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When it comes to raising my kids there is one constant that I have relied on throughout my sixteen year parenting journey and that is– TRUTH. I am completely and unapologetically honest with my kids to the point where they are like- “OK MOMMY we understand, we don’t need to watch that woman having natural childbirth again, WE GET IT the baby comes out of her hooha.”
I have been this way for as long as I can remember- not shying away from exposing them to art, history, current events and the real life and death issues that they will need to tackle as part of the human experience. Maybe I am so unabashedly honest because I felt like I grew up with lots of secrets, shame and sadness. Both of my parents have passed away and their deaths continue to teach me about living my life out loud. Not taking anything for granted and being present and letting myself and my kids FEEL every emotion knowing that my husband and I will always be their soft place to fall. That in our family there are no secrets, nothing is off limits and that within the confines of our nuclear family they can say, react and question with abandon.
So when Netflix asked me to pre-screen 13 Reasons Why– an original series which has literally mesmerized a generation of teens and yes even created some backlash among parents – I jumped at the opportunity.
Here is the deal. Yes this series is graphic and yes it explores the DARK, underbelly of teen life today. And THAT is exactly why every parent needs to screen it with their kid. It’s uncomfortable and it may make you squirm in your seat. But the cold hard truth is that- it is the reality your teen lives with- and as her parent you need to understand and see this reality. You need a vehicle to help you have these conversations and this show will help you to do so in a way that just sitting and peppering your kid with rapid fire questions never will.
You need to see how so many of these adults MISSED so many clues into their kids’ behavior. You need to see it so that you can become more cognizant of the subtle cues your teens are giving you.
I really think as parents we all believe that once our kids reach high school they are old enough and mature enough to handle their basic needs and so we tend to forget that while they no longer need help fixing their own school lunches or tying their shoes- they still very much need us to help them navigate all the highs and lows of their emotional, social and spiritual inner lives.
Feel like you are cramping their style- feel like you are invading their privacy- feel like you are bothering them? TOO BAD. That is your job, you are their parent and even though they look like adults inside they are still kids- who need guidance and need to know that you are their soft place to fall. They need to know that you are trying to comprehend and navigate the world of texting, sexting, social media, suicide , bullying, depression and so many other issues swirling around in their worlds.
This is why I beg of you to Watch 13 Reasons Why with their Teen.
Being a teenager today is no easy feat, but neither is trying to make sense of the one living under your roof. While there are a myriad of ways for parents to try and connect with teens, according to a recent study by Netflix 83% of parents have watched a show their teen has seen to feel closer to them.
Navigating the waters with your teen can be choppy, but with the Netflix parenting cheat sheet it’s smooth sailing. Whether you’re trying to find more in common or just understand them a little better, Netflix has what you should watch next.
The biggest surprise? 74% of teens are willing to open up and talk to their parents about the shows they watch. With entertainment as a common ground, parents and teens can bridge the conversation gap and tackle tough topics such as sex, anxiety and bullying over shows like Arrow,Friends and the latest groundbreaking Netflix original 13 Reasons Why. What will you watch to start the conversation?