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    Recently my son approached me and asked me if I was familiar with the Netflix original show, 13 Reasons Why.  Honestly, I had heard a little about it from some of my high school students but I had not watched the show myself.  He proceeded to tell me that the theme of the show was suicide and how he and all his friends were talking about it at school.

    As parents, we sometimes are at a loss on how to broach some of the heavy topics that affect our adolescent children.  It has a lot to do with being conflicted over wanting to protect our children from some of the scary realities of life and wanting to educate them so they can make the best decisions as they grow into adulthood.  It goes without saying that discussing mental health issues and suicide is not really something that any parent is fully prepared for.  Being able to discuss his thoughts on the Netflix original series, 13 Reasons Why opened the door for us to have an open dialogue about a very sensitive topic.

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    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.

    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.

Let’s Discuss:  What will you watch to start the conversation? Share moments when you and your teen have connected over Netflix original shows and helped you better relate to one another…

Disclosure: This post is part of a blogging campaign in collaboration with Netflix. As a member of the Netflix Stream Team, I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

© 2017, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. What great advice! Joining the same interests as your teen is important to get close to them and find a commonality for better communication.

  2. I too have teenagers and they watch 13 reasons Why… This show opened up the doorway to a conversation about suicide. I had covered everything else… I thought… but not suicide… I talked to my girls and it was a great conversation… They thought I was crazy for bringing it up and I explained my concerns with all of this social media nonsense going on… but it is a way of opening the floor for discussing this heavy topic for parents… Thanks for sharing and have a blessed day Queen!

  3. TV gets such a bad rap these days but I totally agree that it helps bridge the gap between parents and teens. My parents and I bond over shows all the time, even until now that I’m an adult!

  4. I don’t have a kid of my own yet, but I did refer to movies in order to make a point across with my students. Somehow, when they’re able to see other characters going through situations, they’re able to self-identify when they connect with a character.

  5. I think if you want to connect with your child – no matter the age – then you should watch their shows. I’ve heard a lot about 13 Reasons Why and I really need to watch it.

  6. You never know what may trigger a conversation with a teenager. It is great to always watch for an opportunity. Glad 13 Reasons Why opens a door for an important conversation.

  7. I really believe parenting is the toughest job in the world. You have to be a mom, a teacher, a friend, a driver, laundry and cleaning woman, a chef, a clairvoyant, a good conversationalist, a good listener, and the list goes on and on… I remember years ago when my youngest son was then 13 years old. He cuddled up to me and said, “Mom, why are girls so soft?” BOOM! It was like a gazillion bombs exploding in my head. Has he been touching girls??? That was the trigger of our long, long talk about the birds and the bees. Funny it was me who did it, not his dad.

  8. Neha Saini says:

    I haven’t seen NETFLIX ever. I don’t have that much of time nor I’m interested on watching that much of series. But yeah! I have seen my friends getting crazy over that.

  9. Kristina says:

    My oldest is 9 so no teenagers yet. When he is older I’ll have to talk to him about various shows and how they talk about important matters in our life that a lot of people don’t like to talk about.

  10. I don’t have teens yet but I do think it’s important to try to connect on their level. Finding shows you can watch together or other activities you both enjoy is so great for bonding and establishing trust and communication.

  11. I’ve seen so much controversy on this show/movie on my Facebook page lately. I haven’t seen it, and I don’t plan on watching it. My oldest daughter will be 18 in June, and she actually told me about it. She’s on Netflix far more than we are. She said it was freaky watching it. To know that some people actually feel this way, etc. It’s a topic that I’ll admit I never really discussed with either of my girls. I have approached the subject, using the Bible (we are Christians), but never discussed it in depth. My youngest is 11. We homeschool her, so she’s a little more in the dark on a lot of things that kids experience while in school, and hear about while at school.

  12. Conversation is so key! And an easy way to transition into those hard conversations is definitely through shared shows. I personally love Netflix originals.

  13. I don’t have a teen but I do remember using some sitcoms to start a conversation with my then teen about some issues that were going on at school. Nice segue.

  14. These are great tips! I don’t have teens yet, but I found this advice to be true nonetheless. 13 Reasons was very hard for me to watch.

  15. Journa Ramirez says:

    Great advice for parents.. I’m also preparing myself to stay connected with my kids soon. Eventually, they will become teenagers and it’s important to have conversations with them. We should know what they’re going through. You’re a great mom!

  16. My kids came home to tell me that they don’t understand why the school is making such a hug deal about them not watching this series, when the book is in the school library; on top of that, that it’s something very real that is happening in the world. The kids know it’s important to talk about it in a healthy way, and I am happy for that.

  17. Elizabeth O. says:

    It’s good to watch the same shows as your teens or kids. There’s more to talk about while you also spend time together watching the show. This new show from Netflix is a good topic for parents and their kids. It’s not something that we usually talk about with them.

  18. I think it’s important that we talk to them about such a sensitive topic and with Netflix’s new show, there’s more chance for both parties to talk about it without pressure. I think it’s really nice that Netflix decided to go with a series like this, to be honest.

  19. It’s so important to talk to your children about the shows they are watching. My husband and I watched 13 Reasons Why and while it’s definitely not appropriate for our eight year old daughter I feel like this one is going to be around for awhile. Watching with your teenager would be great too.

  20. This is a great post. It isn’t just worries about talking to teens that’s a struggle. My 6 year olds approached me today and asked what are drugs. The tough convos have to happen earlier and earlier.

  21. aish das-padihari says:

    I have a 15 year old boy and I’m so proud to have him. He is well behaved and classy and I’m so happy that we have a healthy parents-teen relationship.

  22. I watched the whole season. It was tough but I thought it was a great series that opened the doors to communication and honesty to what happens when someone is bullied.

  23. I watched 13 Reasons Why and was so moved by it. I think it’s an important book and show and something teens and their parents should watch together. Being a teenager is so much harder today than it was and kids need to know they can talk to their parents about whatever is going on in their lives without judgment.

  24. As a teen, I totally agree. I tend to watch complete opposite TV shows as my parents but I know my sister and I have grown closer because we love to watch similar shows! I love 13 Reasons, too.

  25. My daughter and I did share a lot of common ground when it came to tv shows when she lived at home. I did find that that was a great conversation starter with her. I was able to use that to get her to open up to me about other issues she had in her life. I do think watching your kid’s shows is a great way to get a conversation started with them.

  26. This is good advice. This show seems to have struck a nerve with people but it is also getting good reviews.

  27. I really love what I’m reading about this show and how it’s helping to incite so many great conversations between parents and kids. Too many important things go unsaid and hope there’s something like this to help once we get to that point with our son.

  28. I enjoyed reading this. I have four growing little ones and our topics get more intense as time goes on. I will definitely take a look at this so I can be prepared in the future!

  29. CourtneyLynne says:

    I keep hearing about this 13 reason why show!!! I swear every time I open twitter I see a tweet about it lol… I’m going to have to see what all the hype is about!

  30. My oldest is 9 so he hasn’t seen it and I haven’t watched it either. We do watch some shows together and enjoy playing and watching sports together. I hope that lasts into his teen years so we can connect easily then, too!

  31. We don’t have any teenagers, but I love that you took the time to share this with your readers who may have tweens and teens in their home! I remember growing up and watching a few shows with my mom, and that definitely brought us closer!

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