Parents who want to work on making their relationship with their kids better in the future might want to turn up the car radio to something the whole family will enjoy. A new study from the University of Arizona found young men and women who share musical experiences with their parents during childhood - especially during adolescence - report having better relationships with their parents as they get older.
Researchers surveyed a group of young adults with an average age of 21 about how much they listen to music with their moms and dads as kids, how often they went to concerts together, or played musical instruments together. They found that shared musical experiences at all age levels were linked to better perceptions about relationships with their parents as young adults, but the biggest impact was from the experiences that happened during teenage years.
"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," explains study co-author Jake Harwood, professor and head of the UA Department of Communication. "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."
So next time you’re on a family road trip and your teens are riding in isolation with their earbuds in place, try to get them to unplug and then play something everyone will like. Of course, that part may be hard, so be prepared for the eyerolls.