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My husband and I have been together for 15 years and have always considered our relationship to be a healthy one. But parenthood has taken its toll and we cannot seem to agree on a number of parenting differences when it comes to our 7 month old daughter. For one, my husband seems to think there is nothing at all wrong with listing to vulgar/violent rap music at somewhat high volumes when he is driving in the car with our daughter. (I admit I like Eminem myself but refrain from listening to it until I'm by myself.) We also disagree on a number of other related issues but the rap music issue seems to be the most obvious and logical of the issues and yet nothing I say can convince him otherwise. His response is that doing what he has always done is the best parenting style since she will encounter that type of music on her own in the world. My response is that he is should be her role model and instead of exposing her to that, we should be protecting her from it. She needs to build a solid foundation and learn right from wrong right now. What do you all think? Please help!!

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If he wants to take that approach, you can argue that she will encounter sex on her own, in the world, so you should watch porn with her. –  Noah Jun 16 '14 at 17:12
Are you concerned about rap music, or about vulgar and explicit language? The former is merely a genre of music. The latter is ultimately a personal call, though most parents would suggest that there are lots of things they'd rather not expose young children to. –  DA01 Jun 16 '14 at 17:19
DA01, I'm not concerned about the genre of music; I am definitely all for free speech and art, in general (not a book burner, for instance). I just think the content/subject matter is too much for such a young person. Thank you for your thoughts! –  CristenB Jun 16 '14 at 17:27
@CristenB I'd agree with you (and though I'm no expert on the genre, I've read and seen interviews with artists that tend to use graphic language in their music who would actually also's not kids music) –  DA01 Jun 16 '14 at 20:16
"Doing what he has always done" ... Parenting has to account for what your child needs and wants. He'd have a much stronger case if your daughter was requesting the music. –  Erica Dec 30 '14 at 18:43

5 Answers 5

Yes, it's okay. If it's any consolation, the subject matter doesn't register with your daughter -- yet!
But this will soon change, so you're right to address it ahead of that time.

Becoming parents means learning how to raise a well-rounded kid, but it also means learning which of your old habits to let go of -- at least for a couple of years. There are going to be compromises, and some are easier than others.

Try to understand what reasons and thoughts your spouse has about this issue. Where are his limits in regard to subject matter? (That comment about watching porn may be provocative, but it is meaningful because surely he will have some limits.) What kind of words would he not want his daughter to yell in the supermarket, or at Thanksgiving with the extended family?

Forget about even trying to convert him to your opinion before understand his point of view. You must understand him in order to present arguments that exist in his perception. Without that, your arguments will only be from your point of view, and futile.

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Even some of the MCs known for their notorious lyrics don't feel that they are suitable for children's ears.

To quote Willie D of the Ghetto Boys (censored a bit):

Interviewer: Well that’s strange to hear coming from the guy who wrote “Let a Hoe Be a Hoe.” Those songs were extremely explicit and you’re worried about the late night porn on the TV?

Willie D: No doubt, cuz I got kids. If it was just for me it wouldn’t be a problem. But just like you gotta let a hoe be a hoe, you gotta let a kid be a kid. Even though I make explicit music, that don’t mean that I should be sitting up in the house writing my song and my daughter come in the room and I say “Hey, tell me what this sound like – I f****d the b**** in her a** and then I…” You know what I’m sayin’? That don’t mean that my kids need to be hearing that s***. See what’s happening today is the parents today, they lazy. They don’t want to take no motherf*****’ responsibility.

An opposing viewpoint comes from Ice Cube.

LUSCOMBE: When did you introduce your music to your kids?

ICE CUBE: As young as they can sit in the car and roll with me. If I’m listening to my demo, they listening to my demo.

LUSCOMBE: Okay, so that’s my kids, too, and now my kids have terrible language. Do your kids have terrible language?

ICE CUBE: Sometimes! [Smiling] But you know all kids got crazy language. They talk a different language. As long as they can get it together when it’s time, I’m fine with that.

LUSCOMBE: So you are fine with whatever they want to say in the house, you don’t say –

ICE CUBE: Ah, no, no -- no, no. No bad language in the house. My thing is, I know kids cuss, they do their thing, but I tell my kids don’t do it in earshot of any adults or you’re in trouble.

To answer your specific question of "is it OK?" I think the answer is highly dependent on the parenting you and your husband are providing. Though two of the most famous gangster rap artists differ on opinion a bit, it appears they are both highly involved parents and, ultimately, that is probably all that matters. :)

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Honestly at this point the volume is more worrying than the content.

They will be listening, and she will be storing words (or rather sounds) away, but without lots of repetition and a lot more development she will not be at the point that they can repeat them... Give them a year.

Even then, she will not have a grasp on what you are actually saying, she does not have experiences that line up with those words.

Much after that you run the risk of her repeating where someone else can hear, which is passing embarrassing. And once she starts socializing with other children you have to assume she will learn what the words mean in short order!

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Rather than sheltering our children, we teach them right from wrong. We foster their intelligence so that they learn to trust and respect us, and make better choices. Our children will be faced with violence and swear words when they go to school, so we decided that it would be best to expose them to it in a safe situation where they can ask questions in hopes that they will make more informed choices when faced with the harsh realities of society. Of course, no parent wants to damage their child's hearing so the volume should be taken into consideration. We're also not the parent's who are listening to Eminem or most mainstream rap. However, the rap we listen to still exhibits violence, bad language, misogyny and all of the "isms... It's more of a political talk, sometimes simply wordplay or a story. There's a lot of explaining to do. So we don't play everything we would normally play when they're around, but we're not leaving them completely ignorant as to how crazy this world is. We want our kids to be kids, but we want them to be able to use their head. Just like Ice Cube says, kids are going to use bad language, but they need to know when they can and can't.

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As a parent of children who are 4 and 6, I've been amazed at what things they seem to have retained from a time when I would have thought they were too young to understand it. My son, in particular, seems to keep things at the back of his memory until such time as he gains the mental tools to actually wrestle with them.

It sounds as though your husband's decision, however, is not based on the fact that your daughter is too young to understand the words but on a philosophical rejection of the idea that children should be "protected" from things such as bad language. Personally, I think that even if it's inevitable that children will encounter the rough side of life, that the home/family environment should be maintained as a safe haven (and that's how I was raised). I know plenty of adults, however, who were not raised that way, yet seem to be doing just fine.

Given that this is your first child, your husband may be undergoing a rough transition as he watches his former "playmate" (you) transform into a figure of maternal authority. Subconsciously, he might feel like a rebellious teen all over again. The two of you may need to sit down and hash out some overall parenting philosophies that aren't based on specifics but rather on the larger picture of happy, healthy and safe little ones --and yes, part of that will have to include a level of trust in a partner whose decisions will not always be a perfect match for yours.

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