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Listening Rules for Tweens with Earbuds or Headphones

by Michele | July 14th, 2016 | Behavior, Tweens
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10-11-yearEarbuds. Headphones. They are everywhere. It’s not just a tween problem. Take a walk down any city street, and you’ll see a multitude of people walking with either one or both ears hosting an earbud. From shoppers to joggers to executives, a good portion of them have their ears focused on something other than the noise that surrounds them.

So, it’s no wonder that you’re more than likely to find your tween with earbuds engaged at numerous times in the day. It’s just what people do, whether it’s to listen to music or chat on the phone. However, the presence of earbuds typically reduces the quality of conversation, no matter what your tween says. To alleviate parent-tween issues, I have created a set of rules. (Feel free to edit as needed.)

  1. Respect your tween’s desire to use earbuds. If she’s reading a book, taking a walk, or just hanging out, there really isn’t any reason for her to be earbud-less. Let her enjoy this time as she wishes.
  2. Expect your tween to respect you. If you need to ask something of your tween, he needs to remove his earbuds. This should be done with as little grumbling as possible. You’ve shown him respect; he needs to do so as well.
  3. The volume needs to be placed at a reasonable level. If you can hear your tween’s music while she’s using earbuds, that’s too loud. Additionally, if your tween will be in a busy place, such as walking in the downtown, her volume needs to be lower than usual to be aware of her surroundings.
  4. There are certain places where earbuds aren’t acceptable. A few places that come to mind immediately are family dinners, restaurants, places of worship, and so on. Each family’s list will vary.
  5. There are other places that are negotiable. When I am one-on-one with my kids in the car, I ask for no earbuds. I like having company and conversing. However, there may be times when earbuds could be useful. Driving in stressful traffic may not be the best time for a deep conversation, so why not let your tween zone out?

As a parent, you may be tempted to think or say that in your childhood there weren’t problems like this because earbuds didn’t exist. While that may be true, depending on your age, that doesn’t change the current situation. Rather than trying to fight time, why not find a way to embrace it and make it a learning experience? Teach your tween how to be respectful and considerate of others while also getting to enjoy using technology.

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