The Rage in Concerts

Should your daughter be allowed to attend a rock concert? This is one of those milestones that often provoke intense feelings—and controversy in families. Besides assessing your daughter’s own maturity and judgment, it is necessary today to look at the bigger picture. That is because the atmosphere created by the performing band is crucial.

In a disturbing trend, the music of hard-core “boy bands” is brimming with anger, vulgarity, and testosterone-driven misogyny. Instead of channeling anger into positive or constructive causes, some current music celebrates rage for its own sake. In an environment that glorifies and even encourages sexism and violence, will your daughter be safe? At some concerts in the not-too-distant past, performances provoked a chaotic frenzy of wanton destruction, fiery riots, and alleged rapes among fans.

Be aware of the core messages of the groups your daughter wishes to see. If you are not familiar with their music, ask to listen to them. Investigate whether the lyrics are benign, or whether they reflect groups with angry, hateful songs that denigrate women. Some songs even involve beatings and rape! While portrayal of such violence distorts impressionable teens’ expectations about conflict and male-female relationships, the more immediate risk is incited aggression at concerts.

The more information you can get, the better. Several states have proposed laws to require ratings for concerts, similar to those of television and movies. Talk with your daughter about what she likes about certain groups. What does she learn from her favorite music? Listen yourself to discover the tone and mood of the group’s songs. Find out more about them on-line. Visit your local music store; clerks are usually knowledgeable and glad to describe popular groups. Look for parental warning labels on CDs.

Until minors are prevented from attending inappropriate concerts without accompanying parents, your comfort level will be the deciding factor. One option is to limit her exposure to the most extreme raging groups and their music. Another option is to insist on chaperoning your daughter and her friends at these events. Buy seats a few rows behind her to keep an eye on her. Beforehand, agree on rules such as never going to the restroom alone or accepting food or drinks from anyone.

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