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We’re all busy, which makes having deep conversations with our kids a challenge. Even if it’s not always easy, we just can’t give up on talking and listening to our teens. One of the easiest ways to keep the lines of communication open is to touch on topics that interest your teen. Ask about what they’re experiencing, whether it be the latest assignments at school, their upcoming plans, or their favorite TV shows.
Watching TV shows together is a particularly important way to connect with our teens, since you can touch on serious topics and use the action of the show to spark organic conversations. Even if teens really want to be independent, they still need our guidance. We have years of experience under our belts to talk about the big issues, but we can (hopefully) still remember what it was like to be a teen. Here are a few TV shows that offer fodder to spark your conversations with your teen.
The HBO series Euphoria is based on an Israeli series of the same name by Ron Lashna and Dafna Levin. With this kaleidoscopic view, Filmmaker Sam Levinson raids his own personal life experiences with drug addiction. The show explores a teen’s journey of self-discovery through sex and drugs.
Beyond the standard teen-focused series, there’s a lot to talk about with Euphoria. It’s raunchy, real, and uncensored, with body diversity, interracial couples, and LGBTQ+ community inclusion. You’ve got to love the characters, but they discuss serious topics like stalking, domestic abuse, drug abuse, and much more.
Watch Euphoria on HBO Max.
The Skins TV series still explores controversial topics, but it was probably one of the first such shows to discuss the issues without glossing them over. First launched in 2007, the show covered divorce, eating disorders, friendships, inferiority complexes, losing virginity, peer pressure, and wild parties.
Skins is a ’90s grunge series, which captures the teen experience and offers lots of fodder for discussion in depicting real issues faced by teens. For its time, it was believable and funny, covering the topics without the raw intensity but real enough, all the same.
Watch Skins on Hulu – you can get a one month free trial here.
While Skins may represent an earlier version of Euphoria, HBO Max’s Genera+ion might be a closer comparison, even though it was canceled after one season. Like the other teen-focused shows, it explores young love, teen pregnancy, and other controversial topics. It’s got all the color, gossip, and angst you’d probably expect. Needless to say, there’s lots to talk about with this one.
Watch Genera+ion on HBO Max.
It’s the Netflix version of Euphoria. It focuses on the issues faced by modern-day teens, including surviving terrorist attacks, school pressure, teen romances, justice, rape, immigration, and more. It was adapted from Kate Cappiello’s 2013 play, Slut. Like the play, the TV series focuses on five high school students as they transition into adulthood. They are all awful to each other and to themselves.
The show uses humor, the teen-night club experience, and teen romance as outlets for teen angst. It’s predictably grim and even a bit depressing to see all that life throws their way. It’s fraught with cruel realities, which made the show popular and well-received by its audience. But the show was also fraught with racist allegations involving Ming Peiffer and two other writers of color for the show, who quit in protest.
Watch Grand Army on Netflix.
Even in their most raw and real flavors, these shows offer a view of teen life that’s important. It’s worth talking about how real or unreal the depictions are, but also how humanity, friendship, and kindness shine through, even in the darkest situations. These topics are serious and real. Yes, these are young actors playing a part, but they’re representing situations and relationships that happen every day.
What are your thoughts on TV shows to watch with your teen? Tell us below!
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