I’ve joined Huffington Post as a contributor. My first piece was published yesterday (yay)! Check it out:
Why Teens Need Their Music, Part I: 4 Secrets for Parents, Backed By Research
What happens between a teenager’s headphones? Today’s kids aren’t listening to the bands you liked at their age — you already know that.
Young people tend to use music as a way of defining and sharing their sense of self, identity, or “personal brand.”
So why is music important to teens? It turns out that there is a connection between how the brain develops during adolescence and how young people hear music. Overrun by emotions and a prefrontal cortex demanding instant gratification, many young people seek advice from peers instead of parents when faced with difficult decisions. They aren’t doing this to make you mad; they’re searching for their identity. They have to question your values, even when they agree with them. Why? They’re facing pressures you never did: exorbitant college tuition costs, the demand for an elusively “perfect” social media presence, and the unrealistic idea that a student can and should do well in every subject. Looming over them is the worry that after graduation, when faced with adulthood, there won’t be many jobs available.
Roughly 20 percent of teens aged 13-18 years old experience severe mental disorders in a given year.
According to a 2011 Social Policy Report by the Society for Research in Child Development, over 1 million American youth end up in juvenile court every year.
The answer to these concerns may lie between your teen’s headphones. Let’s look at the four secrets of why teenagers need their music, and how music therapy might help.