Disclaimer: The content is filmed to be raw and graphic at times, their goal is to create true empathy for those that experience these situations. Therefore, if you have trauma in your background there are scenes that could be triggers so, watch with caution.
Well if you haven’t heard about 13 Reasons Why on Netflix and you have teenagers, you need to get yourself ready for a binge session. 13 Reasons Why is a series about a high school girl that commits suicide and makes recordings about the series of events that lead to her making that decision.
Most teenagers aren’t exactly a wealth of information about their lives to family. You want to know what they are dealing with and what they are exposed to in high school? Well, here you go. It’s not pretty and it’s not easy to watch. Will every teenager experience assault, rape, bullying, or suicide? No, but chances are they will know someone who does. But, if that’s the only part you focus on then you are missing so much. They show how the small things can snowball and how overwhelming that can be for a teenager.
As adults it’s easy to forget what it felt like to be a teenager, before our executive functioning was fully developed. When not having a date or tripping in the hall way felt like it could cause the world to end. We forget teenager’s brains are wired different and don’t reason like adults. No matter how hard they try to be adults. 13 Reasons Why touches on those feelings. It’s easy to watch and think the main character is being petty, but she just being a teenager. Don’t discount the small things because to your teenager; they aren’t small.
I know, it sounds morbid and why would you want to watch something like that. Short answer, because just about every high schooler has watched it. And there is a reason they are drawn to it.
13 Reasons Why is relatable to them. It’s their daily lives whether it’s the things they experience or they see going on. And it’s told from their perspective; raw and real. Every teenager can relate to at least one episode. Looking back on my high school experience, I can relate to just about every episode. And I can remember that earth shattering feeling when your problems feel bigger than you, even the small things that I know now are insignificant. So, lets give them to tools to deal with these things.
Want a teenagers perspective? Here’s A Teenage suicide survivor’s perspective on 13 Reasons Why check out her thoughts the show.
It’s not enough to just watch 13 Reasons Why, you have to use it to open up conversations with the teenagers in your lives. Thinking that they will never see or experience the things portrayed on 13 Reasons Why is naive. Your teenager may not participate in some of the activities, but they will at least see it going on around them. Clay, the main male character, was a “good” kid. Never got into trouble, smart, good grades etc… Yet, he saw the entire thing unfold in front of him.
So, take a deep breath and have the hard conversation. Try to remember your high school years and what would have helped you the most. Talk open and honest. Try not to be judgmental or talk down with them. And remember just because your teenagers ask you about something doesn’t mean they are doing it, they may just be curious and it’s better that education comes from you instead of the media. Showing them you can talk about this stuff without “freaking out” will build that trust that will bring them back to you when things get hard and they need someone to lean on.
So here’s the thing, suicide is on the minds of teenagers. As scary and sad as that is, it’s the truth. That was the number one topic they said they wanted more information on after our Healthy Choices Healthy Relationships Classes this past year. We have to stop ignoring the hard, scary stuff and educate our children. Remember just because they look like adults, their brains aren’t functioning like one.
Beyond 13 Reasons Why is a must watch as well. Getting to see the Production Teams perspective on why they filmed things the way they did is very enlightening .