Teenagers, Poetry, and Explicit Language
Should a teen be allowed to view and/or listen to explicit music, poetry, books, or should parents shield them from this? Different types of poetry and music convey subject matter that may be very mature, and perhaps not something that a teen may often come across or speak about in their own circles.
For example, the book, Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, its subject matter is extremly heavy; perhaps, the content may not be good for them and their well-being? Or is it good because a lot of these teens can relate to the words being written? This particular book of poems speaks about rape, absent fathers, the confusion of love, being used, and many more serious subject matters. Some parents may find this to be too graphic, not wanting their teens to be exposed to the seriousness of the content; however, there may be other parents who understand that it may be a way for them to relate and a form of self-expression.
A huge part of being a teenager is feeling as if they are all alone with their experiences and that they are the only person who is going through something (ex. rape or an unstable family home). Teenagers shouldn’t have to feel alone with these experiences, and it’s not healthy.
Subsequently, it is healthy to realize that others are experiencing the same situations, feelings, thoughts, experiences and poems like these and it may console them like a comforting friend. Such as someone similar to them who has experienced similar events. How did they react? How were they able to pull themselves through the rough time? How did they seek help and healing?
While the content is serious, it is also real. These poems, songs, and /or lyrics are another persons’ real-life stories and their lived experiences. It is also reality that teenagers today go through these same kinds of experiences. Perhaps, shielding your teenager, who may be hurting from something they’ve gone through and not feeling comfortable talking to an adult about it; may be making them feel even more alone.
Some parents may think that by guarding their children and teenagers, from unpleasant things in the world, will make the unpleasant experience not real, but this is not true.
The adolescent years are full of expression, knowledge, confusion, and finding out who they are and who they want to be. The beauty of being able to relate to life through art — poetry, music, and reading, in ways, allows them to choose what is best for them, based on their own lives. This is an important aspect of their developmental stage and helping them to navigate through tough times and life.