How do You Raise a Kid Who Loves the Same Music You Do?
When your children are small you will play almost anything through the car speakers to keep them happy. Even Baby Shark on repeat is better than screaming.
But there comes a parenting moment when you want to have it all: music you love streaming from those speakers and a content child. This is the holy grail for music-loving parents, the pot of gold, the illusive longed-for crowning glory. You’ll have to be strategic, persistent, and lucky to have any success but even limited victory is a triumph.
Music’s charm to soothe the savage beast doesn’t end with the early years. Our carefully cultivated shared musical loves became the life raft we clung to as we sailed the turbulent waves of teenage trama.
We didn’t want to be the sort of parents who catered only to the whims of our children while the world burned around us. On the other hand, we were pragmatic idealists who frequently capitulated to peace at any price.
My children were young in the dark days of car tape decks and CD players. The tiny dictators, lovingly secured in their high-tech safety thrones, demanded their favorite albums from the parental DJ’s in the front seat.
I’d try negotiation. “Okay, we can listen to Raffi but then Mommy gets a turn to pick.” The devious little buggers quickly agreed but my appeasement strategies crumbled as fast as the Sudetenland when it was my turn and I tried to make good on our agreement.
We needed some albums acceptable to both sides.
Step one in our campaign was trying to expand and enlighten the musical tastes of our progeny. I started with the Jurassic Park soundtrack.
“Let’s be dinosaurs!” I said to my three-year-old as the haunting strains of music poured out of the speakers. We stamped around the living room waving our feeble little T-Rex arms and roaring. She was immediately hooked on both dinosaurs and the music of John Williams, neither of whom had excited her before. A fan was born.
Step two was exposure therapy. Classic rock, soundtracks, jazz, and classical music all filled the air whenever I…