– EN Fitness & Wellbeing – Children who grow up listening to music with their parents have better relationships later on, researchers claim.
Academics at the University of Arizona have surveyed a group of young adults, all aged around 21, and asked them about the frequency of which they engaged with their parents as children, in activities such as listening to music, attending concerts or playing musical instruments together. They also commented on how they perceive their relationship with their parents now.
While shared musical experiences at all age levels were associated with better perceptions of parent-child relationship quality in young adulthood, the effect was most pronounced when these activities occurred during adolescence.
“If you have little kids, and you play music with them, that helps you be closer to them, and later in life will make you closer to them,” said study co-author Dr. Jake Harwood. “If you have teenagers and you can successfully listen to music together or share musical experiences with them, that has an even stronger effect on your future relationship and the child’s perception of the relationship in emerging adulthood.”
For the study, Dr. Harwood and lead author Sandi Wallace, took account of the other ways children spent time with their parents growing up, and were able to connect music’s seemingly unique effect to coordination, and the link to more activities such as dancing or singing together.
The researchers are now urging parents to increase musical interactions with their kids – especially teens – and even empower them to control the radio dial every now and then.
“For people who are just becoming parents or have small children, they may be thinking long term about what they want their relationship with their kids to be,” Wallace shared. “It’s not to say that this is going to be the prescription for a perfect relationship, but any parent wants to find ways to improve their relationship with their child and make sure that it’s maintained long term, and this may be one way it can be done.”
Full study results have been published in the Journal of Family Communication.