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Family, School

Should I Let My Child Watch 13 Reasons Why?

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Okay, where should I begin? First of all, let me just say that this post is riddled with spoilers and it’s SUPER LONG! If you have not watched the show, and you are a parent, I suggest that you find yourself some time to watch the show in its entirety- sans kids. I saw the show last week, and I could only now put my feelings into words. I am a parent to three kids; 18 years old, 12 years old, and 10 years old. And let me just say that this show, if any of the stories are true, has officially scared the living daylights out of me. I feel like I have been naive about what has been going on in high schools today.  I feel like as if tweens and teens are challenged by some of the stories in the show, then we have a huge wake-up call coming. But I will say this…

If your child has a phone and/or is on social media, you NEED to watch this show! 

My oldest did not attend a traditional high school. He was home-schooled and I thank the Lord for that! So up to this point, I don’t have any experience of having a child in a high school and all that is about to change in two years after my son graduates Junior High. See why I got freaked out?! This show is C R A Z Y. Like, scary crazy.

Should I Let My Child Watch 13 Reasons Why?
Image: Netflix

Okay now to the show. I invite you to participate in this conversation, as all comments are open, but please be respectful of my opinion,  as I will be respectful of yours.

I call myself very naive because my upbringing that shielded me from a lot of the stuff that happens in high school. I had an extremely sheltered/conservative upbringing. I did go to a public high school, but I wasn’t allowed to do a lot of stuff that these kids, or a lot of kids, are allowed to do. My whole adolescence was based around church activities. My whole high school life was, church. I kid you not. I never attended a high school dance. I never went to prom. Never went to a football game. Nothing! I didn’t participate in any after-school activities! Basically, my dad will drop me off and my mom would pick me up straight after school and that was my high school life.

Okay so let’s get down to the main question should I let my kids watch 13 Reasons Why?

No.

If you have tweens in your home, no. If you have teenagers in high school, yes? Your kids have to be well balanced to watch the intensity of this show. It contains what many call, triggers. What are triggers?

A trigger is something that sets off a memory or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma.

First of all the language is extremely strong. There are scenes of bullying. There are scenes of sexual assault/abuse and physical abuse. And of course, suicide.

If your child has experienced any of these scenarios in real life, I STRONGLY suggest you watch the show first alone and THEN you make the decision if you want to let your child watch the show…. if they haven’t watched it already.

Should I Let My Child Watch 13 Reasons Why?
Image: Netflix

Conversations about 13 Reasons Why are all over schools. Trust me, it is! Just when you think that kids are not talking about it? Guess what! They are! Take a look at what happened to me.

My son’s classmate asked him if he knew who Hanna Baker was. Of course, he said no and she told him to look her up on YouTube. In case you don’t know, Hannah Baker is the main character of the show. Curiosity got the best of my son and he went looking for Hannah Baker on YouTube.

We only have one TV in our home and it’s located in our living room. When I was watching this show, whenever the kids will come in, I would pause it immediately. When my son looked up at the TV, he saw that I was watching 13 Reasons Why and he said “oh you’re watching that show? It’s sad.”

It shocked me to hear that he actually watch the show so and as I looked at him I could feel the blood draining from my head. I asked how he knew about the show?  He said I watched it.!!!! I wondered how in the world did this get passed by me? How did this happen without me knowing? I guess he saw the horror on my face and he confessed that he didn’t actually watch the whole show, but much to my dismay, he watched the suicide scene on YouTube.

The show is not on YouTube but the suicide scene is. And yes he watched it without my consent. Hell, he even watched it before I did!

The whole show is based on the reasons why Hannah committed suicide. I’m pretty sure that’s what all the kids are looking at. Curiosity is really getting the best of them. The suicide scene is on the last episode of the show and it is extremely graphic and very hard to watch.

Should I Let My Child Watch 13 Reasons Why?

Many, many, many years ago, I was at work and where I worked, there were TVs everywhere.  Basically, one TV for each patient and there was a car chase. The suspect was being cornered on a freeway ramp and he had a gun with him, and on live TV he committed suicide. He shot himself in the head. That image has stayed with me for the past 18-19 years and I doubt I will ever forget.  I still remember what it was wearing, what I was doing, the people around me, how the whole unit turned silent and how NO ONE said anything afterward.  A scene like that never goes away. So I knew what I was getting myself into when I decided to watch the show. Even though I know it’s Hollywood, it’s fake and this is something that’s on TV. I myself was not prepared to see what I was going to see.

I was not prepared to see Hannah slit her wrists.

I felt very depressed after the show. My spirit was so heavy. I either had to listen to worship songs or just lift my spirits up with a comedy or something because my mind would not clear itself of the show.

As a parent, you want to protect your little kids as much as possible from the real life. My husband and I sat down with our son and spoke to him about the realization of suicide. This is a word that, unfortunately, he will be hearing a lot as he gets older. As a matter of fact, it’s the first time I even write that word, here on the blog. We reiterated our trust in him and our love for him and most of all, our love for Jesus Christ, who we find strength and hope and grace. See, there’s no way that I would be able to raise my kids without faith. At all!! And all I could do is trust my kids into the hands of the Lord. Every day that they leave my home, I always pray over them. These kids are my life just as I’m sure your kids are your life. I pray that my kids will never, ever experience what these kids experienced on the show. And if ever they do, I pray that we all have the strength to deal with it.

What have I learned from the show?

It makes me want to be more involved in my kids’ lives. We have to GET INVOLVED! Let’s learn to talk to our kids. Listen to them. Watch them. Smell them! Yes, I smell my teen whenever he comes home late from somewhere. He thinks I’m hugging him, NOPE! I’m smelling him!

So this is why it comes down to making sure that your kids are prepared to watch a show like this.

Please watch the show before your kids if you plan to show it to them that way you are prepared to have an open dialogue with them.

There’s absolutely no way that I would let my ten-year-old watch it. Because of what happened with my 12 year old, I still didn’t let him watch 13 Reasons Why, but I did explain some of the situations that led up to the suicide, without him having to watch it.

If you have the kind of relationship with your child that you let them watch what they want then, just make sure that you talk to them about this show.

Please.

Sign up Netflix and start your free month now!

This is not a paid post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. As a proud Netflix #StreamTeam member, I share this story with you. All images courtesy of Netflix. All rights reserved.

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Liz Cerezo

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Liz is a Mexican-American blogger living in Southern California. Married 19 years, and a mami to 3 kids, her content is inspired from living in and raising a multicultural familia. Liz has been blogging for more than 7 years, establishing herself as a nationally recognized Latina blogger. She often blogs in Spanglish and may throw in some Tagalog when talking about her hubby. You can also find her chit chatting away at @Liz_Cerezo on Twitter!

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1 Comment

  1. Melanie Edwards

    It was difficult to watch as an adult, so I agree – I would not let my tween watch this. In my opinion, I think it’s best suited for children 14+ and even then, it depends on their maturity. But, I also agree that it’s important to talk to our kids (all ages) because they will encounter this topic at some point.

    24 . May . 2017

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