Netflix “13 Reasons Why”: A Hidden Lesson

Netflix is currently offering a series, titled “13 Reasons Why”, a story of a high school girl who commits suicide, leaving 13 recorded tapes for the 13 people who helped cause her suicide. The series has received critical acclaim and commercial success, as it addresses several important topics: mistreatment by others (including bullying), teenage depression, and suicide.

 

If you were born in the 1990s, you have a higher risk of developing a depression than if you were born in the 1980s. If you were born in the decade of the 2000s, you have a high risk of depression than if you were born in the 1990s. The prevalence of depression is rising with each decade. By 2030, it will be the number one diagnosis in the world. Worse, suicides are also rising.

 

What is causing this rising tide of depression and suicide? There are researchers who blame the chemicals, contaminants, and toxins in the world – from air / food / water – as possible culprits, claiming that those elements are disrupting the normal functioning of the chemistry in the brain. After all, over the past 50 years, we […]

Blog, Teenagers and College|

How to Help Your Teen Transition to College (Part II)

Once your teen has departed for college, how are you going to stay in touch? I suggest setting up a pattern of frequent communications. For my wife and myself, it was constant cards and letters. For other parents, it may be weekly cell phone calls or regular skype sessions. For some lucky parents, whose kids are attending a local college, it might be frequent visits. In all of these communications, I encourage you to share how much the individual is missed and how much you appreciate any efforts toward increased communication – while giving your teenager encouragement and support on the road to independence. Here is one of the earlier letters to my older daughter, Skyler, trying to convey those points, as she started her freshman year.

 

Dear Skyler,

It’s Wednesday night and I am heading upstairs to climb into bed.  As I dragged myself up the stairs, I swung by Austen’s bedroom to see if her door was open. She might be only 17 months younger than you, and just a junior in high school, but you have trained her well. Your habits are now her habits. Privacy is sacrosanct. Her bedroom door was closed so I found myself edging toward […]

Blog, Teenagers and College|

How to Help Your Teen Transition to College (Part I)

Are you getting ready to help your teenager head off to college? How are you going to react with that departure? What will you say once your son or your daughter leaves the nest? Are you going to offer any advice? Here is my first letter to my daughter, Skyler, after dropping her off for her freshman year at college. Maybe you will experience some of the same feelings? Regardless, I suggest you share your feelings, trying to improve your relationship despite the geographic distance. It worked for me; and I think it can work for you. Just remember: geographic separation does not have to lead to emotional separation. Share more, not less. Then watch how your communication can bring the two of you closer and closer.

 

Dear Skyler,

It is 10:50 pm PST and I have been up since 6 am EST, so my bones are tired, my head is throbbing, and my cognition is more than disjointed, but I would be remiss if I did not make the effort to write you my sincere thanks. Thanks for just being you. Thanks for allowing me to accompany you to your move-in freshman day at New York University. It has always been a privilege to be your father (after all, your birth […]

Blog, Teenagers and College|