13 Reasons Why Season 2 Parent Discussion Guide: Episodes 9, 10 & 11

Photo: Beth Dubber – Netflix

We’ve already discussed some of the most common issues teens deal with in real life that are portrayed in 13 Reasons Why season 2. During the second half of the season, there’s a lot of discussion about the practical role schools play in suicide prevention. Is it the school’s responsibility to prevent suicide? Does talking about suicide at school increase risk for a student to die by suicide? Can bullying that takes place at school increase a teen’s risk of suicide?

Keep reading for answers to these questions and how to talk with your teen about the important themes from episodes 9, 10 and 11.

 

Episodes 9, 10 & 11

Theme: School Responsibility

One of the biggest themes from these three episodes is deciding what the school’s responsibility is to its students. Liberty High School communications teacher Mrs. Bradley takes the stand during episode 9 and school counselor Mr. Porter testifies during episode 10. Both Mr. Porter and Mrs. Bradley had a lack of training and didn’t know how to help or what to do when Hannah expressed suicidal thoughts. While it is not necessarily Mr. Porter’s or Mrs. Bradley’s fault that Hannah died by suicide, the school and its staff do have a role to play in preventing suicide by creating a place of connection, support and hope.

  • Discussion Tip: Ask your teen about the culture at their school. Do they feel supported? Do they know who they could turn to for help if they were struggling with thoughts of suicide? Then, ask the school’s administrators what they are doing on campus to prevent suicide. If the administration is not sure where to start, refer them to Teen Lifeline. We have several free programs, from adding our hotline number to the back of school IDs to providing training for teachers and staff members, that can be implemented at your school.

 

Theme: Contagion

During these episodes, Clay is in trouble with the school for continuing to talk about suicide and Hannah’s death by suicide. The principal explains the reasoning for the ban on talking about suicide is that contagion is real – meaning one suicide can lead to more suicides. Clay responds by asking if it’s not more dangerous to stay silent. Both the principal and Clay are correct. Suicide does have an element of contagion. But, contagion or suicide clusters are seen most frequently in places where no one talks about it. Keeping children silent and refusing to allow them to talk about suicide or what they’re feeling may actually increase their risk of suicide.

  • Discussion Tip: Talk about suicide. If you are concerned your child might be considering self-harm or suicide, try using one of these questions to start the conversation:
    • Are you feeling suicidal?
    • Do you feel like hurting yourself?
    • I’ve noticed you’ve been talking about wanting to be dead. Have you been having thoughts about trying to kill yourself?
    • What are some of the reasons you see suicide or self-harm as an option?
    • It seems like you are really hurting and upset by this. How can I help you?

 

Theme: Bully-victim

During episode 10, a new character named Sarah is a witness in the trial against the school. Sarah knew Hannah at a previous school and testifies that Hannah and three other girls bullied her so badly she ended up changing schools to get away from them. It is not uncommon for teens to be both a victim of bullying and a bully themselves. We call this a bully-victim. Most teens involved in bullying situations fit in one of three categories, bully, victim or bully-victim.

Suicide is complicated and is never caused by just one thing. However, bullying can be one of many factors that contribute to thoughts of suicide. Statistically, when we look at risk for suicide, bully-victims are at a higher risk than victims who have never bullied others. Surprisingly, bullies are also at a higher risk for suicide than victims.

  • Discussion Tip: Talk to your kids about the difference between bullying and conflict. We can have arguments and disagree with someone without bullying them. Bullying is when someone tries to take power over or intimidate another person. Ask if your child has ever felt bullied by someone else and how they handled the situation. Ask if your child has ever bullied anyone. Brainstorm alternatives to bullying and ways to disagree without bullying.

 

 

To learn more about episodes 9, 10 and 11, watch our Facebook Live video by Teen Lifeline Clinical Director Nikki Kontz at Facebook.com/TeenLifeline/videos.

For answers to questions that have not yet been addressed in our series of Facebook Live videos and blogs about 13 Reasons Why season 2, email us at media@teenlifeline.org.

 

If your teen is currently struggling, Teen Lifeline is always here to listen and to help. Your teen can call or text 602-248-8336 to talk to a trained teen counselor.

If you’re a parent concerned about your son or daughter that is a teen, we are here for you, too! Visit our help page here

Teachers, if you are worried about a student, we have some vital tips and helpful information so you know your next steps! 

13 Reasons Why Season 2 Parent Discussion Guide: Episodes 6, 7 & 8

Photo: Beth Dubber – Netflix

Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why gives parents many opportunities to talk with their teen about what it’s like to be a teen. Your child is the expert on this particular subject. Ask questions and listen as they talk about what is going on in their lives, with their friends, and at school.

Use the following discussion guide to jumpstart conversations about the themes especially poignant in episodes 6, 7 and 8. For tips for talking to your teen about suicide, dating violence, sexual assault, loneliness and other topics addressed during season 2, read through our discussion guides for the first five episodes.

 

Episodes 6, 7 & 8

Theme: Loss  

Teens can experience loss in many ways beyond the death of a friend. For instance, breakups, moving, changing schools, fighting with friends and parents going through a divorce can all result in a teen feeling a great sense of loss.

We see examples of loss as Clay deals with Hannah’s death and his breakup with Skye.

Jessica experiences a loss after Alex’s suicide attempt. Even though Alex survives, he and his relationships have changed, which is a theme Jessica deals with throughout the second season.

Sometimes adults forget to pay attention to some of the losses teens experience. Life experience tells us that eventually, everything will be okay. But for teens who don’t have the benefit of prior experience, the loss and pain they are experiencing is not only real but can be consuming.

  • Discussion Tip: Ask your teen how they feel about different events that have caused them a sense of loss. Remember to listen. While a breakup or fight with a friend may seem insignificant to you, it is very real for teens and they may need your help to work through feelings about the situation.

 

Theme: Warning Signs

Prevention specialists, whose job it is to teach others about the warning signs surrounding suicide, find 13 Reasons Why extremely frustrating. There are frequent warning signs and cries for help that go unrecognized or are recognized and then ignored. Just a few of these warning signs include:

  1. Hannah writing notes and poems about suicide
  2. Hannah telling her friends she’s struggling
  3. Hannah talking with her school counselor
  4. Zach telling his mom he has thought about suicide
  • Discussion Tip: There is a myth that talking about suicide will plant the idea in your teen’s head, and it’s simply not true. Ask your child if he or she has ever thought about suicide. It’s also a good idea to talk with your teen about the warning signs of suicide. You can get a list of warning signs at TeenLifeline.org.
    • If your teen has noticed any of these warning signs in their friends, brainstorm ways to help. For instance, your teen could notify a school counselor or ask the friend directly if they are considering suicide. Call Teen Lifeline at 602.248.8336 if you want additional ideas for how your teen can help a friend or classmate who is struggling.

 

Theme: Stigma

During these episodes, Clay goes to visit Skye in an in-patient treatment center. These two scenes are some of the best in the series because they address many of the myths around what it means to get treatment. The behavioral health center where Skye is staying is clean and filled with ordinary people trying to get better. In just minutes, Clay asks Skye the questions most people have about the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Skye also points out that while treatment works, she has to work at it. She takes responsibility for herself and her mental health.

  • Discussion Tip: Ask your child what they think mental health treatment is like and if anything about the scene with Skye surprised them. If your child has asked for help, make sure they know the steps you are taking. Keep your teen informed if you are waiting for a call back, are on a waiting list or have made an appointment for them.
    • A lot of teens we talk to think their parents aren’t trying or don’t care, when in reality, parents are working on getting their teen help, but just haven’t communicated where they are in the process. 

 

For a more in-depth discussion of episodes 6, 7 and 8, watch our Facebook Live video at Facebook.com/TeenLifeline/videos. We had some audio difficulties during the beginning moments of this Facebook Live, so fast forward to the four-minute mark to hear what our prevention specialists have to say.

If you have a specific question we can answer, email us at media@teenlifeline.org.

 

If your teen is currently struggling, Teen Lifeline is always here to listen and to help. Your teen can call or text 602-248-8336 to talk to a trained teen counselor.

If you’re a parent concerned about your son or daughter that is a teen, we are here for you, too! Visit our help page here

Teachers, if you are worried about a student, we have some vital tips and helpful information so you know your next steps! 

13 Reasons Why Season 2 Parent Discussion Guide: Episodes 4 & 5

Photo: Beth Dubber – Netflix

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.

 

Episode 4

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.

 

Theme: Loyalty

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.

 

Theme: Revenge

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?

 

Episode 5

Theme: Loneliness

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?

 

Theme:  Empathy

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.

Or, if you have a specific question you’d like answered, email us at media@teenlifeline.org.

 

If your teen is currently struggling, Teen Lifeline is always here to listen and to help. Your teen can call or text 602-248-8336 to talk to a trained teen counselor.

If you’re a parent concerned about your son or daughter that is a teen, we are here for you, too! Visit our help page here

Teachers, if you are worried about a student, we have some vital tips and helpful information so you know your next steps! 

13 Reasons Why Season 2 Parent Discussion Guide: Episodes 2 & 3

Photo: Beth Dubber – Netflix

You’ve watched, or plan to watch, the first few episodes of 13 Reasons Why, season 2 with your teen. Following the shows, there is a lot to talk about.

What are the most important topics to discuss and how do you lead the conversation? The following guide can help you navigate through the most important themes from each episode.

 

Episode 2

Theme: LGBT Issues

Courtney, the character narrating this episode, comes out as LGBT during the course of the trial. The episode shows how difficult it can be for a teen to come out to their parents and friends. Courtney is afraid of how people will treat her after she’s come out and how being LGBT will affect her current relationships.

  • Discussion Tip: Ask your child if anyone they know – or if they themselves – have ever struggled to tell people they were LGBT. How did coming out affect their relationships?


Theme
: Self-Harm

Throughout the first episodes of the season, Clay continually asks his girlfriend Skye to promise she won’t hurt herself or that she’ll call him before she does. This is typical of what would happen among teenagers.

  • Discussion Tip: Ask your child to brainstorm different ideas for how they could help a friend who self-harms. And, don’t be afraid to ask your teen if he or she has ever considered harming himself or herself.


Theme: Mental Health

During the second episode, Skye is hospitalized for increasingly erratic behavior. She is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This is the first time the writers of 13 Reasons Why have addressed treatment options for mental health and that there is hope for people who are struggling with depression, bipolarity or other mental health concerns.

  • Discussion Tip: Make sure your child knows that treatment does work and there is hope if they are struggling.

 

Episode 3

Theme: Sexual Assault

The term sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the victim. Jessica, the character narrating Episode 3, was sexually assaulted by Bryce during Season 1. Hannah, the character who dies by suicide during the first season, was also raped by Bryce. Clay and Alex pressure Jessica to tell the truth about the assault on the witness stand during the trial regarding Hannah’s death. But, Jessica is also receiving threats warning her not to disclose the rape in her testimony. Ultimately, Jessica does not tell the truth about what happened on the witness stand.

  • Discussion Tip: Ask your teen to tell you about anyone they know who may have been sexually assaulted. Then talk to them about how they feel about the situation. For more information about Arizona laws surrounding sexual assault, visit RAINN.org.


Theme: Race       

One of the reasons Jessica gives for not telling the truth about being raped by Bryce is that she is afraid of the cross-examination she will receive. She’s seen other witnesses be ripped apart and worries that it will be worse for her because she is biracial with a mother who is white and a father who is black.

  • Discussion Tip: Ask your kids how race plays a part in their school and how people treat each other.


Theme: Grief

During this episode, a friend of Hannah’s mother Olivia sees the blood-stained dress Oliva was wearing when she found her daughter after Hannah’s death by suicide. The friend then washes the dress without Olivia’s permission. The storyline causes difficulty and anger for Olivia and results in her explaining that she has to process her grief in her own way.

  • Discussion Tip: While others can encourage you and give you advice, no one can force you through the grieving process or make the process proceed any faster. Brainstorm ideas for how you and your teen can best support people who are grieving.

 

For more information about talking to your child about episodes of 13 Reasons Why visit Facebook.com/TeenLifeline/videos.

Do you have a specific question you would like answered? Email us at media@teenlifeline.org.

 

If your teen is currently struggling, Teen Lifeline is always here to listen and to help. Your teen can call or text 602-248-8336 to talk to a trained teen counselor.

If you’re a parent concerned about your son or daughter that is a teen, we are here for you, too! Visit our help page here

Teachers, if you are worried about a student, we have some vital tips and helpful information so you know your next steps!