The Mental and ‘Metal’ Development

Updated: Jul 14, 2019

Heavy metal seems to be the least popular genre amongst parents for their kids to listen to. Does metal really deserve this ignominy? Let’s scratch our ‘metalheads’ and take a look.

Growing up, I stayed away from metal music. Not that my parents put any restrictions on my playlist, I just found it too loud and heavy for my tastes. And there are chances that I might have unconsciously believed the myth that metal is not the ideal music for kids. And yes, as a kid I did listen to pop tunes like ‘Boom boom boom, I want you in my room’ and ‘Smack that all on the floor’.

Image Credits- Pinterest

The key lies in how the music is presented. There might be some innuendoes scattered here and there in pop, hip-hop, R&B and EDM but these genres are still light enough to play in a family gathering or a room full of strangers (okay maybe not hip hop). Meanwhile, as my parents say, metal isn’t ideal for all occasions as it’s sardard (headache) music.

Yes, if you are pregnant mother, please listen to soft music, not a hardcore Meshuggah or Bhayanak Maut record! But once your child grows, chances are that he/she might like metal.

And maybe you should let them be on their own here. You could control their career choices as a parent (even though you shouldn’t) but you certainly should stay clear of controlling their music choices!

It’s a myth that everyone who listens to metal will end up being a Satan worshipper! Day by day, the Mozart Effect also seems to be a myth. A Nature magazine article from the 90s had highlighted the fact that listening to classical music helps in the mental development of children.

But how true is it?

Similar studies in Union College, New York showed that this rise in IQ wasn’t that significant. Frances Rauscher, the writer of this debated article herself admits that more than listening to music, it’s picking up a musical instrument that helps in mental abilities.

So, maybe metal wouldn’t ruin your child after all!

Maybe cut down on death metal bands like Cannibal Course, Suffocation, Carcass and to an extent Slipknot as their content can get vulgar and graphic. But other genres like power metal can actually make for some great family-friendly listening.

Starting a kid's journey with metal with death metal bands like Suffocation might not be the best option. (Image Credits-Metal Sucks)

Just take DragonForce for example, one of the most popular power metal bands. Their name sounds like a fantasy novel and that’s exactly how their songs are like. Their instrumentals are heavy yet well arranged and their lyrics might be as poetic as your child’s English textbook. One example can be Through The Fire And Flames.

‘On a cold winter morning

In the time before the light

In flames of death's eternal reign

We ride towards the fight’

Similarly, there are many genres of metal that can appeal to your kids and for good reason. Nu-metal bands like Linkin Park have helped youths (including me and my post millennial friends) find a new voice and a new space to relieve anxiety. In fact, a study in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience even shows that heavy metal helps people calm down. And that’s what I would like to call, a great juxtaposition!

The late Chester Bennington led-band Linkin Park didn't entertain critics all the time but became the voice of many in the new generation (Image Credits-Numb music video)

Despite this, some explicit content might find its way to metal but then what other music genre doesn’t have it? Look at the pop and rap songs topping global charts or even regional songs, and you’ll see. From substance abuse to cuss words, music isn’t that clean.

As a responsible parent, you can look for the Parental Advisory mark on the albums that your young ones hear and set parental checks on YouTube, Spotify and other platforms. But please note that just because your kid’s favourite music can give you a headache, that doesn’t mean your kid is listening to ‘bad music’! And if you’re so concerned about loud sounds, maybe you could cut down their time on headphones. Even Mozart’s tunes or a lullaby can damage anyone’s eardrums when heard continuously on headphones!

If you’re still not convinced let Meera Menon, a parent, give you her two cents. She says ‘There is little you can do with anyone's choice of music. You cannot stop your kids from eating ice creams just because you get your tonsils swollen on eating them. So, as much as it can be a pain for your ears, you can't force them to stop listening to a certain kind of music.’

Shaurya Singh Thapa