Connect With Your Teen Through Music


As a parent, you’ve probably experienced the baffling look on your teenager’s face when you start singing the music that played during your own teenage years. Especially when you start singing along with the music at the grocery store and indignantly tell them that this is not “classic rock.” Yet, there’s something magical about inviting your kids into the melodies that shaped your youth. Picture this: a cozy evening at home, laughter bouncing off the walls, and the sweet sound of music filling the air. But with your teenager and not your toddler! In a world where technology often serves as a barrier between generations, there’s at least one timeless bridge that spans the generation gap with melody and rhythm–the joy of sharing music. Arm yourself with Spotify and top 100 lists and embark on the quest to build the ultimate playlist – a blend of the old and new!

Here’s what happened when we did it. 

  • Not only did we create an absolutely epic playlist that has us both dancing and singing, but we also had some really great conversations and insights. For example, it was fun to find the commonalities between our favorite songs, whether it was rejecting the dominant thinking of the time, being angry at authority, singing our hearts out over lost love, or just because it felt good to move our body to a fast rhythm. Sharing the songs that once rocked your world opens a door to understanding, providing a glimpse into the soundtrack of your life.
  • We found ourselves talking about historical and current events. Conversations that started about chart-toppers soon moved to politics, social unrest, and cultural events. Plus, as a parent, I got to share some special memories like the first concert I went to (which did not make the playlist) as well as songs I hated and why. And, I learned about how my teen is using music to create the soundtrack to their life right now which creates a richness that was not there before.
  • We discovered a lot of common ground. We found ourselves enjoying tracks that bridged the generational gap, creating a unique blend of our musical preferences. In a time where teens are often constantly at odds with their parents, music provides a safe place to not only connect but understand one another.
  • We laughed a lot, especially when we shared specific dance moves that went with a song. These were the types of moments where the authority lines and power struggles melt away. We were two people sharing a love of music, and we were each able to see each other outside of our relational roles of mom and teen. 
  • We successfully negotiated. We had songs that were a resounding yes from both of us, but we also had songs that were a big yes from one and not the other. Without much fuss, those were tabled, yet we artfully negotiated those maybe songs to have a balance we both found ourselves happy with. 

As our playlist grew, so did the bond between us. The generational joy of sharing music became a tangible expression of connection. In those beats and melodies, we found a language that transcended the spoken word–a language that spoke of shared experiences, emotions, and the unspoken understanding that music has the power to unite hearts across time.

So, consider this your invitation to orchestrate your symphony of connection. Dive into the tunes of your past, explore the beats of the present, and let the music become a bridge that spans the generational gap. After all, the joy of sharing music is a gift that keeps on giving — a timeless melody that echoes through the corridors of family history. Not sure where to start – Rolling Stone magazine put out a list of the top 500 songs of all time. I guarantee there will be some lively debates as you go through this list! We’d love to hear what songs you want to put on the playlist!


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