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Children and Music

What types of music will you allow your children to listen to?
By Barbara Rainey

One of the thorniest issues to tackle when raising children is music. Many children become devoted to music beginning at age 11 or 12, and it is a big influence on their lives. What types of music will you allow your children to listen to?

The apostle Paul provides a great media filter in Philippians 4:8: " … whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things."

Parents should approach this issue shrewdly and wisely. Particularly as your child gets older, your ability to understand his taste in music is critical. You are a coach; you want him to understand for himself how different types of music will affect his emotions and how music can play a significant role in romantic relationships.

It's important to engage your child in ongoing discussions about your standards. Each of our teenagers experimented with different types of secular music that Dennis and I personally found questionable. They were not dabbling with harsh, vulgar music, but they did do some exploring. When one of our daughters was about 16, I observed she sometimes listened to a radio station that played Top 40 pop songs from the 1980s and the 1990s. Sometimes I was surprised by the suggestive lyrics in the songs. I would ask her, "Do you know what that is saying?"

"I turn it off when the bad stuff comes on," she answered.

"So, you've listened to it long enough to know the song well enough to know the bad parts so you can turn it off? By then it is already in your head."

We talked this through a number of times over a period of several weeks. She stopped listening to that music. I never told her she couldn't listen to it, but I did challenge her convictions with timely questions that made her think about what she was doing.


Copyright © 2001 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author: Barbara Rainey

Barbara Rainey is a wife, mother of six adult children (plus three sons-in-law and two daughters-in-law), and "Mimi" to nineteen grandchildren.

After graduating from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, Barbara joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ in 1971. She and her husband, Dennis, whom she married in 1972, are co-founders of FamilyLife, a ministry of Cru that is headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Barbara has published articles on family-related topics and is the author of Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember and When Christmas Came.  She speaks at FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember® marriage conferences and is a frequent guest on FamilyLife Today®, a nationally syndicated, daily radio program.  She and Dennis are the coauthors of several books, including Growing a Spiritually Strong Family, Starting Your Marriage Right, Moments Together for Couples, The New Building Your Mate's Self-Esteem, Parenting Today's Adolescent, Rekindling the Romance, and Moments with You. She co-authored A Mother's Legacy with her daughter, Ashley Rainey Escue and joined Dennis and their children Rebecca and Samuel on the book So You're About To Be A Teenager. Barbara has also co-authored Barbara and Susan's Guide to the Empty Nest, with close friend Susan Yates, and A Symphony in the Dark, written with her daughter, Rebecca Rainey Mutz. And Barbara has written a series focusing on character traits for families, including the titles Growing Together in Gratitude, Growing Together in Courage, Growing Together in Forgiveness, and Growing Together in Truth.

Having faithfully served alongside Dennis for more than 30 years, both in ministry and at home, Barbara has recently launched a new endeavor called Ever Thine Home™.  This new line of products, including Christ centered ornaments for Christmas, teaching tools for Lent and Easter, and beautiful additions for your home for thanksgiving and year round makes it easy to express faith at home in a way that is both biblical and beautiful.  Her heart for Ever Thine Home is based on the familiar Old Testament instruction:

"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (Deuteronomy 6:9, ESV)

You can read more about Barbara's work at

Find Barbara online on:
Twitter @BarbaraRainey and Facebook



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