There is much being said and written about this popular Netflix series. Some examples include this article on USA Today written by an 18-year old high school girl and this one from Psychology Today website, and I thought it appropriate to write a few things about it here as well. Yes, I did watch the series and found myself both intrigued and challenged and disturbed by the content and its presentation.
As a counselor, I was reminded of the great needs of adolescents in my community and of the value of providing quality counseling resources for all in need. As a parent I became concerned for the well-being and safety of my own children in light of the topics of bullying, substance abuse, sex, and of course, suicide.
As a parent, if you choose to allow your teenaged children to watch this series, I would offer the following suggestions:
First, watch it yourself ahead of time, keeping in mind that there may be many things that are triggers for you personally. After watching, you may decide that it is not appropriate for your child. Watching ahead of time will also provide opportunity for you to determine if some portions should be skipped all together.
Second, watch it with your teen and plan to discuss the content as you watch or soon thereafter. Doubtless there are many things that your teen is presently experiencing that are depicted in the series and he or she may have been hesitant to talk about.
Finally, make a plan with your teen regarding ways that you might help address some of the issues presented in 13 Reasons Why in a positive manner. Perhaps you could become involved in peer counseling training, or help raise funds for organizations such as The Blue Bench or the Suicide Prevention Coalition.