Vintage Parenting 101: Tune In Before You Turn It Off

As a part of my efforts to increase the accessibility of my website, I am re-posting articles from my old Parenting 101 page as stand-alone blog posts on the main site.

March 13, 2007

“Tune In Before You Turn It Off”

Q – What do you do when you can’t stand your kids’ music (or other entertainment)?

A – Remember to focus more on your child/teen than on the sound of their music. Think of it as a way of listening in on their thoughts, and don’t get caught up dwelling on the sound.

Q – Yes, but what if their music choices are just plain awful?

A – That awful noise may be a cry of help. Find out the names of their favorite artists and songs, then look up the lyrics online. is a good source. If the words are shocking, take the time to calm down before going back to your child to discuss them. If you come across as shocked or disgusted or angry or condemning, you will turn off your child from your guidance. CALMLY ask them what they like about their music and how they relate to it. If you hear some hurt or anger or depression or other difficult feelings from them, ask them what it’s like to feel that way. Connect with them and encourage them. Believe it or not, they will be so glad you did.

Q – That’s fine for connecting with them, but I don’t want to encourage them listening to some of this garbage. How do I get them to make better choices?

A – Practice “judo parenting.” In judo, you are taught to connect with your opponent and redirect their energy, rather than fighting against them. This is a great model for parenting. If your kids are making poor choices with their entertainment, you should be concerned, and they need you to help redirect them. However, this redirecting will be most effective for the long haul of their lives if you first connect with them where they are, then move into helping them learn for themselves how to make good choices. When you make the choices for them, you actually prevent them from learning to do it for themselves.

Q – I’m going to need help with this. What are some helpful resources?

A – There are some great online and book resources to help with this important work in your relationship with your kids. Click here for one of my recent posts on this topic, “Listen, and Learn.” I also recommend:

“ScreamFree Parenting: Raising Your Kids By Keeping Your Cool” by Hal E. Runkel

“Movie Nights: 25 Movies to Spark Spiritual Discussions with Your Teen” by Bob Smithouser

“Movie Nights for Teens: 25 More Movies to Spark Spiritual Discussions with Your Teen” by Bob Smithouser

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