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By Jessica T

Pop music: the best thing about having a 10 year old

Uploaded: Dec 1, 2013

The pre-sets in our car are full. Exactly one is for National Public Radio and at least six are tuned to local pop stations. I'm re-living my youth, despite the fact that between the ages of roughly 14 and 36, I could not stomach the cotton candy pop of my girlhood.

I love every creation that these Swedish super powers pen for pop stars today. Do you know why? Because even I knew you were trouble when you walked in! My daughter and I pump up the music, and I belt it out to the boys I once knew. I see her in my rearview mirror singing to boys she'll one day know and trying on these complex expressions of rage and admiration.

I remember being 10 and knowing a canon of pop songs. Today, my daughter is no different. She need only hear a song once before she memorizes all of the words. We laugh together about the inane lyrics, like Icona Pop's "I crashed my car into the bridge. I don't care! I love it!"

My daughter has given me the gift of having musical relevancy again. And I have a window into youth today. After all, if Katy Perry's "I kissed a girl" isn't a conversation starter with your daughter...I don't know what is.

For the most part, I'm grateful to the pop stars of today. Many of them - Gaga, Katy, Taylor - sing songs with positive messages about being themselves, songs to bolster their listener's self-esteem. Take "Born This Way" or "Firework." On my worst days, picture me on the elliptical machine before work trying to build myself up as I remind myself "to show them what I'm worth."

What a departure from Madonna's "Like a Virgin" or "Material Girl"! As a ten year old, I remember my dance teacher announcing that we wouldn't be dancing to Madonna any longer because Madonna's messages weren't in keeping with her values. While that may have been true, tap class was suddenly a slog because we were no longer dancing to the voice of our generation (albeit not a very inspiring one?)

Next time you pull up at a stop light and see a mom and child bopping around to the latest hit single, think about tuning your radio to a Top 40 station. It might help you relate to your kids and get you through a tough week at work.

What avenues have led you to bond with your tween? How do you feel about the latest trends in pop music?