Many of the themes from the first three episodes of 13 Reasons Why season 2 will continue in the storylines from episode to episode. If you haven’t had a chance to talk with your teen about some of the topics introduced in the first three episodes, there is still time to bring them up as you watch later episodes.
Otherwise, use the following guide to talk to your child about episodes four and five.
Theme: Substance Abuse
Justin comes back in episode four and viewers learn that he is addicted to heroin. Clay flushes Justin’s drugs down the toilet and viewers subsequently see Justin go through a painful withdrawal.
- Discussion Tip: Ask your teen if they, or anyone they know, have ever used drugs or alcohol. Brainstorm ideas for what your child can say or do to get out of an uncomfortable situation that involves underage drinking or drug use.
The teens in 13 Reasons Why continually turn to each other for help and show an unwillingness to involve adults in the problems they are facing. The characters seem to value loyalty to each other over their own safety. This is common among teenagers.
- Discussion Tip: Discuss the choices made by the characters in 13 Reasons Why. Ask them who the people are in their life that they trust (both peers and adults). Ask your child what situations merit involving an adult. Ask about the risk in involving adults and breaking the trust of peers.
Tyler grows increasingly angry as the second season continues. He seems to feel especially angry at whoever is testifying because he feels as though he told the truth on the stand and it had a negative impact on him, while everyone else seems to be lying and not facing any consequences. In episode four, Tyler begins to seek revenge by paint bombing Marcus with bright pink paint.
- Discussion Tip: Ask what kinds of things make your teen angry. Brainstorm healthy ways to cope with feeling rejected or excluded. What are better alternatives Tyler could have used to move past his feelings of rejection?
Ryan, who narrates episode five, talks about Hannah’s poetry and writing. As you listen to Hannah’s poems, you can feel how lonely she was at school. While she had lots of interactions with the other kids, she did not have deep connections with her classmates. It is common for people who are considering suicide, especially teens, to feel as though they are not connected to others.
- Discussion Tip: Ask your teen to tell you about times they have felt lonely. Brainstorm ways to help feel more connected to others.
Theme: Dating Violence
During episode five, viewers catch glimpses of Bryce acting aggressively toward Chloe. When Chloe meets Bryce’s parents for the first time, Bryce’s mom notices bruises on Chloe’s arm. When she asks about them, Chloe makes up an excuse that the bruises are from cheerleading. The viewer can tell Bryce’s mom doesn’t believe Chloe’s story, but she also doesn’t push the issue or ask additional questions.
- Discussion Tip: Talk with your kids about establishing boundaries and what healthy relationships should look like. Be careful not to come across as judgmental and accusatory when speaking about your child’s relationship, or your teen is likely to become defensive. If you’re concerned someone you care about may be in an unhealthy relationship, it is important to help them create a safety plan. Start the conversation by asking general questions such as:
- How do you feel when you are with his person?
- Do you feel safe when you are with this person?
- Do you ever feel afraid?
- If you did feel unsafe, what would you do, who would you call, where would you go?
As the season progresses, we learn more about the back stories of each of the characters introduced in 13 Reasons Why season 1. As you learn more about each character, you begin to feel empathy for the person and understand why the characters do the things they do.
- Discussion Tip: Talk about the difference between empathy and sympathy. Ask your child how learning more about the characters’ backgrounds helps them better understand their decisions. Discuss how this applies to real life. Are there reasons some of the people at your child’s school act the way they do?
For more in-depth information about discussing 13 Reasons Why season 2 with your teen, watch our Facebook Live discussion videos at Facebook.com/TeenLifeline/videos.
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