Why you should watch 13 Reasons Why with your teen!
With its direct approach to sensitive subjects including suicide, rape, bullying, and self-harm - TV series 13 Reasons Why has been as controversial as it is popular!
And there are many reasons on ‘Why you should watch 13 Reasons Why with your teen’! And the emphasis really is on W I T H. Together. Alongside and with time to discuss and digest. Primarily because the topics and scenes will spark discussions, questions and maybe even things your child heard or witnessed.
Personally I would suggest to watch the series first alone (parents only) so you get a head start and know what to expect.
But lets do a quick summary on what 13 Reasons Why is all about:
Season 1 was about suicide. And the 13 reasons why it led to it.
It follows teenager Clay as he returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it. Inside he discovers tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush, who tragically died from suicide two weeks earlier. On the tapes, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life.
Season 2 was about depression, healing, drugs, pregnancy, rape, school shootings, bullying and mental illness. A lot of topics, a lot to discuss.
It picks up in the aftermath of Hannah’s death. The start of the characters’ complicated journeys toward healing and recovery. Liberty High prepares to go on trial, but someone will stop at nothing to keep the truth surrounding Hannah’s death concealed. A series of ominous polaroids lead Clay and his classmates to uncover a sickening secret and a conspiracy to cover it up.
Do rich boys walk free from their crimes? Does being a talented sports men protects you from being charged?
How do you deal with seeing your rapist at school? Every day?
How do you live with guilt?
Who will help you?
Sometimes it takes only one act of kindness and caring to change a person’s life!
Yes! 13 Reasons Why is direct. Straight forward and clear. And that is the main reason why opinions are so diverse. Some think it glorifies suicide. Pushes young people to harm themselves. But what or who else shows the truth?
There are tons of shows about serial killings and murder. Shows addressing rape. But a show bringing to light the issues people face in high school and the real life problem of suicide and bullying has people freaking out. It is a difficult show to watch, we are aware. And that is usually the case when heavy topics are shown. 13 Reasons Why is bringing awareness to different and difficult situations.
And more than anything – it is important that we get the conversation started. And, as a matter of fact, there are far worse things to watch which all teenagers have access to.
We need to recognise that these type of situations do take place. And a lot of people feel like they do not have a voice. They feel ashamed and that they cannot talk to anyone about it.
In season two, Jessica spoke about her feelings and life after rape. In trial. They then showed almost every female person share their experiences with sexual assault. It was powerful and heartbreaking. And it showed that nearly every woman has experienced this. It is a topic that needs to be addresses and to be talked about! #metoo
Because it also showed how Chloe, another victim, did not have the courage to stand up for herself.
Due to fear and probably a myriad of other reasons.
Season 2 included a shocking bathroom scene. Another very controversial part of the show. And seeing how many people came up with reports where exactly the same thing happened showed how these issues, that our children are subjected to on a daily basis, are brought to light and not swept under the carpet.
And the crazy thing about that scene: Because it was a boy who was raped it felt much worse to watch. Because, apparently, we are desensitized to it happening to women on TV! It is awful regardless the gender and 13 Reasons Why shows it without gloss.
Every teen and viewer is going to respond to the show differently. It might be a good idea to discuss a few topics beforehand. Check if your child heard something about the show already. What are other people’s opinion. Then sit down and watch the show together. Afterwards discuss what Hannah could have been done and what the outcome might have been. Could her friends have noticed her depression? To whom could they have reached out?
Yes, 13 Reasons Why is a work of fiction but there is no glamour or romance in the tragedy of a child taking her own life. None.
And facing issues, discussing controversy topics and being open about them — will always be your best defense!
Go on and watch an episode alongside your teen and you might be surprised at what kind of thoughtful conversations it inspires.
Talk to your child about them. And listen, probably the most important factor.
And you will all learn and get a reminder:
– That someone always cares.
– Asking for help does not make you weak.
– Be kind. It truly makes the biggest difference. Words can hurt too!
– Depression is a serious illness! (we sadly saw the news about Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain last week)
In fact, none of us are perfect parents but sexual assault, bullying, discrimination, drug abuse, addiction and even suicide are reality.
Important: I would not recommend this show for pre-teens. The topics are relevant and need to be addressed. However the very graphic nature of the show is too much to handle for them. Some scenes could burn into their brains in a way they are not ready for.