I don’t want to be Hannah’s Mum!

I’m a big fan of Netflix and Amazon Prime, as a couple we often fill our evenings bingewatching fabulous new films and series. I’ve just finished watching the Netflix series ‘13 Reasons Why’. We watched this coincidently during #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. It really rattled me leaving me unnerved for the future of my kids.

A little background…(without giving too much away for those of you who may watch it). The plot is a teenage girl – Hannah, who takes her own life. A culmination of events prompt her to record a series of 13 cassette tapes in which she explains the events that led to her loneliness and despair and why they pushed her to commit suicide. She asks a close friend to make sure that all the people in the tapes get them and listen to them.

Generally speaking and from an adult’s perspective most of the events are all about high school bullies and peer pressure. You know, boy meets girl, boy meets different girl! Boy rejects and humiliates girl, boy humiliates girl again, girl spreads lies about girl-friend etc. But to a teenage girl these are major issues in self discovery and growing up. Teenage girls (and boys) are vulnerable, so very vulnerable. They take on board every glance, every word, every absence and every action. In a way they are very self centred, I mean this in the way that they think everything revolves around them, that everything is connected to them somehow. They are the cause and they are the effect in their world. I don’t mean in a selfish way, just that they have a very heightened sense of self awareness (in fact i’m still a little like this myself!).

However for Hannah, the final event understandably leaves its mark (you’ll see if you watch it). The last episode is not one for the faint hearted. It had me in tears. A brutal conclusion from weeks of teenage agony. A conclusion that not only punishes the people who contributed to events that led her to take her own life but also severely punishes those closest to her, the people that actually really love her. This love seemed to have faded into the background of Hannah’s thoughts as the weight of her problems overwhelmed her.

The programme got me thinking about my children. I know they are only little and I probably shouldn’t dwell on the matter too much. I do wonder though what their future holds and the thought that these pressures lie ahead scare the shit out of me. I hope that we can prepare our children for the future and give them the strength to stand up to these pressures.

In the series Hannah and her family are portrayed as a typical family, her parents are happy but have money problems, they have a good relationship with their daughter too. Hannah’s mother is tormented trying to understand what possibly led to her daughter’s desperate state of mind. She recalls past events and always had the opinion that her daughter was level headed. But Hannah doesn’t talk about her problems, she puts on a mask that tells her parents ‘I’m ok’. She bottles up her anguish and the result is suicide. This was the hardest part for me. That to her parents there were no obvious warning signs.

High school was tough whilst I was growing up. I always wondered how best to fit in, I always felt awkward. Sometimes I felt like I stood out for the wrong reasons, sometimes I felt like I faded into the background. But these days I think kids have it so much harder. Yes they are fortunate in comparison to what most of us had in terms of material items and lifestyle but the pressures are immense. I think modern life is very heavily focused and dependant on technology. This allows and and almost pushes them to grow up way too quick.

Social media being one of the biggest issues. Social media is with you so long as you are with it. Teenagers want approval from their peers and so put themselves out there to be judged. Sometimes this goes well and sometimes it goes horribly wrong. Social media is ready to showcase the good, the bad and the ugly times in all their glory. Whilst social media is in a prime position for showcasing and commending diversity it can also be abused. When I was at school there were no mobile phones, so no dodgy photos being taken and spread around or vicious messages spreading like wildfire! No social media meant that once home you reached a sanctuary. Not any more.

Film and media don’t help either, portraying ‘ideal’ images and lifestyles that teenagers aspire to. But when you think about it who would want to watch a film where nothing exciting happened to a regular family doing regular everyday things? I really hope that my children see past the Kardashian swaggertastic lifestyle and the model images of gaunt pouty and quite frankly moody looking faces. This is not real life. Not even close kids!

All I can do is be the best parent I can. Technology may be important and there is without doubt a place for it in everyday life but I try to make sure we value time away from technology just as much. I try to let my daughter know that she can talk to me about anything (and I will my son too of course). Some days she will talk to me about ‘issues’ at school like when another child tells her that they don’t like her or that they’re going to tell on her. Whilst in the grand scheme of things, these aren’t really big world problems but they are big issues to her. So I listen and take her seriously and try to offer advice. I want them to talk to me because we all know that talking is key when it comes to getting support. I will continue to strive to give them the confidence they need and the courage it takes to overcome problems. I want them to know that they matter and that I am here for them be it after school or that 2am call for mum taxi! Will this be enough? I don’t know. I hope so. I really don’t want to be Hannah’s mum.

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23 COMMENTS

  1. I’m yet to watch this, I don’t know if I could handle it to be honest. I was bullied horribly at school which has lead me to having so many issues as I grow up. I want to try and be an honest and open mum to my daughter and I hope that she can always turn to me. I think it’s important to talk to these issues regularly with your child so they understand that if they have these thoughts or if somethings happening they shouldn’t bottle things up and can always find a way to channel what they’re feeling in a positive way. #BloggerClubUK

    • Sorry to hear you had such a horrible time at school. Yes, it’s so important to ensure they feel they can talk to us about anything. I’m the worst at talking about feelings and I really don’t want that for my children. It is a difficult series to watch but IMO really well done x

    • The program is really well done and worth a watch if you like a good series but it is hard hitting. Social media is a scary thing, I hoping exposing them to it and teaching them about it will help them? (in time) x

  2. I haven’t watched it yet – I intend to but I really don’t want to. I want to open the conversations with the kids. (teens). Australia has really terrible statistics for suicide, so it’s something we all need to do something about. But where to begin and how to address it are tricky. I figure talking is a starting point. #Forhteloveofblog

  3. I haven’t watched this yet, and am undecided if I will. In some ways I consider that I was so lucky to mostly grow up before the internet, and certainly before social media. It’s hard enough to handle as an adult at times, it must be very imposing for teenagers. #bloggerclubuk

  4. I read the book. I have not watched yet either, but the book is always better! I do not think I would have survived the judgement of social media…I have a 16 year old daughter and the pressure these kids have to get so many “likes” and “followers” is unbelievable! It sucks all the fun out of childhood.
    #bloggerclubuk

  5. I’ve heard about this but not watched it yet. We’ve been talking about this a lot recently; we’re a touch premature possibly with a 3-year-old and 10-month-old, but like you the whole thing scares the crap out of me! Like you said, at least we had the sanctuary of home, now there’s no switching off… I’m going to give this a watch tonight I think. #BloggerClubUK

  6. I don’t want to watch this but I’ve heard about it. We even had advice from the high school about it for parents. I kept my children off social media when they wanted to be on it but were too young, and this allowed them time to watch their friends who are using it, start to be upset by it. So that meant they were turned off the idea. It might not last but it certainly has given us some years grace. #SharingTheBlogLove

  7. We’re about halfway through this, and whilst I’m gripped and love it on an entertainment level my mind does stray to my teenage son a lot as a watch…I’m not sure whether to encourage him to see it, I think I need to make it to the end first. The issues raised in it resonate a lot with me, as someone who was bullied herself, and I know my son has seen the ugly side of high school too. Social media plays a large part, and now we’ve been bitten by it I wont be so open to letting my younger sons use it quite so freely.
    #BloggerClubUK

  8. It’s funny because when I watched this, I got the impression Hannah’s parents, particularly her mother, didn’t have a lot of time for her. Not that she neglected her, just that she was so wrapped up in her own problems that she chose not to see that something was seriously wrong with Hannah. Of course we were only getting through Hannah’s eyes so it may well have been distorted to fit Hannah’s feeling of everyone being against her.
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂
    Debbie

  9. I’m not sure that I could watch it, as I’m sure that I will floods of tears too. I can completely understand what your are thinking and feeling, and I think that I would feel exactly the same as you. All that we can is be there for them as much as we can, and show our love and support as much as we can too. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG, be great to see you again next week. Claire x

  10. It is horrible because so many seem impacted by social media or bullying. I’m hoping N follows his cousins to continue being fairly laid back #sharingthebloglove

  11. This is on my list of things to watch, in my copious spare time of course. Sounds like a tough and scary show. People these days seem to lack empathy and common kindnesses that I had growing up. Times are so different and the world has so much hate. We need to work hard for our sons and daughters o make this planet we call home better, safer, kinder. I don’t know how to but we must. #fortheloveofblog xo

  12. I’m not sue that I would be able to watch this, I worry so much about the future of our girls that I think this would stick with me for far too long. Sometimes the world can be a very scary place. Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

  13. I definitely had my struggles at school with fallings out with different friendship groups and feeling like an outsider. But I feel grateful that we didn’t have the added pressure of social media, which I do think has made being a teenager that much more pressured and increased bullying. It’s really difficult to know how best to handle it – realistically, although I’d like to think that my children will talk to me openly, I remember being a teenager, and I don’t think I would have shared those kind of worries with my parents. So how best to equip our children to manage their emotions and have a good sense of self esteem? I’m glad I have years ahead to work that out to be honest! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • I’m glad I have years ahead too but I am so so conscious to keep open conversations with mine now in the hope they will always feel like they can talk to me. Social media is a major concern x

  14. I hadn’t heard of this series, but it sounds extremely relevant to our times. My daughter is only three at the moment so by the time she’s a teenager social media will have evolved further in ways we probably can’t even imagine. It’s a scary idea. Her future worries me for lots of different reasons, I just hope we can instill in her enough self-esteem and strength to get her through all the problems she could be faced with. #fortheloveofblog

  15. Ooh this is interesting as I have seen the first 3 episodes so far, although I worry that if I watch all of it I will be a nervous wreck by the end of it. My children are pre-school age but I still find myself sat in bed at night worrying about when their 12 and if they will get bullied and all sorts. I am dreading the consequences of all this social media that they have access to now and the dip in mental health with children as young as 4 feeling depressed and anxious. I battle away hoping to do my very best in raising children in this world. xx #Dreamteam

  16. Oh I’m not sure that I could watch this. I think it would haunt me. My two are still very young but I am terrified of the social pressures that I know that they will both have to face, and knowing that I can no longer wrap them in a snuggly blanket and keep them close. I think you are absolutely spot on in that keeping the lines of communication open for them is so critical. Thank you for linking with #DreamTeam x

  17. We have just watched this. The last few episodes weee defiantly a touch watch for me. Something about being a mum now makes me think about these things more. The fact I am now responsible for a small person who I need to guide and look after. This is scary as hell! i hope I can guide her well though and hope that she knows I am always here for her.

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