- 13 Reasons Why - Discussing the Sensitive Topics With Your Child
For the Whole of Their Life.
13 Reasons Why - Discussing the Sensitive Topics With Your Child
You may be aware that the 13 Reasons Why, Season 2 became available on Netflix last Friday. 13 Reasons Why is a fictional drama series that tackles tough real-life issues experienced by teens and young people. The first part of the series was very popular with teenagers and deals with many sensitive issues including: suicide, grief, bullying, sexual assault, drug use and gun violence. As a College we wanted to provide support to parents on how to best engage with your teenager in discussion around these sensitive subject that they will be exposed to if they watch the series.
You may be aware that the 13 Reasons Why, Season 2 became available on Netflix last Friday. 13 Reasons Why is a fictional drama series that tackles tough real-life issues experienced by teens and young people. The first part of the series was very popular with teenagers and deals with many sensitive issues including: suicide, grief, bullying, sexual assault, drug use and gun violence. As a College we wanted to provide support to parents on how to best engage with your teenager in discussion around these sensitive subjects that they will be exposed to if they watch the series. The web-link below provides a comprehensive discussion guide for parents.
Here are some tips for discussing the show safely with your teen:
- Do some research and get informed about the show - try to watch it if you can
- Consider if it is age appropriate for them to watch
- Try to have discussions about the show when all people are feeling calm
- Talk about your reasons for concern
- Understand their desire to watch the series. Understanding their point of view doesn’t mean agreeing with them but it may help to keep the conversation going
Important points to remember:
Some people may be distressed by some of the themes in the series, while others are not. This will depend on individual life experiences and current circumstances. Remember, this is TV, dramatized for viewer engagement, designed to entertain. This season endeavours to present challenging issues in a meaningful way, to acknowledge the experiences young people may go through. The characters may not be realistic representations for every viewer.
Unfortunately, the themes explored in this series are far too common among young people. You may not be aware if your young person or their peers have had experiences similar to those of the characters in the series. Having open conversations can help to know when further support is necessary, but there are also other signs to look out for (covered below). It can help to keep this in mind in the days and weeks during and after your young person is exposed to the show (through peers or by watching).
If you and your young person decide to watch the series, it might be useful to consider some of the following:
- Find out what content is coming up at 13ReasonsWhy.info
- Take breaks and do soothing things between episodes (for example; go for a walk, share a meal with someone, do some exercise, spend time with friends)
- Ensure they watch with a support person or watch it together
- Identify what episodes or themes are likely to be more difficult. Then, agree on whether to skip this part, or write a list of things that are likely to help. These are likely to be the same things that help a person uses to cope in other stressful situations
- Know where to go for professional support if this becomes necessary and support them to get professional care. There is a list of professional support options below
- Model good self-care behaviours
- Remember to keep checking in with them
How to Care for Grieving Kids: Grief is a process that happens over time. Be sure to have ongoing conversations to see how your child is feeling and doing. Need extra support?
Questions to help start the conversation:
Do you think the characters in the show are behaving in ways that are similar to people you know? How so? How are they different?
What do you think about what happened in this episode?
Did parts of the story make you think about how people who are struggling do not show the full picture of what they are dealing with to others?
What did you learn about [choose a specific character] situation from this episode?
Does anything you’ve watched in the series change your perspective on something you’ve experienced yourself?
Do you think the adults did anything particularly helpful or unhelpful? What was helpful about what they did? Or, what could they have done differently?
What would you do if you knew a friend was considering harming themselves or others?
What part of the show do you relate to the most?
Do you know someone who has been sexually assaulted?
Have you experienced anything like the characters in the show?
Who would you go to if you were experiencing any of the situations these teens went through?
Have you ever felt the way that Hannah, Clay or any of the other characters feel?
Have you ever wanted to tell someone about bullying or harm that was happening to someone you know but worried that it was tattling?
How do you know when to offer compassion/support/empathy and when to set clear boundaries?
Do you know anyone that might be in trouble or need help?
Wellbeing Co-ordinator, Chaplain
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