Bond with your daughter over songs
My daughter is no longer a teenager and I really do miss the rollercoaster feeling of having a teenager at home, but we established a tradition of singing together in the car early on in those teenage years that still endures today.
We don’t have a great deal in common when it comes to musical taste (I haven’t heard of many of the artists on her Spotify playlists) but there are definitely songs that would be featured on both our Desert Island Discs programmes – anything by Abba and Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ spring to mind… We have always talked about musical taste (mine is officially terrible) and these occasions are moments of ‘soft bonding’ that are, in fact, really powerful – really useful as a temperature check to see how she is feeling about life, but without pushing too hard.
Musical interactions with our children are used by psychiatric teams who work with adolescents that struggle with mental health issues to help them build resilience. It is not uncommon for teenagers to feel overwhelmed or to experience anxiety and songs are incredibly useful in changing how we feel.
A study by the University of Arizona found that when teenagers listen to music with their parents, it helps them to improve their relationship in the long term and brings them closer to parents at a time when they seem to become distant. My daughter uses music to help her revise during exam times, taking a break from revision to listen to some powerful and uplifting lyrics can help make you feel brave enough to tackle the next subject when you are flagging and every now and then we sit down to create a joint playlist – and that really is quality time spent together.