This may be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t think it is necessary to censor the music our children listen to. It isn’t that we seek out music with adult themes and aggressive language and intentionally play that when they are around, but if a song comes on that has some of those things in it, we aren’t quick to turn it off either. Sure, we have listened to our fair share of Kid Bopz, Laurie Berkner, and Disney soundtracks over the years. Our girls love kid specific podcasts like Wow in the World. But they also are on a first name basis with Drake, Lizzo, Bryce Vine and other artists not typically associated with children’s songs. And I am totally ok with that.
There are a few different reasons for us to not censor music.
One, WE like this music better. Call the parenting police, but music is an important part of the memories we create in life. Songs call us back to good times and provide the soundtrack to many of our milestones. Music, like any other art form, is meant to spark creativity, individual thoughts, and personal connections. It brings up conversations with our kids and especially in today’s diverse world, helps us explain things they might not otherwise have been exposed to in a scenario where we can control the context and details around it.
For those that argue children shouldn’t be subject to certain themes in this music or the language used in popular songs today, I counter that I would rather them hear it, we discuss it, and for them to understand why although we can listen to it, we don’t need to repeat it. My kids know not to sing out inappropriate words (usually they replace them with their own lyrics anyway) and they definitely know not to speak them outside of the musical framework they hear them in. As we do with everything we parent them on, setting expectations and re-directing behaviors has made this a non-issue in our house.
I want to be clear, if they ask to listen to Elmo or Frozen (again), we play it. We are not depriving them of kid centered music in any way. But when they ask to play “Truth Hurts”, we turn it up. We dance. We sing. Because at the end of the day, they are going to hear it somewhere. In a store, someone else’s car, when they come to the gym with us. So why not make it not a big deal? Why not put the emphasis on the fun we have when the song comes on instead of creating negativity around it? I want to them to appreciate all music and develop their own tastes and preferences. And they can’t do that without hearing it all. You can both love and appreciate Frank Sinatra and Tupac (I am proof of that) so until a reason presents itself to us to suggest otherwise, don’t be surprised when you hear our kids belting out lyrics like “It’s OK, he already in my DMs”….
So…do you censor music around your kids?