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.

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