Rap music has had many different effects on teenagers since its inception in the late 1970’s. When most people think of rap music today, they immediately think of the gangster or thug mentality that has infested suburban teens with an attitude that reflects the heart of the ghetto. This may normally be revealed through a change in language or slang, as well as a change in appearance or dress. As a youth motivator, many suburban parents have asked me to help them reclaim their child from this behavior. I try to get them to focus on the reason that their children act the way they do.
Rap merely paints a picture to a child of what is going on in the streets. It has a much bigger influence on suburban teens because children who live in poverty strictened areas already have an idea of what that life is really like. Lots of times it comes down to children wanting to be considered “cool”. If you recall being a teenager, being cool was probably a top priority to you. If you want to reverse the negative effects on your teen you can try to get on their level.
Listen to their music with them. Don’t judge, be open-minded and ask them exactly what they like about the music.
Of, course if the music is completely vulgar and the teen finds themselves embarrassed to play it in their parents presence then that can also be a good thing as they are expressing their knowledge of good from bad and right from wrong. Lots of times you will find that they are relating with one particular emotion that is expressed in the music. The number one complaint that I have heard from teenagers is that their parents don’t listen to them. They feel that their parents talk at them but not to them. This is why it is so easy for them to relate to a genre of music which has been dictated by individuals who were raised by only one parent. When parents connect with their teen, it makes them feel complete and they will normally begin to open up more to their parents.
Don’t get me wrong, the effects of rap on teens does not have to be a negative. I have personally been writing positive lyrics in rap for years and have seen many positive results from youth listening to it. There are many other rappers who also feed young people the type of lyrics that can influence positive thinking. These artists are usually not in the mainstream but you can find their music online.
Your job as a parent is always going to be to love your teenager regardless of their taste in music, but the more you connect into their world you will find a serious connection that will balance any negative effects of music and give you all common ground to love and respect one another. I would also add that if you know your child likes rap, try to find positive raps that you may like and ask if they like it as well. You may just find another level of connection with you teen.