13 Questions to ask your teen after watching 13 Reasons Why
The new Netflix series popular among teens seems to be what all the kids are talking about from 5th grade to high school if you haven’t heard of 13 Reasons Why then you must be living under a rock. This is the hottest show among adolescents right now and for good reason, they can relate.
Being a family therapist as well as a mom of two teen boys and a tween girl I had to jump on the bandwagon and watch it for myself. I was not only curious but wanted to see what my own kids wanted so badly to watch. So I made them a deal (compromised) I told them that I would like to watch the show with them. At the time I had no intentions for anything more than to simply watch the show with them but after watching a couple of episodes I realized this was a pivotal moment for me to be able to talk to my kids about real life and what it most certainly can be like in these types of situations.
If you are a parent reading this I would encourage you to watch this with your kids as well. This is definitely not a show it’d want my son or daughter watching on his or her own. I want to make sure I am the one influencing their thoughts and actions not that of Netflix or social media.
To help you along the way I’ve written out 13 different questions that you can and should talk with your kids about after watching each episode. These questions are meant to open the dialogue about each episode and get you and your kids talking about some tough subjects that usually don’t naturally occur.
After watching episode 1 of 13 Reasons Why
- If you found yourself in a situation where a compromising picture was taken of you and shared with others against your will, who could you feel safe to talk to about it? What would you say?
After watching episode 2 of 13 Reasons Why
- How do you know that your friends are genuine friends? How do you know they are trustworthy? What boundary of your value system would have to be breached to stop being a friend with that person?
After watching episode 3 of 13 Reasons Why
- When you get in a situation were you find that you have “froze” (inability to move, do anything or say something) do to anxiety, fear, stress, intimidation, and/or your body being sexualized without your consent, what can you do immediately after to increase your safety?
After watching episode 4 of 13 Reasons Why
- If you know that your personal privacy has been violated what could you do about it? Would you report the person? Do you have someone you could talk to about it?
After watching episode 5 of 13 Reasons Why
- How can you balance what others might expect of you with what is genuine and true to yourself? How do you know when you are doing something to please someone else versus what you might believe? What do you expect of yourself?
After watching episode 6 of 13 Reasons Why
- What does it mean to be objectified? How do you know if someone is objectifying you? How do you know if you have been objectified?
After watching episode 7 of 13 Reasons Why
- You aren’t always going to be liked and/or you’re not always going to get what you want how do you respond when things don’t go how you have them planned?
After watching episode 8 of 13 Reasons Why
- What are healthy ways you can express yourself (maybe that are private to you)? Which of those ways are you comfortable with letting others know about?
After watching episode 9 of 13 Reasons Why
- What is sexual assault? What is acceptable touch to you? What can you do if you are touched in a way that makes you uncomfortable?
After watching episode 10 of 13 Reasons Why
- Even if nothing good would come of telling the truth it might not solve the problem or make it better, what can you do to move forward in a positive way?
After watching episode 11 of 13 Reasons Why
- When you get so wrapped up in life with friends, school, social media, etc. How do you know when you should reach out to someone such as a counselor, therapist or trusted adult?
After watching episode 12 of 13 Reasons Why
- How do you justify taking “justice” into your own hands? What does that mean for you or the other person?
After watching episode 13 of 13 Reasons Why
- How do you find a trusted person where you can talk openly and honestly and won’t feel judged, brushed off or like a burden to that person?
If you haven’t already realized this show depicts many mental health concerns that could very likely come up for you or your teen. While these questions are not meant to take the place of a therapy session with a licensed professional I want to make sure you understand the reality that it is not uncommon for teens to struggle with depression in different forms, feel isolated or alone, have experience or witness some form of sexual assault, and/or struggle to talk openly to an adult. If you or someone you know has had thoughts of hurting themselves or others please contact the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.