Strengthening Family Ties Through Music


Are you the kind of parent who wants to spend long family drives? And sometimes you notice that your teens aren’t in the moment with you because they’re so wrapped up with listening to their music with their earphones. Perhaps in your next trip, you might want to ask them to unplug those earphones and let everyone enjoy listening to their music on the car radio. This tip, per a study done from the University of Arizona, could strengthen your relationship with your children and the rest of the family as well.

Research Reveals…

According to researchers, kids and teens alike that listen to music with their parents in their childhood to adolescent years have better bonds with their dads and moms when they go into adulthood.

Jake Harwood, Director of the Department of Communication, says, “If you and your kids play and listen to music together, this helps you get closer to them, and this extends until later in life.” He suggests that if you can get your teens to listen to music with you or share your favorite hits, this has a very positive impact on your parent-child relationship. It supports what Kimberly Hackett, LMHC used to say, “The parent/child connection is our most precious and enduring relationship.”

A group of researchers did a study on some adolescents about 21 years old. These young adults were asked to recall how often they would engage with their parents in activities such as playing instruments and listening to music together. Most of them remembered that they had great memories with their parents between the ages of 8 and 14 onwards. “Listening to music is a helpful way to cope with and process emotions. It can evoke a connection to what individuals feel at different moments in their lives.” Abigail Saneholtz, Psy.D added.

Those who gave wonderful remarks about their musical experiences perceived their relationship with their parents as very good that they felt close to their mom and dad. This became even more pronounced when they reached adulthood.


This is particularly important when children reach the teenage stage because playing music with the family is not one of the most common activities that they usually do. So if your kids share this activity with you when they’re teenagers, then two pats on the back for you.


Music As A Powerful Influence In Society

Apart from families, music has shown to have a positive impact not only on parent-child relationships but also among the members of society as well. In 2013, music psychologists confirmed that music improves one’s ability to connect. That is why we feel more alive and excited or emotional when we sing together as in a concert or bar with a live band.

Music affects the areas of the brain that are involved in empathy, coordination, and cooperation, which is why it is considered to be a social magnet. If you think about it, there is a big difference when you listen to music in the shower or listening to it with other people. It creates a social bond and establishes a bond between you and the others.

The factor of coordination is seen when you and others, or children and parents, play music or sing along to a favorite song. Data reveals that performing these synchronized activities results in the two parties liking one another more and more.


Empathy, on the other hand, is evoked through emotional music or lyrics having profound meaning. When someone sings a sad song to you, you begin to feel that the person who is singing is sad too and you want to reach out to him or her. When parents sing to their kids, the kids tend to develop more love and compassion towards their parents.

Both empathy and coordination play a significant role in strengthening relationships, although coordination seems to have more influence based on data and observation.


Note To Parents

“Research shows the benefits of music therapy for various mental health conditions, including depression, trauma, and schizophrenia(to name a few).” Molly Warren, MM, LPMT, MT-BC said. Therefore, it is vital for parents to remember that musical activities with their kids need not be complex or difficult. They can do as simple as listening to music together in the car on the way home from school. In fact, according to studies, spontaneous activities like this appears to have more impact on people as compared to formal musical events like concerts or listening to someone singing on stage.

It is recommended that families increase their sing-alongs and interactions together, especially when the kids go into their teenage years. If they’re getting less interested, let them choose the radio channel or let them play music from their playlist once in a while – and you must learn to love it!


Note To Future Parents

For those who are about to become parents or have babies as of now, it would be wise to think long term about how to establish strong bonds with their future kids. It may not be in the standard list of prescriptions for a perfect parent-child relationship, but if you’re a committed parent who wants to build a strong bond with her children until adulthood, you will want to try this. Who knows, this might be your way to happier, easier parenting.