|by Dannah Gresh, Founder of True Girl
Some of today’s catchiest pop songs can be cringe-worthy! All those backseat songs declaring, “I’m hot” and “I’m gonna give it to you”...awkward! That’s not what I wanted my tween and teen daughters hearing. But sometimes our daughters just like music that’s...different. It’s not what we like. If that’s the problem you’re having, stick with me. Here are three things to do:
1. Know what they are listening to and why.
You might think you know, but until you sit down and discuss it with them, you may not really know what your daughter is listening to and why she likes it.
Here’s a fun way to be a student of your child:
2. Teach her to be a miner, not a monk.
I’m not sure I did it completely right, but I tried to gradually let my kids have some autonomy in what they chose to listen to and watch. After all, one day I would not be in control of those decisions. Early in my parenting, I heard a challenge to teach them to be miners, not monks.
A miner goes into the “cave/song” and brings out treasures, and has a mother who is patiently teaching her discernment by allowing her to try and sometimes fail. A monk hides from everything in the world and has a mother who controls and restrains all decisions. Restraining is efficient and easy, but the long-term outcome is dubious because you haven’t planted any roots of Truth to help her make behavior decisions when you aren’t around.
In letting her express her opinions, you’ve already started teaching her to mine. But a miner does not go back into an unstable “cave/song.” They learn and move on. It’s ok to tell her that she may have learned something from a song, but you have concerns about how it might impact her if she keeps it on her playlist.
3. Celebrate her artistic choices and offer alternatives to those that are morally and developmentally harmful
If she has an artist she likes that you think is safe, get tickets to a concert and “go mining” together. Teach her discernment as you go. If she has an artist she likes who you think is not safe, do the hard work of finding alternatives that feed her artistic bent without robbing her of her innocence.
Years ago, I met a teen girl with spiked cotton candy-colored hair who liked to wear black leather and was listening to . . . gasp . . . metal. (Not as in trying to hear the sound copper and aluminum might make, but as in heavy metal music.) I confess: I judged her heart. But after spending a weekend with her, I realized her heart was beautiful. I decided then and there that if my daughter had a heart like that she could dye her hair and listen to metal music all she wanted.
A few years later, I heard that heavy metal band perform. (I have tinnitus to this day!) And you know what? I’ve not seen many bands proclaim the love of God quite as well as they did. That night, someone who was suicidal decided to live. I would say that’s a pretty good use of an artform...even if it’s not one I prefer.
Let’s not be allergic to good art when we pursue good parenting!