You Don’t Have To Like It, But You Should Try

It had been a long day. He was tired. He just wanted his teenage step-daughter Tegan, from the indie pop duo Tegan and Sara, to stop blasting the same album over and over. Besides, he hated Nirvana, which was just then about the biggest band in the world. So he told her to turn it off. He told her the music was driving him insane.

He was well within his rights…up until the point that he made a joke about Kurt Cobain’s sexuality. He should have known better. As Tegan explains in her fascinating book, High School (a must read for any parent with artistic children), she was just then coming to terms with her own identity. She went ballistic at her father. She was inconsolable. It was clearly not about the music at all.

Finally, after many apologies, her dad was able to talk to her. She played Nirvana’s Unplugged album for him. A fan of David Bowie, he was surprised by their cover of ​“The Man Who Sold the World.”​

“You’re right, they are good,” he told her. “Leave that CD here, I’m going to make a copy to play in my truck.”

Look, you don’t have to like what your kids like. But you should try. You should try to find what you can like about it. Most of all, you should try to think about why they like it. What’s it doing for them? Your son is into heavy metal because it’s an outlet for his frustrations, because it’s a community he feels accepted by. Your daughter likes this teen idol because her friends do. They like rap because it’s a whole culture, a lifestyle that they can express themselves through. You don’t have to understand but you can appreciate it.

You don’t have to yuck someone else’s yum. Especially your kids.

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