Also, it is easy to access music at any part of the world via internet and music channels on television.
b) Identifying themselves with music: The typical issues faced by teens are break-ups, sexuality, loneliness, depression, etc. During these moments, teens may not feel comfortable to share their emotions with parents or friends due to the fear of humiliation, lack of trust, etc. In such scenarios, the teens prefer to identify their feelings in the lyrics of the music.
c) A form of expression: Teens who are creative, i.e. write songs or perform, music gives them space to open up their hidden or bottled up emotions (emotional catharsis).
d) Self-image: Teens often choose music that their peers prefer. It can be due to the common interest they share; as the basis of friendship, to be accepted or to protect their self-image.
2. What are the types of music and how it affect a teen’s mind?
The choice of music that a teen prefers reflects his/her self-perception. According to research, following kind of music impact a teen’s mind:
- Classical, Jazz and Blues music is known to invoke positive feelings in teenagers. Jazz is a propulsive accentuated rhythm which can make anybody dance and teens have a huge passion for its impulsive impact. Blues represents a calming type of music.
- Few types of music with inappropriate/violent lyrical content have been linked to crime, antisocial and suicidal behaviours such as Rock, Hip-Hop, Heavy Metal music, etc.
- Few item songs in Bollywood movies are very popular and they contain sexually explicit lyrics. These songs often carry music and scenes that portray violence, misogyny, etc. Such music and visual scenes can make them objectify women, etc.
3. How can parents safeguard teens from the negative influence of music?
It is quite natural for any parent to worry about the effect of particular type of music on the mind of their teens.
Following are some tips to help your teen to disengage from the bad influence of music without harming your relationship with them:
- Do not turn off the music: If your teen wishes to listen to the music of his/her choice, never ‘turn off’ or scold them. Instead, Google and try to understand the lyrics. If it is a normal one, you can just ignore it.
- Choose an appropriate time to listen to music: In case you want to watch or listen to music which may not be suitable for your teen, pick a time when they are not around.
- Share music time together: Another way of making both ends meet is to choose the music which both of you are familiar. It can aid in bonding, trust and improve relationships as well.
- Music library: Ensure that your music library has a variety of songs from your culture and around the world that suits all genres and can be liked by you and your teen. It can help in preventing your teen from isolating themselves to listen to the music which they like.
- Observe but don’t supervise: The biggest mistake that parents make is ‘supervision’. Teens need their privacy. They may not be able to express everything to you, or they want to overcome certain things by themselves. Snooping into their music collections can lead to antagonistic relationships. So, avoid it.
- Discuss: Sometimes, your teen might be listening to an awesome song, and you feel that something is wrong and want to know the reason behind it. The best way to deal with this kind of a situation is not through questioning but by discussing. A discussion is different from questioning. Discussions increase teen’s trust, and they feel supported. By doing so, you will be able to understand the cause behind it and help them overcome the same. So, have a one-on-one discussion.
Although music plays a crucial role in everyone’s life, their choice nevertheless matters!
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- How teenagers use music to manage their mood: An initial investigation. http://www.metalinsider.net/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/McFerran_et_al_adol_mood.pdf. Accessed on August 13,2016.
- Music and Mood. American Academy of Paediatrics. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/emotional-wellness/Pages/Music-and-Mood.aspx. Accessed on August 13,2016.
- What Music Should My Child Listen To? PBS Parents. http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/music-arts/what-music-should-my-child-listen-to/. Accessed on August 13,2016.
- Teens and Music. TeenZeen.org. http://www.teenzeen.org/teens-and-music.html. Accessed onAugust 13, 2016.