13 yr old difficult child and rap CDs?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by pepperidge, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Ok, this is not the most serious of issues we deal with here. But I thought I could get some good advice here.

    My almost 13 yr old difficult child (almost easy child when his medications are working) wants to buy a Enimen CD. He seems to really like rap music, not sure why (lol). To date I have pretty much held the line on a lot of PG13 movies, explicit music etc.

    I don't object to bad language (he hears it everyday at school) but don't like the over the top sexual stuff, or anything that promotes drugs or is really degrading to women. What I have heard on the teen radio that they listen to doesn't seem too offensive. As battles go, I'm thinking that this one may not be the one to fight, but if it is really bad maybe it is worth the battle.

    Anyway I thought you guys might know more about this than his hopelessly out of date mom.

    thanks
     
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    You could look up the lyrics to eminem's songs online and see what they say. But, your being 54, I have to remind you of several songs that we used to sing to when we were young. Of course, I was 8 years younger, which makes it even worse. I used to sing them out loud in the car with my mom. I would have jumped out of my skin if I were her! Of course I was only singing the chorus, and I don't know if she knew what they were saying. I know I didn't.

    Excerpts~

    (Stay With Me, Rod Stewart)

    In the morning
    Dont say you love me
    Cause Ill only kick you out of the door

    I know your name is rita
    Cause your perfum smelling sweeter
    Since when I saw you down on the floor
    Guitar

    Wont need to much pursuading
    I dont mean to sound degrading
    But with a face like that
    You got nothing to laugh about...

    ...Yea Ill pay your cab fare home
    You can even use my best colonge
    Just dont be here in the morning when I wake up


    (Walk on the Wild Side, Lou Reed - to this day one of my personal faves - Who can resist? doo doodoo doodoo doodoodoodoo doo doodoo doodoo doodoodoodoo)

    Holly came from miami f.l.a.
    Hitch-hiked her way across the u.s.a.

    Plucked her eyebrows on the way
    Shaved her leg and then he was a she
    She says, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side
    Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side

    Candy came from out on the island
    In the backroom she was everybodys darling

    But she never lost her head
    Even when she was givin' ----
    She says, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side
    Said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side
    And the coloured girls go

    Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
     
  3. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I like Enimem. His old music is pretty sexist, up to and including lines about raping his mother. His newer stuff is much, much better. Songs about his daughter, anti-war, etc. The language, of course, is foul but his newer messages are pretty good for the most part.

    I never stopped my daughter from getting whatever music she liked. The only caveat was that I would get the words and if I found something objectionable, it would be discussed. I liked that it opened conversations about sex, abuse of women, suicide, gang issues, drugs, etc. There were many conversations that would have never happened had it not been for her choice in music.

    I would limit what she watched on television and what movies she saw when she was younger. The main reasons for this were that it was frequently impossible to preview what she was watching and many caused some major nightmares for her. I don't think I let her see a PG-13 movie until she was 16 unless I had either seen it first or it was recommended by someone whose judgment I truly trusted.
     
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    My kids get some fairly weird, off-the-wall music. When difficult child 1 got into Rammstein and I heard it was also associated with the Columbine tragedy, I worried a bit because difficult child 1 and his best friend at the time (who put him onto this music) wore long black coats, black bandannas etc looking like something out of Matrix.

    So I listened to it a bit - very dark-sounding, very gutteral (because the vast bulk of it is in German). But because I understand a bit of German I also recognised some of the lyrics - the lead singer has a very clear diction, Like Freddie Mercury (Queen) was famed for.

    So I looked up the lyrics, plus translation, and found some interesting stuff.

    First, the group was horrified at what happened at Columbine but there really is nothing in their lyrics to connect. It's just that some kids whose minds are dark, will be attracted to things that sound dark and different. Chicken or the egg.
    And the lyrics are very clever. Bilingual puns, in some cases. One song called "Du Hast" (you have) is deliberately sounding like "Du Hasst" (you hate) and the delivery sounds hateful. But the words are:
    du hast
    du hast
    du hast mich (which COULD mean "you hate me")
    du hast mich gefragt (you have asked me a question...)
    und ich habe gesagt (and I have said to you...)

    Suddenly the song's meaning has changed to something far simpler.

    With Eminem's more recent works, I agree with the above assessment - there is honour, truth, consideration and social conscience in it. I don't necessarily like it all that much but I value the power and truth in it. For more instruction, look up the lyrics to "Toy Soldiers". It does have profanity in it, but it needs to be there (unfortunately). It's not gratuitous, that is the language of the streets the song is about.

    My kids can take it or leave it.

    Like with Rammstein, while I can value the expertise and skill in it, I really can't listen to more than one track before the steady head-banging "dooff dooff" gets to me and I ask the kids to shut it off. If I'm driving the car, I get veto rights on what music is broadcast. If they want to broadcast from their iPod, I have the right to ask them to skip a track. If they still insist on listening to it, they have to listen on their headphones. Mind you, I will return the favour and not force them to listen to Barney the Dinosaur.

    However, I do find it's a good thing to at least have some level of tolerance for your kids' choice of music. This has a number of uses:

    1) You know what they're listening to (and they'll listen to it when you're not around, so banning it will only make it more attractive)

    2) YOU become an authority on the kids' favourite performers. This can really creep the kids out, especially when you know more of the latest gossip than the kids do (which comes from keeping your ears open and watching the Countdown video clip shows)

    3) It gives you a meeting place for open discussion with your kids, of the social issues raised by the songs.

    Some modern rap is absolutely disgusting. It is cheap, it is nasty, it is demeaning, it is pointless. So-called "Gangsta Rap" appears to have little of value, as if it is deliberately presenting itself as derogatory, demeaning and depressing, while trying to appear upbeat. The performers are generally decked out in "bling" to the ultimate extent of bad taste; various beautiful girls in various stages of undress draped over the (generally African-American) singer, perhaps to make a reverse-racist point (remember, this is from a non-US point of view, just what it seems). A lot of it seems to be using trappings of wealth as a deliberately vulgar show of testosterone - hinting "I'm tough, I break the law (must do, or I wouldn't be able to afford all this junk and wouldn't attract women like this) so don't mess with me or I'll break you." Clear images echoing Al Capone from the Prohibition era - white fur coat, lots of trashy flashy rings, broad-brimmed hat with big cigar - the gangster imagery is clearly deliberate and can only perpetuate some nasty stereotypes. To me it seems to be glamorising criminality and gang attitudes. Of course, along the way it is sexist and incredibly shallow.

    Sad, really. Because when I listen closely, I can hear the talent in these performers, which they are burying under an avalanche of bad taste and their own brand of boring conformity. Some of these guys can really sing - when they drop their guard a little.

    Not all rap fits into this category. Some is really good. At worst, you can always find some rap that is light-hearted & fun, as well as some that has a moral lesson in it (such as most of Eminem's recent stuff). Our senior high school English students these days are expected to look for "supplementary material" on the set topic of the year. I remember when difficult child 1 was doing his final year English, his set topic was "the institution". Set film was "Shawshank Redemption" and he found for himself "Sleepers" (book and film) as well as the lyrics of a rap song about feeling trapped by circumstances beyond the singer's control. By making the schoolwork relevant and also making the kids look around and find their own extra material, it's also making the kids really think about what they listen to.

    About 20 years ago there was a pop group in Australia called "Midnight Oil". They were VERY environmentalist, using their music (which had a great sound, if somewhat heavy metal) to sell kids on environmental issues, and to protest the government's lack of action. There were songs such as "Blue Sky Mine" (nice double meaning) which referred to how some companies will try to pillage and market anything, even the blue sky we value. One song still played a lot has the line, "How can we sleep while our beds are burning?" I think they sang it for the Closing Ceremony for the Sydney 2000 Olympics. They were the ones wearing black shirts saying "Sorry" - a big potshot at our current Fearless Leader.
    The lead singer of Midnight Oil, Peter Garrett, formed his own political party 20 years ago called the Nuclear Disarmament Party. It eventually faded into the background, handing its banner on to the Greens who now seem to be the third main political party in Australian politics. Peter Garrett recently joined the Labor Party (like your Democrats) and is their spokesman on environment. A big, bald, gangly white guy with an angular grooved face, like a clean-shaven, t-shirt-wearing Abe Lincoln. And he can't dance for nuts.

    So letting your kids listen to what they want, and you listening to it with them, as much as you can stand, opens up doors for discussion on the very issues kids tend to avoid with their parents. It's a different phase of parenting, when you continue to lead them by encouraging them to think, especially about moral issues. It's also good to get to know what THEY feel, it can give you advance warning of any problems.

    Marg
     
  5. Janna

    Janna New Member

    Eminem's music is offensive. I don't know about the new stuff, but my oldest, B, he was into him for a while in 2002/2003, maybe even 2004.

    You couldn't buy his CD at Wal Mart. This is how I judge on what my kids can listen to. If you can't get it clean, the answer is no.

    Now, I understand your tolerance for some vulgarity, as I have given B some slack in that department. However, some rap is fine, and some is just not. Eminem, here, is not allowed.

    Chris, I download all the music off the internet. I have a couple of freebie sites (PM me if you'd like them) and a couple of pay ones that we use to download to the MP3 players. In all honesty, for $10 for a batch of CD's, I can find clean versions online, download, listen myself first, then burn the CD's for the kids myself.

    My easy child, who is only 9, who obviously looks up to his big brother (you may have this problem also, gotta think about that) wanted some rap now, too. So, I got him an Akon song, couple of others. If you'd like a list of low vulgarity, clean, good rap, again, PM me, and I can have B give you some more ideas.

    I still never, ever let my kids listen to that stuff without prior approval and me listening to it first.
     
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Janna, I think that is a good approach. If we, as parents, listen to what our kids want to listen to, it means we have a much better idea of what's going on in their heads.

    Buying music online can also be a good way to monitor what they listen to.

    I've had to play a certain amount of catch-up, because my older kids are now adults and go get their own music. When they play it on ear phones, I have no idea what they have, so I have to ask to listen too. If they are playing it on speakers and I don't like what I hear, I ask them to not play it aloud. I don't want difficult child 3 to hear it, nor do I want the neighbours offended. Generally, though, we haven't got problems, because my lot aren't into rap or hip-hop. They're more into what I call "bubble-gum music" common to animé.

    Our Saturday morning video clip TV shows will censor anything not fit for children and it's those shows where I saw the more recent Eminem stuff. Language gets bleeped - I think some of the clips arrive in Australia pre-bleeped, because we have different standards - and some clips get deleted completely (just a short text to indicate a missing place in the countdown).

    husband & I keep a close eye on the weekend countdown shows, to stay in touch. Meanwhile, the kids are sleeping in!

    Marg
     
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I had younger kids so when my now 23 year old ex-difficult child wanted to bring rap into the house, I said a big NO. I didn't want to hear it either. I knew she could hear it outside the house, but I didn't want it in my house. I told her I didn't approve of his message (ahem). I can't stop my kids from hearing it, but I can keep it outside and let them know that *I* don't like it. Not sure if it does any good, but that's what I do with rap.
     
  8. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Neither of my kids like rap. But I tell you some of the songs/titles/lyrics and even the band names are terrifying. When I hear what he is listening to, it opens the door to a big discussion. We talk about all of it. It is a good talk. Nobody even gets upset.
    easy child has a good friend in a band. He plays at many places for "all ages concert". Meaning, alcohol and smoke free. easy child takes difficult child to his concerts.
    When difficult child would ask for a certain CD, if it had bad language, we would go to the music store and order a sensored version. Being that easy child is so much older and was buying his own cd's when difficult child was only 4 or 5 years old, we got into the habit of ordering a sensored version for difficult child if he really liked the music. Now..they just download it onto their ipods.
     
  9. lynnp

    lynnp New Member

    I love the idea of only letting tham have explicit versions unless you get to talk about it. So far we only let my son (12) download clean versions and he doesn't do a lot of that because we have dial up. Commonsensemedia.org is a great website that reviews all types of media. I use it a lot!
     
  10. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I only allowed the parental versions in my home and car!

    Pretty tough when dad listened to it all with difficult child!
     
  11. guest3

    guest3 Guest

    my difficult child I. really did not start going completely down hill until he started getting into rap and the whole "ghetto" scene. He is a "wanna be eminem" and has a hard time making friends. I have always believed in allowing freedom in dress style as what you were does not define you, I am thinking now that was a mistake. He gets picked on by non ghetto kids and ghetto kids, because... we do not live in the ghetto. I only allowed christian rap, just in the past year has he became more agressive about listening to other non christian rap. And he aspires to leave home and live in a city and earn money to live on by "rap battling". I am VERY frustated by this whole "mentality" and "culture" as it seems nothing good will be coming from it, he just failed 9th grade and next year, if I can get him to go to school at all, does not look too promising.
     
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Good point, Janav. It's good to keep in mind whether your kid will want to immerse himself or herself in the culture. I hated Eminem. Moreso because his voice was so nasal and awful. I have never been appreciative of people who try to shock and upset parents. Madonna makes me want to hurl with her children's books. She spent 20 years trying to incite division between kids and their parents and profiting out the ying yang for it. Now she wants us to buy her book for our grandchildren. When pigs fly!
     
  13. EB67

    EB67 New Member

    This is a tough one. I think kids form their identities in part by the music they define themselves with and I can see how you might want to avoid this type of identification. On the other hand, the more you try to thwart it, the more he'll covet the music, so I suggest that you let him hear it and hopefully his interest will run it's course.

    My Seb, by the way, came home from camp today and proudly announced that he performed an original rap at the (nature) camp talent show. I became frightened, as Seb shows signs of being enamoured with that culture already at 7. I asked what the rap was and he explained that it was a rap about invasive and native plants. Whew. Nature geek rap.

    On the flip side, there is a fascination with foul language. Seb logged onto my itunes and made a playlist with all the songs that had an "explicit" flag. So now that I've shown him that I am not Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm, how can I ask him to be John Boy? This was a lesson learned and one that can't be undone.
     
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I've found that information can undermine the attractive value of anything smutty. If I explain what a term means, or explain the background to something, it loses its appeal quite often. For example, when difficult child 1 was getting into porn I sat with him and Googled "dead porn stars" and we read it together, reading all the moral bits about WHY there is such a high death rate, the whole culture of it and how a female porn star has to fight to keep earning for more than a few months, after which she's often on the scrap heap and what job can she get NOW... while a lot of the blokes have their own problems. Looking behind the scenes - it takes out any hint of glamour, so next time he's looking at a porn photo, he'll 'see' the jaded make-up staff with their bottles of goo and colour, the wardrobe people standing around, the cameramen moving in for close-up, The lighting people holding up several of those foil umbrellas and reflectors, the sound guys stopping the action to minutely manipulate a mike here or there, and then the director instructing his actors - "Now, just act naturally."

    With words to songs - I told my kids that it's easy to rhyme with the standard four-letter words. What takes REAL talent is when they have to rhyme with words of more substance and less over-use.
    But we can't be too silly about it - when we know they are using certain words at school anyway, and if WE use those words ourselves, to ban things containing those words is a bit of a double standard. Of course, if for any one of a number of reasons you have managed to keep your home a swear-free zone, then by all means continue to do so. You have managed to create consistency and it's important to continue it.

    It's especially difficult when it's your eldest who is just reaching those tricky teen years and you've not been trough it already. I have a family member who is very strict with his daughters and when "Spice World" came out and his elder daughter (aged 13 at the time) wanted to watch it at a friend's house, he wouldn't let her visit because it was immoral - "one of the band members is pregnant, and she's not married."
    The girl was attending a convent school and ironically, the nuns had shown the girls the film at school, in music class.
    So what did the girl do? Went behind her father's back, of course. She figured that if the nuns at school had no problem with it, why should her father?

    We often have to walk an uneasy tightrope with our kids' movement into adolescence. I find if I familiarise myself with what they're doing, it gives me some warning if there is a problem looming.

    Marg
     
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I was a rock and roll teen in the 50's and my parents, having
    already raised three, didn't go nuts like the parents who decided to ban Elvis because he moved his hips etc. Out of our
    six kids only one had far out music interests and he loved Bob
    Marley and the Rastafarians. Obviously, he also was into joints
    and avoiding reality. by the way, just like the others, he joined adult
    society eventually and is sober and productive. With easy child/difficult child he
    loved rap and hip/hop before most people knew it existed. He
    still does. I have learned to really like it too BUT I do not
    listen to four letter words. On the radio they are cleaned up.
    In the car and at home he cuts out the vularity when I am there.

    The music issue is directly tied in to the peer group your kid
    is part of..or wants to be part of. If you surround them with
    church activities and Christian Rock, chances are they will adapt
    as their social life consists of those teens. If you have a child in the band, for example, they will likely hang out with band kids. difficult children often are either drawn to the difficult child crowd or they
    are loners. It makes a big difference where they are socially.

    I wish you good luck in making the right choices for your family.
    Thinking about it in advance is the wise option. DDD
     
  16. easy child isn't asking to buy music yet and, of course, difficult child doesn't have a clue. But, I think what we do with video games, computer games/sites, and movies is pretty much what we'll do with music. Basically, someone (usually husband) previews the material and we decide if we want it in the house. There are only a few things that we will not allow in the house at all. We will tell the cubs exactly why we will not allow something in the house if they care enough to ask. The Internet is a wonderful thing because you can download so much information and have it right in front of you to discuss with your cubs. I remember that things I thought were so cool and acceptable somehow seemed different if I had to talk about them with my Mom.
     
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't know if "the more you ban, the more they want" is true. It's individual. I never was silly enough to tell my daughter she can't listen to rap outside of the house because I knew I couldn't stop that. Her choices at the time, however, were HORRIBLE and I didn't want to let her think I approved of the garbage spewed by people like Eminem. She did have a poster of him on her room because she thought he was "cute." At least I didn't have to hear Emenem in my house and the little ones didn't hear it. I really believe that music is just the tip of the iceberg when a kid is having serious problems. PCs won't take the lyrics seriously and difficult children are attracted to the anger because THEY feel anger. Thankfully my 14 year old on the Autism Spectrum has nil interest in music. My daughter who is 11 listens to music all the time. But her tastes are very mellow. It will be interesting to see what happens as she gets older. She is very social and I have no idea how this will play out.
     
  18. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Thanks all for the responses. You have given me some things to think about. I can see that negotiating adolescence is going to be tricky. difficult child 1 has always been attracted to the explosive side of things (fireworks, dynamite, etc. It seems like he always wants to push the limits, but he is also anxious, very cautious, and somewhat of a loner type. Despite his avowed interests, he is definitely not a thrill seeker like his brother. He also has no ear for music at all, lol. He is a very verbal child, wonder if that is part of why rap appeals to him.

    Anyway, I am more leaning towards the, if I don't make a big deal out of banning it maybe it won't have quite the power. I don't think he is attracted to the rap culture, or even all rap music. I really like the idea of looking at the lyrics first, so we have started to do it for the one CD he wants. (Appreciate the website link] Actually the few songs I have read are not so bad.
    And at any rate he has to mow the lawn to earn the money to buy the CD so it may take a while.
    Still thinking about it all...

    thanks.
     
  19. Arttillygirl

    Arttillygirl New Member

    My advice is stay away from it while you still can.
    My son has major depression and o/c tendancies and it all began AFTER his involvement with Rap. He never does anything halfway and now is making the filth.
    We compromised on editing his versions but I really feel like I don't know him anymore. He likes vile lyrics and as I posted yesterday, is planning on having casual sex with a girl who's just like him.
    If I had it to do over I wouldn't have allowed it into my house.
    Some kids can maybe put it into context but my son couldn't and now identifies completely with it all.
     
  20. weaselqt

    weaselqt New Member

    I personally do not care for rap either - but I have heard Eminem's new stuff and appreciate what he is trying to say. The song about his girls seems as if he has realized his past mistakes and wants them to know that he is therer for them now - and how he cannot change the past - that is my take.

    But why does everyone pick only on rap? Last year at our elementary school talent show tryout - we had several little girls sing "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood (country) - okay - I like the song, I'm 35 years old - but it was kind of a bit eerie hearing a 7 year old belt out "Right now, he's probably slow dancin' with a bleach blonde tramp and she's probly gettin' frisky" etc., etc.

    A lot of music today is so bad - country, love songs, rock, rap, hip hop, etc. I am open to many genres of music and can appreciate a good message - but I do prefer rock (metallica) and my music I choose hasn't corrupted me.

    My children are like me - they like many genres - even oldies - but I feel that since I am raising them to know good from bad (not saying they always listen - haha) that my children make good decisions about their music and it has not affected them in any bad way

    My difficult child has a CD mix of country, rap, hard rock, rock, hip hop, and last, but not least, a few songs from Phantom of the Opera and some musicals!!! Go figure - easy child daughter does too!!

    Hope this helps.
     
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