by Jayne O’Dwyer
While your daughter is listening to dub-step, all you hear is an auto-tuned construction site. And, she doesn’t understand why the Grateful Dead needs to have a song that goes on for nine minutes. Is explaining each other’s music preferences really worth the hassle? Well, yes.
The first step? Make like a human Pandora app and simply give each other a few different samples of your favorite songs. The only goal here is to establish an understanding for the other’s music, not necessarily fall in love. And nothing will happen if you don’t give each other’s songs a listen.
Jeff Menzie, Ph.D., a research associate at Morgan State University’s Institute for Urban Research, always advises parents to listen to their kids’ music. “It helps parents to better understand what may be influencing their child’s personality, social and cultural development,” he says. Additionally, he adds, “it helps parents to build a tolerance for their child’s personal rhythm, making it less of a contrast to their own, and facilitates the parent-child communication by providing a common ground for discussion.”
If today’s top 40s really don’t appeal to you, no worries; plenty of new artists have combined old and new sounds to create an interesting blend that allows them to bridge the generation gap, such as Walk the Moon, The Dirty Heads and The Vaccines. So, try listening to a few of her Mumford & Sons tracks, and have her try out some of your favorites of Bruce Springsteen. Together, you can create an eclectic playlist that makes long road trips a lot more enjoyable for both of you. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new band that you both can enjoy. You’ll never know if you don’t try.
Jayne O’Dwyer is a junior at Laurel School in Shaker Heights, Ohio.