Voice of My Generation: Seriously, What’s With Pushing Your Pop Culture Taste on Your Kids?

It’s a trend I’ve noticed a lot of over the past few years, GenX parents taking extreme pride in the way they have indoctrinated their children with their pop culture proclivities. I see it a lot with dads and Star Wars, but more so with moms, dads, and music.

GenX is really pumped about their offspring having the exact same musical taste they do. I guess they really do want Mini-Mes walking around in their shadow. Or at least this is how it seems according to what I glean from social media. It puzzles the hell out of me. Why? Why would you do this to your kids?

Is this something all parents do regardless of generation and I just happened to have parents who gave zero shit about music and movies and TV? Is it like a class thing? Being lower-middle class often dancing with poverty meant there just wasn’t the time or inclination to care about such frivolity?

Growing up I often begged my parents to tell me about what they liked as kids. I quizzed my mom incessantly about The Beatles and Elvis, neither of which she particularly care for. She was Glen Campbell kind of woman, at least for a little while.

I don’t remember any of my friends having parents who foisted music or movies on them either, but maybe we lived in some weird pocket of pop cultural wasteland. It was Blaine, after all.

Yet all the time I see parents of my generation bragging all over social media about how much their children love the exact same bands they do. I wonder what the point is. Are they hoping someone will congratulate them on their exquisite taste while simultaneously awarding them parent of the year for passing on that exquisite taste in the exact same thing to their children?

Maybe if I’m not being such a jaded cynic, it’s just as simple as sharing something you love with your child. I can dig that, but often the bragging seems to be very band specific, which just makes me think there is some sort of braggery agenda going on that I don’t quite understand. Maybe it’s a quest to be hippest parent with the kid deemed “coolest” because that kid is just like you? Or because the kid likes the same stuff your friends do?

Really, please explain this. I don’t get it.

It’s easy to judge, considering I have no children. However, I have a niece and nephews and it is fun as hell to learn what they love and have discovered all on their own, especially as they get older and grow out from under their GenX parents’ taste. It’s also fun to challenge them on what they like and hearing them explain why.

I dunno. It weirds me out that it seems so many of my contemporaries are keen on raising teeny little parrots who spout back the exact same ideas they have without any sort of critical thinking. Or at lest bragging about how much their kids taste matches their own. Stop it, weirdos.

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10 Comments

  1. Megan 27.Apr.15 at 9:35 pm

    I cant remember my mom ever talking about music growing up, but my dad sure did. Theres a reason that I can sing along to every song on the oldies station and know all of the lite-rock favorites from the early 90s. Riding in the car meant a trivia game where I could earn a nickel by naming the correct title and artist. But then again, my dad worked at the town radio station all through high school and college so maybe my experience wasnt typical either.

    Reply
    1. Jodi 28.Apr.15 at 8:51 am

      Megan, I don’t think that is typical, but it’s super rad nonetheless.

      Reply
  2. Jill 27.Apr.15 at 9:55 pm

    NAILED IT. This weird trend (?) bothers me way more than it should.

    Reply
    1. Jodi 28.Apr.15 at 8:52 am

      Me too, because I don’t ever know what to say in response. “Way to go. I’m super pumped your indoctrination is successful!” You know?

      Reply
  3. Donna Trump 28.Apr.15 at 6:39 am

    Well, we’re Boomers and not Gen Xers, but we had a lot of music in our house, lots of varieties (classical, country, rock, folk). Now our son brings music he’s discovered to us. Kids aren’t depositories of our tastes. It’s a parenting mistake (only one example of which is music) that I fear goes deeper.

    Reply
    1. Jodi 28.Apr.15 at 8:53 am

      I wonder if it’s a side-effect of helicopter parenting? To be fair, I don’t follow a lot of parenting stuff because it doesn’t really apply to me. This is just a weird trend I noticed on Facebook & Twitter.

      Reply
  4. Rich 28.Apr.15 at 9:45 am

    Woo, am I glad to be an exception to this trend. My stepson has never had any interest in my rock/pop collection. He grew up on whatever his mom’s car stereo was tuned to, and as an older teen appears to like only yell-y rock by artists I don’t recognize — bands that sound like Foo Fighters, minus the hooks and the charm.

    I did once try to explain 50 years of pop music to him, broadly. Beatles/Elvis, Woodstock, disco, classic rock, new wave, grunge, etc. His response, “Whatever, it’s all dumb hippie music.” (His mom occasionally shops at the grocery co-op; somehow he picked up the politics involved and is now opposed to all things “hippie.” …For his own bizarre definition of the word, anyway.)

    “It’s all hippie music, huh. Madonna?” “Hippie.”
    “Springsteen?” “Hippie.”
    “INXS?” “Hippie. Never heard of it.”
    “This literally BRAND NEW They Might Be Giants album?” “Hippies.”
    “U2? That album that went on your phone last year?” “Hippies. Deleted.”

    Is utter ignorance worse than the trend you describe?!

    Reply
    1. Jodi 28.Apr.15 at 9:47 am

      I dunno, I think utter ignorance and total rejection of every thing your (step)parents like is perfectly normal for a teenager. He’ll come around and some day you’ll get the smug satisfaction of saying “I told you so” when he discovers the magic of Springsteen or Madonna.

      Reply
  5. Lori 28.Apr.15 at 8:58 pm

    I have an 8 year old with typical 2nd grade taste, so when she appreciates the Avett Bros. and belts out January Wedding, I feel a little validated — like her musical taste is more evolved than just Katie Perry. I don’t consciously try to indoctrinate her, but it’s cool to bond over music.

    Reply
  6. Michael Roeder 15.Nov.15 at 2:06 pm

    (Came here from Poop Emoji content)

    This is an interesting observation. I’ve seen this as well with some people whose opinions I hold with high regard. I didn’t notice this as being creepy until you pointed it out. It caused me to take a look at my own influences.

    My taste in music today is very directly influenced by my father’s taste in music. I grew up in a house that had music playing all the time. My dad didn’t have any big hobbies and he wasn’t into sports, so he was either working or at home with music on. At 72 years old, he is still listening to new music– maybe not at the volume (meaning mass, though he can rock out, too) that I do, but he knows who Nathaniel Rateliff is– admittedly he’s in the Americana wheelhouse that my dad spends most of his time, but still pretty impressive, I think. These days, he takes my input on music, too, so I’ve been able to give back over the years.

    So, when my daughter came into my life, I really wanted her to have the experience I did– meaning having music playing all the time and a lively discourse of the topic. To that end I think I partially achieved my goal. She doesn’t listen to all the music I do, and she has her own taste in music that is pretty good and diverse (she took to Tom Waits way more than I ever did).

    But, I didn’t force feed her my 90’s catalog– which might be what is going on with a lot of people. Nirvana definately opened my mind up to some stuff, but it’s time to close that casket folks, srsly. She has an appreciation for the Beatles that she developed on her own. But due to the nature of how she consumes music (very skattered and centered on YouTube) she doesn’t digest a catalog the way I did and still do. But, she doesn’t care to and I certainly wouldn’t push her that way.

    My hope was always that she’d at least develop a deep interest in music and continue to find her path in that regard. I honestly don’t know to what extent that she did that, and I blame Dr. Who (#kidding #kindanot). She is a very talented musician and singer, so I’m proud of that.

    In December she is having her first child (a boy, we found out), and I as I consider what my role as Grandpa is, I know for certain it will be to ingrain the love of music that I’ve always had. If he wants to know about R.E.M. or The Beatles, I see that it’s my job to make sure he understands them in the context of whatever music he’s listening to.

    I’m also going to buy him his first Stratocaster.

    Reply

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