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13 Reason Why – But only 1 reason to ask.

May 7, 2017

While parents and educators are busy debating if teens should watch 13 Reason’s Why, many teens already have without any adult’s awareness.

Even as adults commentate on the show, the bottom line is that it is compelling to a good many teens. The show connects with their existential angst and the the issues they grapple with among their peers. To put it simply, they connect with the characters and many have had thoughts that mirror the story line.

This is being talked about – everywhere. If you haven’t asked your teen yet, do so:

  • Have you seen the show?
  • What are your thoughts about it?
  • Have you ever had any thoughts like any of the persons in it?
  • How about your friends?
  • What is life like for you?
  • Do you worry about yourself?
  • Do you worry about someone else?

Ask and just listen. Don’t try to solve anything. Leave time between questions. Don’t rush to fill silences. Do not jump in and talk over your teen. Do not minimize or try to explain away their feelings. Just listen.

If you are concerned about something you hear, speak to a professional. If you hear that someone is in imminent danger, do call someone to keep a person safe.

After the conversation, thank your teen for talking with you. Tell them you learned from them. Give them a big hug.

Your “just listening” provides a sense of safety and security to your teen. This is a tremendous gift that helps strengthen them to better manage the emotional ups and downs of life.

Your connection matters.

Why will you sit down and talk with your teen?

For only one reason.


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I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue. I am available in person and by Skype.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.

One Comment
  1. Janet Reid-O'Connor permalink

    I’ve been through a suicidal teen who is now successfully employed, in a long term relationship and 26 yrs old. I watched 13 reasons and my first thought was that every parent of a pre-teen or teenager should watch this show. It lets us into the teenage world of today. We get so busy with our world and tend to judge rather than connecting and understanding their world. They do try to block us out and imply they don’t want to talk. We need to be available at anytime of the day to listen because they do want to talk and can be very scared during these transitional and vulnerable years.

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