Love Simon, Are You Ready for Them to Grow Up
At 10 we allowed our oldest to watch probably one of the best young adult theme movies made in the last 20 years. Was ten to young? Nope. We already had the sex talk, we already had the drug talk and even the talk about suicide. The film centers around the title character and his story of not only coming out but being pushed out of the closet by a classmate. The film not only deals with the topic sexual identity but it also touches base on the subject blackmail and social pressures. The story is wealth of discussion with your kids and coming of age with friendships.
The movie has some familiar faces, like Katherine Langford, from Netflix tv show 13 Reasons Why, which was a wake up call in it self. While Simon is certainly a complete swing to the left in the subject of teen issues, Both really shed the light on how our minds at the age of 11-17 is a crazy mix of emotion and pressure to live how our parents and friends see us. Now it’s been 25 year since I was in high school and almost 30 years since middle school. Times have improved and I am proud that kids are being accepted more and more as the generations progress.
Simon shows us how while progress is made, it’s still a struggle for a lot of kids to let the world see who they are. Another great aspect of this movie is the story telling and how the writer Becky Albertalli gave each kid not only their ow voice but just enough time to tell a little about their story. The screenplay for the film is adapted from Albertalli’s novel Simon vs. Homo Sapiens Agenda. Now my child is growing up in a progressive, positive environment and I know we aren’t your typical family, so our rules can be eye opening to most. All that aside I think this movie is great for an 11 year old. I want my kids to be kids, but the one thing I took away from 13 Reasons Why is that our children are not living in 1988 anymore and with the growing world of social media comes new social pressures. I could not imagine dealing with all of that at 11. Overall Love Simon, is not only real love story but a reality for so many kids out there, better yet almost every young adult.
Going back to13 Reasons, don’t give up the opportunity to prepare yourself for what is to come. Junior High and High School is not what you went through. I recommend every parent watch this show at least before your teen hits 13. Should your child watch it? I’ve watched both season now, and yes the first season is intense but the second season does bring it all into perspective. I suggest your child be at least 13 to watch the show. More importantly, my advice is this is a show that parents need to watch with their children. 13 Reasons is not only controversial but its also complex even for a 15 or 16 year old. To prepare yourself, I do suggest you watch the first season or at least the first 4-6 episodes. That way you are prepared for those discussions.
Suicide is real and 1 in 4 kids will struggle with suicide thoughts at least once in their childhood to young adulthood. Youth from age 9-16 are the largest age group to attempt suicide. And four out of 5 suicides exhibit clear warning signs. Now I know the media has reported that since 13 Reasons Why there has been a sharp increase in suicides. I call bullshit on blaming a TV show for a 1% increase in 2015-16. You need to look at the numbers as a whole, in the 90s those numbers were a whole 10% higher. I think there was plenty of bullshit in the world, like the 2016 election to really throw kids into a loop. Girls are still the highest risk group and lets be honest, the 2016 election was an attack on women! Bottom line, suicide is not predicated on one thing. So be aware and talk to your kids. When we stop talking, we loose them in the silence and their minds will seek the worst.
Back to Love Simon, there really won’t be a need for a big discussion but you will find yourself talking about heartbreak, friends hurting friends or even alcohol. Again the divide between parent and child is how these films and tv shows give parents the ability to start a discussion and make sure your kids can come to you when they need you and when they don’t need you.