Study Finds Parents Who Listen To Music With Their Kids Form A Stronger Bond

"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."

Looking for a way to better bond with your kids? You might want to turn up the music. Children and teens who listen to and play music with their parents report having better relationships with their parents, according to a new study. 

The research, published in the Journal of Family Communicationshows shared musical experiences at all age levels are associated with better perceptions of parent-child relationships, but is most effective for teens. 

"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," Jake Harwood, co-author of the study, said in a statement. "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."

Researchers surveyed a group of 157 young adults about how often they listened to music with their parents as children as well as how frequently they engaged in musical activities together, such as playing instruments or attending concerts. Participants reported memories from age 8 onward and revealed how they perceive their relationship with their parents now. Music seems to have a positive effect. 

"Synchronization, or coordination, is something that happens when people play music together or listen to music together," Harwood said. "If you play music with your parent or listen to music with your parents, you might do synchronized activities like dancing or singing together, and data shows that that causes you to like one another more." 

Empathy may also play an important role. "A lot of recent research has focused on how emotions can be evoked through music, and how that can perpetuate empathy and empathic responses toward your listening partner," Harwood added. 

So, turn the radio on next time you're in the car together. Or dance around the living room to a song your kid loves. Or take things a step even further and play some instruments together or buy tickets to a show. You'll get to both strengthen your bond and make some wonderful memories. 

Cover image via Goran Bogicevic / 


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