If you go on the internet at all these days, especially today, you’ve probably seen ads for 13 Reasons Why. Season 2 is released in full today on Netflix. Many of you probably have no idea what it’s about and probably feel like you don’t really care anyway. Just another show, honestly there’s so many available on tons of different cable and online networks these days. That’s where I was a few months ago. I’d heard people talk about or mention the show but never gave it a second thought. About 6-8 weeks ago before spring actually sprung here in New England, I was looking for something to watch. I like to pick something grown up to watch while the kids aren’t home and I’m cooking or folding laundry. I hopped on Netflix and saw 13 Reasons Why in Trending so I decided to give it a try.
If you don’t know, the show revolves around one high school girl who has taken her own life. Heavy right?!! Each episode shows how a different individual played some sort of role in her decision. To me the topic of suicide is something I try to steer clear of these days which is really terrible. Terrible for so many reasons. I have 3 kids. My oldest is on the verge of being a middle schooler. Before becoming a stay at home mom I was a Mental Health Therapist. But most importantly I’ve lost a sibling to suicide. The topic has always been a hard one for me to talk about in social settings and I’ve never been a big sharer to start with. I mean even writing this is hard for me so I’m going to leave the personal stuff aside for now. What did I get out of watching this show and what’s my point really? I have 2 simple points to make but they take work on our part as parents……
1) Smile at people. Be kind to people. Kids can be cruel. And let me tell you…grown women can be cruel! Our kids see and hear what we do and say. Be a good role model. We have no idea what people are going through but they are affected by our interactions. Be the reason someone feels good about themselves. You don’t have to like or be friends with everyone but being civil & decent doesn’t take a lot of extra effort.
2) Teach your kids to be independent. And I don’t mean doing their own laundry and cleaning their rooms, of course that’s important. But teach them to be their own person. Don’t be easily affected by what others say and do. For some of us that’s easier than others. I have spent pretty much all of my life enjoying time by myself. I don’t need to feel included. I don’t need people to give me attention. But some people need attention from others, they want to be included and feel popular. Some people base their self worth on it and will compromise themselves for just a little bit of attention from others. One of the best ways to instill this independence in your kids to me is family time. Take an interest in who they are, what they like and who their friends are at school. Kids don’t need to constantly be entertained. I am not a playdate parent. Some parents need to have play dates for their kids nonstop, not me! These parents then often push their kids off on their friends as they grow older instead of having to deal with or spend time with them. Nope. Friends are important of course, but it shouldn’t take precedence over family for our kids. They need to realize their value isn’t dependent on who their friends are or how many ‘likes’ they get.
Let me tell you that I cried a lot! I reflected a lot on my childhood and my life now. And I thought a lot about my kids. But I really learned so much from watching this show. And high school is SO much scarier than I remember it being. So if you have children I truly recommend you set aside some time to watch and I promise it will be an eye opener!