The teen years can be rough on both kids and parents. Not only are teenagers dealing with changing bodies, but they are also suddenly swamped with powerful emotions that make navigating the passage from childhood to adulthood even harder. It’s no wonder that teenagers, in particular, identify so strongly with music. Through this medium, they can express their angst and frustration, as well as find common ground with their peers. Music can also help build a teen’s self-esteem in the following ways:
1. It can help teens identify their values.
2. It can make them more responsible.
Participating in a group music effort, such as band or orchestra, helps teens develop a sense of responsibility and teamwork. Listening to the director, paying attention to cues and learning to play as a cohesive unit can give teens a sense of accomplishment and the feeling of empowerment that comes from mastering a task.
The power of group music cannot be understated. By encouraging your teen to join a band, orchestra, or other ensemble, you are exposing him or her to the many positive influences of music. You are also helping your child learn to achieve a goal, which can improve his or her self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.
When they are involved in a musical group, teens must consistently practice and improve their skills. Setting a goal of learning a piece of music, mastering a new technique, or practicing during vacation can all be important exercises in and planning and implementing steps to achieve an objective.
3. It can be a tool for self-exploration.
The lyrics to songs often resonate with teens in a powerful way. Encourage your child to write his or her own lyrics to help analyze his or her thoughts and find improved self-awareness. Creating their own songs gives teens an outlet for the things that may be troubling them. It also gives their emotions a voice and allows them to find solutions to their problems in a safe, productive way.
Is your teen struggling with a problem in his or her life? Together, you can find a song that deals with the issue he or she is experiencing and then alter the lyrics to solve the problem. Alternatively, your teen can simply write a new song about the problem. Did your teen get in a fight with a friend? Have your child write a song of apology. Moving away? Help him or her write a song that says “goodbye.” Even if the lyrics never leave your teen’s bedroom, the process of working through his or her feelings will result in improved self-worth.
If you find that your teen is brooding over songs that have hurtful, dark or troubling lyrics? Talk with your child about how certain songs can impact your emotional well-being. Then, print out the disturbing lyrics and rewrite the song with a more positive outlook. Discuss what your teen thinks the song is about and why he or she likes it. Don’t turn the discussion into a lesson—simply talk with your child to see where he or she is emotionally and what he or she is thinking. Show respect for your teen’s state of mind and his or her choice of music.
It can often be challenging to find common ground with your teen. Luckily, music can not only improve your teen’s self-esteem, it can also be a powerful means of connecting with your child. Rock music, especially, has revolutionized culture for generations by pushing social boundaries and changing fashion and attitudes. This powerful tool can be a force for good in your teen’s life with guidance and insight. Along the way, you may find a new genre of music that you enjoy, and your teen might even learn to appreciate your musical tastes.