This weekend I had the chance to binge watch 13 Reasons Why, a Netflix original series based on a young woman who takes her own life.
My opinion of the series? It’s extraordinarily foul, often vulgar, very graphic and, at times, deeply disturbing. It’s even been called out for “glamorizing suicide.” ..now do you see why I I’m a little behind on watching the series?
The Plot Line
Teenager Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. As
Should your kids watch 13 Reason Why
I can’t answer that for you. In my opinion, I think it is appropriate for teenagers but there are some very graphic scenes and it is a very serious topic. You as the parent should watch it first, and then decide if it’s right for your child.
The series does not shy away from uncomfortable topics, and depicts them in such a graphic way that I was actually squirming in my seat. The main character’s suicide is not pleasant. They could’ve had it happen off camera, they could have chosen a less graphic method. Instead, she slits her wrists, cries out in pain and then sits in a bathtub bleeding out.
Is it accurate? I have no idea, I hope I never do.. Does it glamorize suicide? I hardly think so. It was brutal and watching her mother find her and the desperation of her parents to save her had me holding my breath.
The sad truth is that this series really does hit home on the fact that bullying is real. Rape is real. Underage drinking, physical assault, name calling and drugs.. they’re all real experiences that some of our children will face in their teens.
Even though the show has gotten a lot of bad press for extremely disturbing scenes, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’s important for our youth to witness the harsh reality of growing up in 2018.
High school is tough. 13 Reasons Why tackles the concerns of mental health and teenage suicide, and what circumstances can trigger such a tragedy head on. The show depicts the alarming and traumatic impact on the people left behind and could serve as a lesson to anyone suffering from mental illness.
What’s important is that this show has sparked a national discussion about mental health and suicide. And I hope that because of this, parents, educators, and school administrators will consider watching the series because it may persuade them to confront these subjects and examine their own actions in relation.
What you can Learn From 13 Reasons Why
One of the main themes of this program was accountability for your own actions. Most of the people on the tapes had no idea how their choices affected others. How a small gesture might have made a world of difference to someone that feels isolated or alone.
In the complicated world of high school, most kids are struggling to maintain their own survival and not even aware of the struggles of those around them. You see everyone else’s lives through rose-colored glasses not aware that beneath the surface they may also be treading water to stay afloat.
Teenagers can be some of the most brilliant actors and actresses pretending to parents, teacher and even friends that everything is fine, even good. Few kids are secure enough within themselves to realize that asking for help is okay.
And even when they do cry out for help, too often parents tell their kids that what they are experiencing is part of growing up, instead of listening to and validating the concerns of the child.
You may not be able to save everyone, but if one person feels hopeful and that there is more to life then whatever difficult situation they are in, it is worth it.
I think one thing we can all agree on is that parenting is tough. Beyond the topic of 13 Reasons Why, it is incredibly important to have that open line of communication with our kids.
Have you watched 13 Reasons Why? What was your take on the series? Did you allow your children to view?
The National Association of School Psychologists issued a statement for parents and educators that cautions against allowing vulnerable youth, especially those who may have thoughts of suicide, from watching the show. Many school systems have sent the letter to parents to warn them of the dangers.