At What Age Should You Expose Your Child To The Music Of Wheeler Walker Jr.?

Wheeler Walker Jr. country music

Is it four?

Yeah, I didn’t think so either….

On a recent Sunday afternoon, my kids and I were splashing around in the pool. I glanced at the setting sun, took a sip of my tasty adult beverage, and hit “play” on the Whiskey Riff New Music Friday playlist. Life was good that day.

But just as I settled onto the pool steps to ponder what an epic dad I had become, my ears caught a few lyrics from the speakers that sounded a little off:

“I got a girl and buddy she’s smokin’ hot
You can find her outside suckin’ dicks in the parking lot
It’s hard to find a girl with a job anymore
And ooh! I love my honky-tonk whore”

Uh oh.

I scooped up my two-year-old under one arm and stumbled up the steps. Where the hell was my phone?! I had to skip songs before the next chorus, lest my four-year-old ask me “Daddy, what was that girl doing in the parking lot?”

In a panic, I found my phone, skipped the song, and glanced at my wife. Thank God, she didn’t notice. I set my toddler back in the water, and cursed Whiskey Riff under my breath for their not-safe-for-family-Sunday playlist.

But part of me thought I should’ve just let it play.

Eventually my sons will need to appreciate a rare talent like Wheeler Walker Jr. A song like “Honky Tonk Whore” is vulgar, sure. But they’ll hear the words on the schoolyard or from their buddy’s dad soon enough.

It’s better for them to hear it in our own backyard, where I’m available to explain the context and proper situations to use such words. Right?

Wheeler’s message is nuanced and potentially confusing to a young mind. But as a parent who wants to raise well-adjusted, intelligent kids, I should expose them to challenging art forms at an early age. Right?

Then again, they ARE in preschool.

This parenting thing is hard. You can’t just kick back on a Sunday afternoon by the pool with a few beers and a country music playlist without potentially poisoning the young minds you’re responsible for raising. I want to share my full self with my sons. But maybe I should stop short of sharing my full playlist….

I think I did the right thing this week. I should save the exegesis of “Honky Tonk Whore” for my sons’ school-age years, at the earliest.


A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock