How to Raise an Emo Teen

The term ‌‘emo,’‌ short for emotional, is a form of popular culture with which many teenagers identify. Emo teenagers listen to sensitive and expressive rock music and dress in a certain style, commonly known as goth or emocore. When a teenager decides to follow emo trends, it's normal for them to adopt the emo style and listen to gloomy or sensitive music. For parents, it may be difficult to know how to respond to this way of life. Raising emo kids can pose a challenge to the relationship between parent and child if not approached in a respectful, sensitive manner. Oftentimes, emo teens might feel as if they are misunderstood by their parents. A lot of people even associate emo culture with mental health issues, but a child deciding to embrace this culture is really just their way of developing an identity and learning more about themselves as individuals. If you concentrate on building a good relationship and taking your teen seriously, then emo is likely to be nothing more than a harmless, passing fad.

Respect Your Teen's Self-Expression

  1. Respect‌ ‌your teen‌‌'s choice to express his or her own identity and dress their own way.‌ Teenagers are seeking their own identity away from the family, and it is part of their normal development to try out different styles. While the black hair and black clothes often associated with the general emo look might not be ‌your‌ personal preference, creating a comfortable, judgment-free space for your child to learn what they like is crucial for a healthy parent-child relationship. Emo fashion and emo hairstyles might take some time to adjust to, but the best way for your teen to learn about themselves naturally is to allow them certain freedoms to experiment and decide for themselves who they want to be.

  2. According to American Family Physician, it is important to give teenagers freedom and their own space, and to keep a positive attitude to help them feel comfortable and accepted. You can set certain rules too, such as not allowing tattoos or piercings, so your teen knows what is acceptable. All in all, finding that your child gravitates toward tight t-shirts, dark eyeliner, skinny jeans, and studded belts is nothing to be overly concerned about.

Explore Your Teen's Music Taste

  1. Show an interest in‌ ‌emo music‌‌.‌ You don't have to like the same music as your teen, but it is good to at least know the names of some of the popular emo bands to show your teen you are interested in his or her life and hobbies. Some examples of bands often associated with emo culture include My Chemical Romance, Black Veil Brides, and Fall Out Boy. Punk rock is one of the many music genres that fall under the emo category. Explore your child’s music playlists and become acquainted with some of their favorite songs and bands to show that you genuinely care about their interests.

  2. While some emo music is harmless, the U.S. Department of Education suggests that parents let their child know if they feel the music and lyrics are inappropriate or offensive.

Focus On Your Relationship With Your Teen

  1. Develop a strong relationship with your teenager.‌ Emo is often associated with depression, and as a parent, you can look after your teen's emotional health by having a good relationship with him or her. says that having a good relationship with your child can help prevent depression. Taking time to talk with your teen about their life and feelings, as well as eating meals together are some ways to develop a good relationship.

Keep an Eye on Behavioral Changes

  1. Watch out for any marked changes in behavior.‌ Dressing in black or listening to depressing music is fine, so long as it's only a fashion or interest for a teenager. KidsHealth warns, however, that any change in behavior that lasts longer than six weeks, such as a drastic change in personality, sleeping problems, signs of self-harm, or talking or joking about suicide, might be a sign she needs professional help from a doctor or counselor.

  2. Tips

    Remember that for many teenagers, being emo is just a phase and they will outgrow it.

    Don't try to dress or act emo because your teenager will feel embarrassed if you try to copy his style.

    Social media platforms such as instagram and tumblr are sources of influence for how your teen might choose to dress or behave. This doesn’t mean you need to monitor their every move on social media, but be aware of the different types of content your teen might be viewing by going on those platforms yourself and exploring topics and accounts related to emo culture.


    Be aware that for most teenagers, emo is just a fashion. Vulnerable emo teenagers suffering from low self-esteem might be at higher risk of depression.

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