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    Does Your Child Know You Care?


    A young mother expressed to me that she was worried about her son’s choices in music. He continued to listen to it after she and her husband expressed their displeasure. She didn’t know what he listened to, but the posters on the wall of his room were gross and the music sounded “like the pit of hell.”

    From her descriptions she had every right to be concerned. Yet, when I asked her for specifics about her son’s music and his other entertainment, she proudly stated that she and her husband were completely naive to what he was involved in. She didn’t want nor did she see a need to become familiar with what he was listening to.

    “Why should I? Isn’t it enough to know it’s gross? I just want him to turn it off!” Let me answer that response with the following illustration:

    Let’s say you’re really committed to your job. You work hard from early morning to late at night. You really enjoy your job, so the long hours are no problem. It doesn’t matter what the job, it could be salesman, teacher, janitor, or a housewife. But you’re really into it, because a job well done brings satisfaction and a feeling that you’re making a difference. That job usually identifies who you are as a person. Think about it: often when you’re introduced, you’re identified by your occupation, aren’t you? “She’s a full-time mother, or a doctor, or a teacher.” “He’s a salesman, or a policeman, or janitor.” We take pride in that label because it gives us a feeling of self-worth.

    But how would you feel if your spouse didn’t know about your job? What if they didn’t care where you were expending all of this energy, and getting all of this satisfaction? The one who proclaimed undying love to you, not only don’t they know, they show no interest in trying to find out what to do. They have no interest in finding out what motivates you.

    Now stop for a moment and compare it with your relationship to your child’s entertainment. He is consumed by it. He listens to his music day and night. Not just five days a week, but seven. Not just fifty weeks a year, with two weeks vacation, but he’s really into it fifty-two weeks. He never takes a day off.

    He goes to all the latest movies. He knows all about the rock musicians and movie stars. Often young people are so identified with their music, it’s not unusual that they will only hang out with those who have similar tastes.

    Think about it: If your child identifies with this music and don’t even know his favorite groups, or even the style of music he is into, what does that imply? That’s right, no matter what you say, your lack of interest gives him the feeling that you don’t care!

    You do care about your child, don’t you? If you really do, find out what he’s listening to. You don’t have to approve, encourage, or agree with it, your simple interest will show your child that you care about him. If you’re going to get your child to make wise choices, he must believe that you have a real interest in who he is. After he trusts that you really care for him as a person and not just a project to be changed, he’s more likely to begin to listen to what you’re saying about his choices.

    Al Menconi is president and founder of Al Menconi Ministries and is a recognized authority on popular music and the media for today’s Christian family. He can be contacted at 1-800-78MUSIC.

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