Are you interested in being an emo kid? Parents, does your child tell you he or she is emo, but you don't understand? The emo culture isn't difficult to recognize, but it can be hard to understand.
The origin of the word "emo" comes from 1980s alternative hardcore rock music and is closely associated with punk bands and indie scene music. While all these types of music may share common roots, emo music is distinctive and is generally referred to as "emotive hardcore" or "emotional hardcore" and includes lyrics and melodies that evoke emotional responses and commiseration from fans.
As with any type of alternative music, the emo scene gradually built a following and today has different lifestyle aspects that can be classified as emo. While the emo scene is most popular with teenagers, many preteens are incorporating it into their personal style as well.
Emo Kid Styles
One of the defining characteristics of emo style is that you don't proudly proclaim "I'm emo!" If the clothes, behaviors, hair, and other aspects of your style are emo, other individuals in the emo scene will recognize and relate.
Most emo fashion styles rely on darker colors, though neon or other bright accents are popular. Shirts from popular emo bands are also popular, and emo clothes often include tight jeans with a few rips or safety pins. Studded belts and other studded jewelry such as bracelets or choker necklaces are common accessories, though they are not usually overdone.
Another part of emo fashion is makeup. An emo kid - male or female - may wear dark eyeliner, nail polish, or other emo makeup, but bright colors are not usually popular.
Emo hair styles are exceptionally popular with kids and teens. While everyone's style may be different, emo looks often include long fringe bangs worn over one eye, darker colors that may have outrageous highlights or accents or bed head messy styles. Most emo hair is straight, though the length can vary considerably for both boys and girls.
Like any subculture, emo individuals have their own type of social behavior. An emo kid is typically sensitive and thoughtful as well as being quiet and introspective. He tends to keep to himself and rarely interacts with anyone not a part of the emo scene. These kids are generally non-conforming, and it's rare for an emo kid to be involved in many extra curricular activities or organized events, though they may participate in more artistic pursuits.
The defining characteristic of any emo style is artistry. Because the culture relies on its emotive roots, many emo boys and girls express themselves through various artistic talents, including:
- Drawing, often in an anime or manga style with scenes to provoke emotions - romance, violence, despair, etc.
- Poetry with emotional contexts, including poetry that may be interpreted as song lyrics for emo music.
- Music, especially starting a band to showcase emo style music.
- Journaling to record emotions, thoughts, and reflections, often by expressing frustration, anger, or other negative emotions.
When parents see their child adopt darker dress, wear her hair over her eyes, withdraw from popular activities, and seem to spend more time brooding, they tend to worry. Similarly, when peers see a friend do those same things, they may ridicule or criticize her. There are several myths that surround the emo culture, and both kids and parents should be aware of them.
- All emos are depressed and suicidal. While radical behavior changes may be a cause for concern, the emo style embraces self-reflection and introspection that can be misinterpreted as childhood depression. In reality, while many emos are withdrawn, they are often just shy or uncertain about how to express themselves openly.
- All emos are "cutters." Self-mutilation is a dangerous stereotype to apply to any group, and parents and peers should not judge an individual's behavior based on his or her appearance or preferences.
- Emos do drugs. While many individuals experiment with illegal substances, it is impossible to judge someone's potential for abuse based on what clothes he or she wears or the music he or she listens to.
- Emos are homosexuals. Just like with depression or drug abuse, it is impossible to judge an individual's sexual orientation based on his or her personal style.
If parents or peers have any concerns about the behavior of an emo kid, they should communicate directly with him rather than succumb to generalizations that have no relationship to personal appearance, music preferences, or innocuous behavior.
The best thing parents can do with an emo kid is to communicate, and the best thing an emo boy or girl can do for his or her parents is to be receptive to that communication.
- Don't be afraid to express concern or ask questions, but be specific. Ask your child why she likes wearing darker colors or why she wants her hair cut a certain way, but don't judge her by her answers.
- Don't make assumptions about your child's behavior based on appearance. For many teens and preteens, embracing alternative cultures is a rebellion against societal norms, but it doesn't necessarily indicate bigger problems.
- Be interested in your child's culture without being judgmental. Ask about his music, support his artistry, and let him know you care about him unconditionally.
- Share your music and art with your parents, but be ready to explain to them what it means so they don't misunderstand.
- Compromise when necessary. The emo kid look may not work well at church or when visiting grandparents, for example.
- Know that your parents are there for you and they care about you. If you really are having problems, let them know how they can help.
An emo kid is more than someone who likes a specific type of fashion or music; he or she embraces a complete lifestyle. With patience and an open mind, both kids and their parents can understand and appreciate this culture..