"(What Doesn't Kill You Makes You) Stronger" (CD Single)

Music review by
Stephanie Bruzzese, Common Sense Media
"(What Doesn't Kill You Makes You) Stronger" (CD Single) Music Poster Image
Popular with kids
Self-esteem reigns supreme in clean, uplifting pop single.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 25 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

A positive message about making it through a tough time and coming out more independent and self-assured on the other side.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Song encourages independence and healthy self-esteem.


A reference to sleeping together: "You know the bed feels warmer, sleeping here alone."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that "(What Doesn't Kill You Makes You) Stronger" is a very clean, positive track about not allowing a failed romantic relationship to ruin your life. Aside from one light reference to sharing a bed, it includes no adult content or profanity -- focusing instead on a girl who has the courage to leave the wrong guy and feel better about herself for it. It's an especially good pick for the legions of young Kelly Clarkson fans who are just starting to navigate romantic relationships.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJared Galczynski June 3, 2014
What doesn't kill you makes you weaker. I never really cared for Kelly Clarkson in the first place. Far from an AY MAYRA.
Parent Written bytreat02 February 26, 2012


This inspires kids to stand up to bullies and when they are hurt.
Kid, 11 years old July 23, 2020

Pain for power anthem

Shows how a breakup can be a learning experience. Great for older kids and tweens
Teen, 16 years old Written bysamantha19 June 15, 2018

What's the story?

"(What Doesn't Kill You Makes You) Stronger" is the second single from the fifth full-length album by Kelly Clarkson, the very first American Idol winner. Known for clean songs that include positive messages about having high self-esteem and not settling for second best, Clarkson sings about more of the same in this single -- telling a guy who wronged her that she can do just fine on her own: "Think you left me broken down/Baby, you don't know a thing about me, 'cause you're dead wrong/What doesn't kill you makes you stronger/Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone."

Is it any good?

When you have a vocal gift like Kelly Clarkson's, there's not much you can do to make a song go wrong. Her killer chops are on display again in this track, and while the pop-rock arrangement is a bit formulaic, you can't help but enjoy the tune for Clarkson's vocals alone.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how to have a good time doing stuff by yourself. What are some of the benefits that can come from spending time on your own?

  • Why do so many young people define themselves by whether they are in a relationship? Is there pressure to be partnered up? Why is it better to be alone than in an unhealthy relationship?

Music details

  • Artist: Kelly Clarkson
  • Release date: January 24, 2012
  • Type: Single
  • Label: RCA
  • Genre: Pop
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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