As a self diagnosed music addict I was thrilled when my 10 year old son asked for an iPod. I had visions of him browsing my 5,000 or so CD’s and asking me to fill his 8gig Nano with all manner of excellent music. From Jazz to Blues to bizarre Scandinavian Folk Music and of course the music I grew up with Heavy Metal. but then I started second guessing myself. He’s 10 and I didn’t start listening to Metal until I was 13 or so; it’s only three years you say, but those are some pretty important and formative years.
The first thing you do when you really sit down to start loading songs is run through lyrics in your head. This is generally a bad idea because you suddenly realize that you take most song lyrics for granted and you start to hear them through his 10 year old ears. Now I’m no Tipper Gore and I firmly believe as Frank Zappa does that there is no word nor any sound that the human voice can make that will send you to the lake of fire down below, but I did wince more than once during this process. Sometimes it’s a seemingly innocent sounding phrase that may require a parental explanation. “Daddy what’s a ‘one-night-stand’?” If you don’t want to have that conversation that I suggest you skip that song. In reality you should be glad that your kids come to you with their question so see this as a learning opportunity.
My bottom line advice is simple. Let your kids listen to whatever they want, but pay attention to not only what they listen to but also to how it affects them. We let our kids watch R rated movies at home (*gasp*) with the warning that should any of the nastier words start appearing in their daily vocabulary then the will lose this particular privilege. So far so good. Most of the bad language they pick up is from their parents anyway.