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What parents can appreciate about raunchy music

  • August 24, 2013 - 2:00 PM

Not a conflict, but an opportunity to learn

Your preteen child’s pals listen to seriously raunchy music. Are you a prude to discourage her from listening?

Expert advice: It might help to think of it not as seriously raunchy music, but as a declaration of independence.

“What you’re looking for during early adolescence, in words and actions, is the declaration of difference: I am different from when I was as a child, and I want to be treated differently than I was as a child,” said family psychologist Carl Pickhardt, author of “Surviving Your Child’s Adolescence: How to Understand, and Even Enjoy, the Rocky Road to Independence.”

“What your kid is now starting is the journey to independence, and they’re going to start developing different tastes and beliefs than they had as a child and than their parents are familiar with,” Pickhardt said. “The job of the parent now is to maintain a connection with that child by bridging those differences. Adolescence is not the time to go it alone.”

He suggested using the music as a topic over which to bond.

“My older son got into punk rock, which was never my taste, but I listened to a great deal of it, and we had wonderful conversations about it,” he said. “It creates a hugely powerful reversal. ‘You know more about this music than I do. Can you teach me about it? Can you help me understand and appreciate it?’ The kid becomes the authority and the parent is saying, ‘I want to be part of your new world.’ It’s a supportive statement rather than a critical statement.”

Even if the music offends your value system, he said, find common ground.

“You can bridge that with something like, ‘You and I have a different take on some of these lyrics. For me, some of those lyrics really put people down or say things about people that I really don’t agree with. I’m not saying you can’t form your own opinion. We can listen to the same music and we can still see it differently,’ ” he suggested.

“Part of what you’re saying to your child is, ‘This is a time when you’re going to be interested in new and different values, and I want us to be able to talk about those things,’ ” he said. “You want to maintain that connection through communication even as adolescence is growing them apart from you — which is what adolescence is meant to do.”

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

A contest for awareness

As many as one in 13 U.S. children suffer from a food allergy, a common cause of anaphylaxis. For some, the allergic reaction will prove fatal. As part of the national Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis initiative sponsored by global pharmaceutical company Mylan Specialty L.P., local school districts are lining up to participate in some friendly competition to help raise awareness of severe allergies by rallying people to share their personal stories.

The competition, dubbed Raise Your Hand for Anaphylaxis Awareness, runs through Oct. 1 and allows people to virtually “raise their hand” for their school district to be counted as one committed to educating people about the dangers of severe allergies. Supporters can register their school district online at www.Anaphylaxis101.com. Four school districts with the most raised hands will each receive a $15,000 grant to support educational programs, including anaphylaxis-related activities.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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