Teen parenting expert Rosalind Wiseman on whether parents have any control over the graphic words in the songs their teenage child's band writes and performs.

By Rosalind Wiseman

Q. I saw explicit lyrics my 17-year-old and his friends wrote for their garage band. How can I get him to write about other things?

A. You can't force your son to change what he writes. What's more important is what you mean by explicit. If your son, for example, is describing his frustrations about school, politics, or other issues with graphic images and bad words, it's probably a healthy outlet for him (though you still want to know why those issues are bothering him). But if he's singing about sexually degrading themes or violence, you need to talk to him. In addition, ask an adult male he respects to explain that a true man doesn't express himself by demeaning anyone else.

Originally published in the June 2008 issue of Family Circle magazine.