For Parents With Teens: A Guide for Headphone Etiquette

Teenage life revolves around headphones and earbuds these days. Every time you turn around, it seems that your child has speakers attached to his ears. While it is important for kids to explore the arts and develop creativity, it is essential that they stay engaged with society. Here, then, are a few ways to gauge your teen’s use of headphones and earbuds.


When use is appropriate

1.     Headphones are certainly appropriate to use in places where you do not want to disturb someone else. If your teen is with you at the doctor’s office, that’s a time where you certainly want to let them use headphones.

2.     Traveling is also a good time to pop in earbuds. This includes trains, planes and automobiles.


When use is not appropriate

1.     During face-to-face conversations. It is always polite to give the person in front of you undivided attention. In terms of headphones and earbuds, this means removing both speakers from your ears. Also, advise your teen to use good eye contact in these instances.

2.     Never use headphones and earbuds at the table regardless of whether the meal is breakfast, lunch or dinner.


It is important to...

Set guidelines so that your child knows that there are times when they are not allowed to use headphones or earbuds at all. An example would be at grandma’s house when everyone is in the living room. It is in these instances that your child should engage in the conversation at hand.

Parents should not allow their children to find an escape from social gatherings through headphones and earbuds. It is rude for a person to be completely disconnected from their surroundings. Teens, therefore, need to be visible and active contributors to discussions during family events.


Keep them engaged by...

Drawing them into the conversation on a consistent basis. This will allow them to get used to engaging with adults. Too often, we as parents take our children’s “escape” from society through headphones as an opportunity to break away from rearing. We should, however, make sure that they are developing communication skills by constantly involving them in the conversation at hand.