Why You Should Monitor Your Teen’s Music Immediately

Updated June 24, 2023
A Guide for Christian Parents

As a parent, you want to guide your teen in making healthy decisions. An area of frequent battle for Christian parents is whether or not to monitor your teen’s music.

When a teen says their music is a personal choice, they are right. It’s a reflection of taste, mood, the influence of peers, and the sounds of their generation. The apostle Paul writes “All things are permitted, but not all things are of benefit. All things are permitted, but not all things build people up.” (1 Cor. 10:23).

What would it look like to not control our teen’s choices, but to encourage them to align their music with their belief system? To test music against a standard of building themselves and others up?

The Power of Music

What happens when you hear a favorite song from your past?  It can bring pleasant nostalgia or remind you of something or someone that feels painful. The relationship between music and emotion is strong, so telling a child they can’t listen to a song that makes them feel something can come across as stifling, instead of as intended- loving and protective. I am challenging myself as a parent to use more empathy, what would it feel like if someone told me I couldn’t listen to a song that had meaning to me?  What other outlets or suggestions am I offering as a yes of expression if I am saying a no to a particular song or sound?

Consider Music In The Movies

  • Exciting music paired with a scientist in the research laboratory gets the viewer ready for an amazing discovery.
  • Ominous or foreboding music alerts us something bad or horrifying will happen.

Music and emotion cannot be separated. What I care about is how my children are feeling or processing their experiences and relationships. Instead of just giving a thumbs up or down, can I use music as an avenue to know them better? To understand their perspective? To listen and learn more about them, rather than focus on an offensive word?

The words in songs are subliminal. The words have an effect upon the mind without the person realizing what is happening.  

See How Unwanted Messages From Songs Can Sneak Up On You

  1. Even when we don’t consciously listen. A teen may say, “I don’t listen to the words, I just like the music.” However, a message still enters the subconscious mind and can affect what they believe about themselves and others. Talk about messages, more than about musicians or sounds.

  2. The power of repetition. The more someone hears the subliminal messages, the more it affects them. Much like advertising, which is often subliminal, the more someone sees it, the more likely they are to want the product.

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Music and Lyrics Affect People Differently

Some music is meaningful and some music just isn’t, and we can’t even always explain the reasons for the difference. I can like loud music and gentle music on the same day, in different settings, for reasons entirely personal to my mood.  Music can help us express our feelings, give us an outlet for communication, or signal to others how we are feeling.


What If the Lyrics are Against Everything You Believe?

As Christians, God tells us to “set our minds on things above” and to “take every thought captive.” He understands what’s in our mind is important to our beliefs and how we interact with the world. In order to deem music as offensive, it requires the realization unhealthy or harmful thoughts running through the mind don’t help us live as God’s kid. 

So how can we influence our children in their music choices?

Let’s Address These Two Issues

  • First, we have to ensure what we listen to aligns with what we’re telling our child. Far more powerful than words is our example.
    • We are far more effective when we talk with our child, not at our child. This means a give and takes discussion- expressing our views as clearly as possible and giving them a chance to share their perspective.
    • Some songs are dangerous. If violent or depressing songs resonate with our children, we have the opportunity to express concern and explore the reason why.

As children age, we have more opportunities to influence than control. This requires paying attention and strengthening communication- all positive steps that lead to connection and healthy relationship.

About Author

Beth Guckenberger is the Co-Executive Director of Back2Back Ministries and founder of the Reckless Faith Movement. Beth and Todd have a large family they’ve formed through biological, foster, and adoptive children. She is an author and speaker, sharing her experience as a mother, a missionary, and a student of God’s Word.