13 Kickass Songs with Power Messages for Raising Confident Kids

October 20, 2016

I’ve been brainwashing our children. For some time now, I’ve been playing them a CD I purposefully crafted with – love your life, be strong & kick ass – type messages, a playlist for raising confident kids, essentially. And it’s working. Rafaella wails “Roar” by Katy Perry with such devotion,  it brings this proud mama to tears. I mean, she straight up nails it. The other day, on our drive up to Las Terrenas, I overheard Santiago in the back seat trying to keep up with Elton John’s classic words, “I’m still standing – yeah, yeah, yeah.” I looked over at Husband and slyly said, “It’s working. I have subconsciously raised confident kids through music brainwashing.” And because it’s in the car, we all sing it and becomes a message we are all speaking.

Now, I’m aware that there is no scientific proof that a playlist could actually help me raise confident kids but if reading books about strong character can change the ways kids see themselves then why couldn’t music? When my daughter walks around singing, “I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire, ’cause I am the champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar,” I believe she is taking some of that in. Words are powerful; songs even more so. It may not be proven that music can make my kids confident but it is one more thing I can feed them, like a bowl of musical Wheaties, to strengthen their awareness of how amazing and kick ass they are already.

Playlist for Raising Confident Kids


by Sarah Bareilles
Kickass message >> S P E A K   O U T   &   B E   B R A V E
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

We’ve started a new tradition at our dinner table. We ask each other, “How were you brave today? How were you kind today?” My daughter has started to ask the questions if we forget. So this song with its message of showing “how big your brave is” is way high on my list and has been for years.

White Flag

by Joseph
Kickass message >> N E V E R    S U R R E N D E R
(impossible to narrow down the lyrics)
Noises closing in from all sides
Warning all the ways to die
They say “you’d better give up
You’d better give up”
I say, “I’ll never give up, I’ll never give up”

I’ll be an army, no you’re
Not gonna stop me getting,
I’ll sing a marching song and stomp through the halls louder than

I could surrender but I’d
Just be pretending, no I’d
Rather be dead than live a lie
Burn the white flag

If you’ve never heard this song, listen now. Go on. I’ll wait. Dare I say, it’s life-changing.

Incredible, right?! This one is certainly not just for my kids; this one is for me too. I listen to it when I need a reminder that nothing will stop me and that I will never give up; it isn’t even an option. And as an English teacher, is there a more beautiful metaphor for not surrendering? “Burn the white flag.”

Try Everything

by Shakira
Kickass message >> F A I L U R E   H A P P E N S  –  T R Y   A N Y W A Y
Look how far you’ve come, you filled your heart with love
Baby you’ve done enough, take a deep breath
Don’t beat yourself up, don’t need to run so fast
Sometimes we come last, but we did our best

This might be the MOST perfect song on the playlist. It’s from Disney’s Zootopia so it’s made for kids and the message is so simple and clear and understandable for these little sponge-like minds. Try everything even if you could fail. It’s a new way to look at failure.


by Kate Perry
Kickass message >> Y O U   G O T   T H I S 
I went from zero, to my own hero
You held me down, but I got up (hey!)
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, your hear that sound
Like thunder, gonna shake the ground

My playlist for raising confident kids would not be complete without this one. I invite you into our family car when this song comes on and you’ll know why. My kids roar this song like the mighty mighties they are.


by Meghan Trainor
Kickass message >> L O V E   Y O U R S E L F   L I K E   C R A Z Y 
I thank God every day
That I woke up feelin’ this way
And I can’t help lovin’ myself
And I don’t need nobody else, nuh uh

I heard this song somewhat recently in the car, and to my surprise, my daughter was already singing it. I was like, “Hold up, wait. What?” My immediate mom-ness was taking inventory of the song. This isn’t appropriate. Where did she hear this? How does she know this song so well? BUT stay with me here. Yes, there are some interesting elements about this song that I don’t necessarily want my kids singing, like “I walk in like a dime piece, I go straight to V.I.P., I never pay for my drinks…” BUT the core of this song is pure confidence and I can’t help but dig that. (P.S. Do yourself a favor and watch this video. Straight fun!!) 


by Natasha Bedingfield
Kickass message >> Y O U R   S T O R Y   M A T T E R S
Feel the rain on your skin

No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips

In my single days, I was embarrassingly obsessed with MTV’s The Hills and this was the theme song. As a writer at heart and free spirit, there was something so fresh and so obvious about these lyrics of your life being unwritten and having the freedom to write your own story. I want my kids to know that they are in control of their lives, pen in their hand.

Eye of the Tiger

by Survivor
Kickass message >> D O N ‘ T   L O S E   F O C U S
Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive

Because this is an oldie but totally a goodie. It’s like the original gangsta of motivational songs. Hello?! Rocky. Ever heard of him?


Kickass message >> B E L I E V E   I N   Y O U R S E L F
The pressure is on
You feel it
But you’ve got it all
Believe it
When you fall, get up (oh oh)
And if you fall, get up (eh eh)

Yep… another Shakira song. What could I say? Shakira’s got some empowering sh*t. I’ve written about this song before but it’s worth mentioning again because it’s dope. A World Cup anthem, it’s no wonder this song is about believing that you are ready, believing that you have prepared yourself for this moment. And it’s so catchy that, of course, the kids sing right along with it.

I’m Still Standing

by Elton John
Kickass message >> I ‘ M   S T I L L   H E R E
Don’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid

I truly love the simple picture this creates in my mind of someone still standing, strong and tall. I want my ids to know that life will throw punches but that they can stand in the face of hardship. Heck yes, Elton John.


by Destiny’s Child
Kickass message >> L I V I N G   O N   Y O U R   T E R M S
You know I’m not gon diss you on the internet
Cause my mama taught me better than that

Of course, Beyonce and her crew are up in here. And what I love about this song isn’t just that they are survivors. It’s that they are driving doubt and naysayers and people hoping to see them fail and not only do they survive but the do it on their terms without vengeance or ugliness.

I dare you to listen to this song and not want to kick life’s ass. Drop me off in the middle of nowhere with nothing but this song and I’d make it our alive with a bear strapped to my back, Revenant style.


by Katy Perry
Kickass message >> I G N I T E   Y O U R   L I G H T
You don’t have to feel like a waste of space
You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

…And it’s always been inside of you you you
And now it’s time to let it through


Yep. Another great metaphor because don’t we all want our kids to know that they are fireworks? A beautiful explosion of color, no one the same as another. But I also want them to know that it is up to them to show their colors and not be ashamed of how brightly they shine.

The Fighter

by Gym Class Heroes
Kickass message >> N E V E R   Q U I T
Give ’em hell, turn their heads
Gonna live life till we’re dead.
Give me scars, give me pain
Then just say to me, say to me, say to me
There goes a fighter, there goes a fighter

Every class I’ve ever taught, I have covered this song. I use it when I teach figurative language but mostly I love breaking it down for kids and having them hear the message of being a fighter.

Which leads me to….


by Rachel Patton
Kickass message >> K E E P   F I G H T I N G 
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

I challenge you to sing this song and not feel empowered. I know, it sounds a little corny but sometimes we need a reminder in life, sometimes we need to play our fight song to remind us how much fight we have left. And if that’s all my kids ever remember – how to fight and how to be fighters – I’ll have done my job.

What songs would you add? Comment below!

P.S. Raising a strong daughter and get out songs teachers would love to sing to studetns.

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