Issues with the Music My Daughter Listens To

Updated on April 08, 2014
A.K. asks from Seattle, WA
30 answers

I have a fourteen year old daughter who's very into the hard rock/metal scene. She's a pretty good kid but I'm not sure about the music she's been listening to lately. I'm usually pretty flexible with the music my kids listen to but some of this stuff is crossing the line. She listens to 'screamo' bands like Asking Alexandria, Chelsea Grin, and Bring Me The Horizon. Bring Me The Horizon is the band I have the biggest problem with. They're her favorite band, so I hear her listening to them a lot. One of their songs opens with the line "Middle fingers up if you don't give a f*ck!". They cuss a whole lot in every single song they have. A few songs are quite depressing, also. What would you do? It's not like I can stop her from listening to these bands. She's fourteen after all. Thoughts?

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answers from Tampa on

The type of music someone listens to does not define who they are... Back when I was a teenager, Def Leppard and Guns and Roses were frowned upon, but I loved both. How is her behavior? Is she respectful and well-behaved? You do say that she is a good kid...

I would suggest that this might not be a hill worth dying on... If anything, I would caution her to be careful where she plays the music...i.e. not at her 95 year old grandmother's house...

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Muncie on

As long as she stays a "good" kid, grades stay up and she stays respectful, I wouldn't press the issue. Just be honest and open with her.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Just ignore it...the more you pay attention to it, the more appealing it will be. It's just music. And really bad music is just a phase. There's really only so long that one can listen to something that's as irritating as scream-o without growing out of it.

I was a straight-A, straight-arrow teenager who listened to heave metal, hard rock, and goth/grunge and had a bit of the look that went along with that (leather jacket, big boots, lots of hair, black lipstick, etc). Some of it was just bad music. Some of it was actually great music that I still listen to (Metallica), only now I'm listening to it with my kids LOL.

Focus on attitude, behavior, and grades. If all of those are good, ignore the music.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

blerg, this is such a dilemma, isn't it?
i really angsted over this one when i had young teens. eminem was the hill i chose to die on. NO EM!!! he disrespects women, uses bad words, talks about sex too much.
mama hath spoken!
what a maroon.
so, my kids didn't have eminem in their cd collection (or whatever it was kids had back then.) they just listened to him everywhere else. and eventually got me to listen to him too. now he's in my ipod.
what i forgot was that my boys were good boys, with good values, and respect for women, and lots of common sense. sometimes our tastes differed, but those taste and preference issues didn't rock our bottom-line family ethics.
i suggest letting her play her music in the car with you (sometimes- your taste preferences matter too!) and use it as an opportunity both to discuss with her what concerns you AND let her tell you what she loves about it.
don't make the mistake of thinking that a young person can't discriminate between what she hears (or reads or plays on video games) and reality.
S. (who also backpedalled all the way round the bend on south park)

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

As a former kid who used to listen to some pretty raunchy Prince stuff (back in the day, as they say) and who now still loves a lewd Frank Zappa cd on loud when my kid isn't around....

don't worry about it. Music rarely changes who kids ARE. Bad friends? Then I would worry. Hiding out and being antisocial? Go ahead, worry away... but a little aggro music (which is a great way of letting her 'safely' vent her angsty feelings, and esp. as she's not directing it at family-- and teens are known for their rebelliousness) isn't going to be the dangerous diversion from the Primrose Path, if you know what I mean.

All this said from a mom who still listens to stuff which would make some blush... Just talk to her about it if it's a concern. Ask her what she likes about it. Ask her what her favorite song is. Use this as a way to deepen your relationship and find out more about her instead of just being worried.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It is not a battle I would fight.

When I was younger, my parents hated my music and I hated the music they played in the house. It drove me nuts.. EVERY Sunday morning there was some gospel quartet playing and at other times it was country music. Every time I heard (and still hear) those types of music, it is like fingernails on a chalkboard screeching. I HATE it.

Why don't you listen with her, communicate with her and find out why she likes these musicians. You might be surprised.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

This is not a hill I would choose to die on. Parents disliking the music their teenagers listen to is as old as music itself. Just think back on the last century... there was swing, then rock'n'roll (perverting the youth), soon after that the Beatles (lock up your daughters), the 70's were a whole mashup of morally wrong styles of music in the eyes of that generation's parents. I was your daughters age in the 80's... anybody remember Madonna's heyday (complete with burning crucifixes and sexually suggestive clothes and dance moves...yeah...).

As someone else said, if the music she listens to is you only issue with your teenager... count your blessings and move on.
Good luck.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I went through a period when I liked Meatloaf - Bat Out of Hell was one of my favorites.
This was back when records was the only way to listen other than the radio.
I listened to the albums after I got home from school and before my Mom got home from work.
I'm not a fan of cussing, swearing, killing, sexually violent music/rap.
At least not the modern stuff (we like sea chanties - plenty of swearing, drinking, sex and exotic diseases that you get from all that drinking and sex - for a few years when our son was young I lived in fear of him repeating 'send the bastard off to sea' at school).
Fortunately our son just discovered Straight No Chaser and loves the harmony.
I've been introducing him to 50's, 60's, 70's and some 80's music.

@Rosebud - Yeah I even liked Meatloaf's music in Rocky Horror Picture.Show.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Been there done that. I made it a point to listen to their music just to see what they were listening to. Loved some of it and hated some. At 14 their music choices are usually peer influenced so I'd say to listen for yourself and then let your daughter know your opinion and why. To be honest she probably hates your music choices too.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

This is one of those tough issues in life. On one hand music isn't the end-all be-all of what kind of adult your kids grows up to be. But - I disagree with a lot of the answers here that music has no impact on kinds. While we may not focus on lyrics and dissonant sounds, our minds do internalize the words and the music does conflict with pleasant sounds so it encourages this feeling of fury with the world.

I'm working on a similar issue with my 14 yr old son but it's more about rap/hip-hop and the offensive lyrics. I'm not fan of rap - from a listening perspective (the cadence and lack of melody...) and particularly as most lyrics are awful. My son now listens with high quality headphones - which makes it more pleasant for me - but it doesn't eliminate the real problem - having his mind bathed with the lyrics during much of his spare time.

So I'm thinking of a little project - having him print out the lyrics of his favorite songs and then discussing it with us. Asking him to explain what they mean, what does he think that represents, etc.

I don't have a perfect answer - but I also don't agree that we have no options here as parents. I think it's more about how we aproach it... letting the kids come to conclusions on their own. We need to ask the right questions, be open to saying yes to some of it - but telling them we don't like other parts and asking them how best can we compromise?

Josh McDowell - a speaker to young people - says something I try to remember : Rules without relationship creates rebellion. Our kids, no matter the age, spell love as T-I-M-E -even when the pretend the opposite.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I was a good kid but an 80s metal head! My mom would ask me if she was hearing cursing in the songs. I would say yes.

The way I saw it and see it now is that was my personal preference in music. My friends all liked pop but I loved my Guns and Roses.

I think that you should be asking questions and letting your feelings be known. But otherwise, music is a personal choice. Just be sure she conducts herself appropriately regardless of the music she chooses.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My daughter is into the same kind of music. I take her and her friends to concerts even! Gasp! She's also a good kid with good grades and nice friends. But they like this music.

I don't find it any worse really than any of the mainstream artists today. Have you listened to the lyrics of Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Pitbull, Flo Rida, Kesha or Lady Gaga?? Awful, awful lyrics. But it's mainstream and has a good beat so nobody even notices or cares.

I wouldn't worry about your daughter and her musical tastes. She probably (like my daughter) knows more about music than kids who listen to the same stuff over and over on the radio.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Is she a good kid?


Is she a good student, studies, completes her work , makes good grades?

Does she use the words she hears in her conversations? Is she a potty mouth?

Have you talked to her about your concerns? "Some of the music you listen to sounds depressing, to me, I worry it will bring you down."

If she is a good kid over all and does not use this language, I would let it go.

Music is a personal taste. Some people love Rock, some like Country and Western, others only like Classical.
Just remind her that in certain situations, this music is not appropriate.

Give detailed examples. Never use this language aound people that are offended by this language. School, Church, ,,,

Even at parties, in someone else's home, she may need to ask permission. While in the car with grandmother, maybe you too?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My husband DJ's on the side and my kids listen to EVERYTHING. My husband and I mostly play current pop/r&b/hip hop music as our usual choices. My kids listen to everything.

The music they listen to does not define them. It doesn't make them good or bad people, and they don't do the things they hear in songs (whether it's good or bad). Music is music.

This is not where you need to be concerned. Honestly. If you see her acting different, changing, etc...then I'd worry. But even then I'd be really hesitant to say it was because of her choice of music.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I'm 46, and I like alternative and hard rock.

Here's the thing about teens, and maybe you'll remember from your own teen years. The lyrics don't mean so much. If the music sounds good, and the band looks hot, the teens like them. Those lyrics are NOTHING that a 14 year old HS freshman hasn't heard before! If a 9 year old was listening to this, I might object.

Good luck mom and fasten your seatbelt. This may be a very minor issue in the scheme of things in the teen years!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Unless you see her acting depressed or swearing or generally adopting the messages in these songs, I think you should just let her listen to them with some cautionary messages. Like you say, it's not like you can stop her.

@B -- Was Bat Out of Hell great, or what? And Paradise by the Dashboard Light, especially.

Suz -- Listen to the lyrics of Monster by Eminem. That's poetry.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Let her listen. You can't stop her anyway, so it's not a good battle to fight. It's okay for kids to "rebel" by listening to stuff their parents hate - it's part of asserting their independence.

If she starts talking like that and using that language (unless she is discussing it with you in which case of course she can quote them), if she is giving you and everyone else the middle finger, if she is getting depressed, then you have to do more exploration and intervention.

When I think of the music I listened to and all the parents who objected, I see it's a real pattern. And what the elderly folks listened to when they were "bobby soxers" was scandalous to their parents! Parents have lamented their kids chasing Frank Sinatra and the Beatles and Elvis, and they worried their kids would become no-good beach bums listening to the Beach Boys. Yet those songs have stood the test of time, and the Beatles and Brian Wilson's Beach Boys harmonies are considered some of the most intricate music done in decades. Parents were upset about Madonna but not every kid who listened actually dressed like her.

Now they're freaked out about Miley Cyrus whom they all thought was so tame. So many of the kids in the wholesome "boy bands" wound up using drugs. So there's a huge difference between the music (its quality, structure, harmony, musicality) and the people who perform it.

Get her to show you the lyrics now and then of what she really admires - have her pick one or two things. You can even get her to pick out the one she thinks you would like best (or be most intrigued by, or what she thinks you really should hear). Maybe she's not even into the lyrics but more the music itself. Even if she is paying attention to the words, you can ask why she thinks the lyricist is using that imagery, what's going on in his head, what she thinks about it. You might only get "It's cool" but that's okay. You might draw the line at what she lets younger siblings listen to, but that kind of reinforces your belief that she's mature enough to show good judgment - and that's the message you want to get across to her now about everything!

Parents didn't want their kids reading "Catcher in the Rye" or "Lord of the Flies" but others feel that kids aren't going to see prostitutes in NY or engaged in cannibalism just because they read about it. Same goes for half the other stuff on the reading lists in high school.

And remember that it's her job to test you and see if she can get you upset! She's 14 and how you handle this now will set the stage for when she is 16 and 17 - you want her to be able to discuss things with you without fear of your reaction. You will want to focus more on her responsibilities, grades, attitude, friends, behaviors.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Pick your battles. Personally, this is one I would not want to fight.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I presume these are not songs she can listen to by turning on the radio--she's using an MP3 player of some sort, right? If so, tell her you don't like them, ask her to stop listening to them, and if she doesn't, you can take it away from her. 14 year olds are still children and should still respect and obey their parents.

Now, that being said, musical choices aren't everything. They're most likely phases and will change and pass. What matters more is her actions. I listened to Sublime when I was a teen--my mom had no clue what I was listening to and singing. If she did, she would have told me, "no," and I would have stopped. Look up the lyrics of some of their songs and there is plenty for parents to object to. Listening to songs about drug use, hand jobs and a girl pimped out by her dad didn't cause me to do any of those things. I'm one of the most straight-laced people out there, and even though I went through those phases of listening to crazy music, I was still a great kid.

My early teens I listened to rap because that's what my sister's friend and the guys at the basketball court across from my house listened to, as well as Tori Amos because my friend listened to her. My middle teens was country; late teens Sublime, Metallica, etc because that's what my boyfriend listened do; freshman year college was boy bands because my college roommates listened to it. When I got a place with my sister my sophomore year I was listening to Charlotte Church, Sarah Brightman, Sinatra, Dean Martin, etc...all this time I was singing in my school's chorus--sacred music, Broadway show tunes, etc. Now I primarily listen to B-I-N-G-O because that's what my kids want....see a pattern here?

The music we listen to doesn't define us. Our actions matter more. As long as she's still a good kids in other ways, I'd let this slide....

Remind me I said all this in about 5 years when my oldest starts choosing his own music ;-)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My daughter, 15, also listens to this type of music. She also occasionally listens to other genres and absolutely loves The Beatles. My dd likes Pierce the Veil and Asking Alexandria. She is also on the track team at school, is a pretty good artist, has taught herself how to play the guitar. While she loves this type of music and it is hard for me to listen to, it does not define her. She has told me that some songs do swear a lot but she doesn't pay attn. to that. She just likes it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

When she listens to it, is it loud enough that it disturbs the rest of the family? If so, you have every right to ask her to turn the music down.

Unfortunately, most kids listen to this type of music through earbuds or headphones... and especially when it is really loud, it can start damaging her hearing.

I don't know if she will listen to you lecture about damaging her hearing, though.

I agree, sometimes you have to pick your battles. This may not be a hill to die on.

Have you discussed the lyrics with her? That might be interesting.....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

The music your kid listens to is not going to harm her. If the worst issue you ever have with her is that she likes songs that contain f-bombs, count yourself lucky.
When she was your daughter's age, my kid's favorite bands were Alkaline Trio and Coheed and Cambria.
She didn't turn out twisted or sociopathic.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

You could try having a conversation with her to see what she finds appealing about the music. Really listen to her. Listen to the music, or at least read the lyrics, before judging which you think is inappropriate and which you would really prefer she not listen to. That way you can have a real back-and-forth discussion and you can tell her rationally WHY there are certain songs or groups you dislike but you can tolerate/accept/compromise on others.

Music CAN be an influence on our kids and as parents if we just throw our hands up in the air and say there's nothing we can do about "this" then what happens when there's something else that can influence our kids and we decide there's nothing we can do about it? All of those little bitty things that can influence our children in little bitty ways add up if we don't have conversations about them with our children. Those conversations mean something to our children. Those conversations, when we show how much we care, will influence their choices more than the music and friends and TV shows and books and whatever.

So what I'm saying is that I wouldn't ignore the music or throw in the towel on it. I do think it's important. I would see if there's compromise though, by taking time to listen to both the music and then to your daughter. It will help establish a pattern of trust with her too. She'll see that you can be fair and it's really ok to listen to what you say.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

I've changed the style of music I listen to multiple times throughout my life. I'm only 27. When I was your daughter's age I was into hard rock. It was all angry or depressing music, really. But it matched how I felt inside at the time. I had previously been into pop music and then r&b. As an adult I went to country. Now I'll listen to a wide variety, but I stick with mostly country and happy upbeat stuff. But I'm happy now.

My point is that your daughter is listening to this music for a reason. Maybe it's to fit in with her friends. Maybe it's to impress a boy. Or perhaps it's just what she likes at the moment. Honestly, cuss words would be the least of my worries. She's 14 and probably seeing and hearing much worse in movies or from peers.

If you make a big deal about it she'll most likely just rebel. I remember my mom telling me that I wasn't allowed to watch MTV. Unfortunately for her I had a TV in my room. And I watched MTV a lot.

If she has younger siblings you could ask her to use headphones or turn it down.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Please reread the thoughtful answer by Amy J.

Among other smart things she notes:
"I don't think the music itself will hurt her, but you do want to watch her peer groups and activities (or lack thereof) to make sure she doesn't get obsessed with being depressed by glamorizing the downer bands. The same way you should make sure her life stays well balanced in general, she shouldn't be spending ALL her time listening to these bands-UNLESS it's having NO ADVERSE effects on her life. Like she starts quoting these artists all the time for life advice or something... Keeping her busy in other ways will help eliminate the need for a total ban of the music."

She also notes that being into particular music today is not like it was when most of us who post here were teenagers. Now, kids can go online and not just find their favorite band's music (and videos) in a hundred different versions, but they will be directed to similar music via link after link of "if you like band X, listen to band Y too." And they can stream it into their earbuds 24/7, as Amy notes. Just be aware that it's not like your daughter or her friends are just buying an album and putting it on while in their rooms, like it was with us "back in the day." Now they can listen to the music pretty much every minute of every day and see videos on demand instantly. And yes, they listen to it at school too, when they can.

So the exposure is much more intense than when most of us posters were younger. No longer can a parent just charge in and break all the vinyl LPs and that's the end of it; the kid can just borrow a friend's computer to download more of whatever they want. That's why "banning" can become a joke to kids this age.

That's why it's important to be sure your daughter is just too busy with other things (schoolwork, activities she likes, etc.) to have earbuds glued in all the time -- even if she were listening to the purest church music through them, that would be an unbalanced amount of time spent on one thing.

Overall, yes, this is not something to fuss about too much. You will turn it into "forbidden fruit" if you take it away altogether and remember -- forbidden fruit is the sweetest, and she will want to sneak the music if you overreact to it. But use it as a springboard for discussions about why she likes it (she may start out shrugging and saying, "I dunno!").

What would bother me much more than bad language or generally rebellious lyrics would be lyrics that glorify violence against women or lyrics that depict women as nothing but sexual objects. There is a great deal of that today, and if you hear that in her music, talk with her. Don't criticize or ban, because she will get defensive and clam up, but ask her how it makes her feel to hear girls talked about like that.

If your daughter doesn't have any extracurricular activities that she chose and that she enjoys, please be sure she gets at least one good, solid activity that really engages her. Let her choose it. Kids at this age need something that's all their own and gives them positive involvement with adults who aren't mom and dad, and other kids who share their same interest. If she does already have activities, that's great; just encourage those and encourage her to see kids who share those interests.

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answers from San Diego on

Music does not make the person.
If you had a look/listen to my music collection and the huge swath of genres it spans you would have to label me schizophrenic. There is very little I don't have and listen to. I grew up listening to everything under the sun and now my kids are the same way.
As a teen you could find 2 Live Crew, Metallica, Prince, Depeche Mode, Christian Death, The Beatles, Skinny Puppy, The 50s greatest hits, Gwar, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Deicide, Bach, Beethoven, Little Mermaid soundtrack, Kenny G, Chick Corea....all in the same CD wallet. In other words, some of this, some of that and some more of the other.
Speed metal would be great to vent anger in a safe way, or sometimes extra energy. Half the time I couldn't figure out the lyrics anyway.
Unless you see behaviour that you find troubling. Listening to music isn't a bad thing.



answers from New York on

you can not avoid 14 year old hearing swear words. all the new teenagers think they are so cool to be swearing, its definitely a rebellion thing. But the music is probably just a phase. im sure by the time she is 16/17 it will be rap. id say just be grateful she hasn't hit that stage yet.



answers from Las Vegas on

Have you introduced her to other genre's? I grew up listening to rock my whole life and my mother hated it, as well, couldn't stop it.

When I met my husband, he introduced me to other types of music and I liked some of it. He listens to much heavier rock (metal) than I ever have.

When our daughter showed interest in music, I asked him to introduce her to everything. She likes rock, country, pop, and Christian music.



answers from Dallas on

I listened to rock and metal has a child and never got in trouble. I was always a good kid. It's just music.


answers from Seattle on

It's her way of rebelling. If she's a good kid otherwise, then let her listen to it. If she has it on too loud ask her to please turn it down.

I went through a phase about her age when all I would listen to was rap, complete with swearing every other word. The best thing my dad ever could have done was what he did: ignored it unless I had it on too loud, then he'd drown me out with his Stereo (four speakers, about 3 foot tall each).

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