As much as we try to make each day bright and cherry, there are things that are not so on the joy spectrum that we must address. When it is hard to find the right words, you can find the right series on Netflix. I have to say that this has been the month of the Anti-Fairy Tale theme presented in A Series of Unfortunate Events. What is so interesting about this series is that it addresses issues that our children don’t always think about or encounter.
The kids are actually amazed at how the Baudelaire children (Violet, Clause, and Sonny) continue to live and function under the unhospitable hosting of Count Olaf. My kids have to come to appreciate their chores even more, just watch the first episode and you will have an entirely new appreciation for kitchen duty. Nevertheless, this series, as the title rightly suggests, is definitely one that addresses themes that are discussed every day. Here are some of our tough topics of discussion.
Cell Phones and Internet – This is a loaded question and the guilt, oh boy. Yet, we need to let our kids know (especially our tweenager) about internet safety without scaring them. In their world of growing-up with cell phones and internet accessibility, it is hard to fathom that this could have a bad side. At the same time, this is their future and having immediate access to images, friends, and conversation at any time is a part of their world. I see how she runs between texts and messages, holding on to each response like a lifeline to approval. So, the movie Cyberbully shows how the smart phone and internet is like yet another accessory, but when that can change a smile into a frown, or a shadow of a doubt into satisfaction. Keep in mind that the content in this movie is not age appropriate for my girls, however, the frequency and constant turning to messaging from the devices is universal.
Now there are WhatsApp group chats and more WhatsApp group chats, creating layers of discussions and exclusivity. This can cause girls to feel left out, ignored, and even worse. Be aware of what is going on and monitor the conversations, I can’t stress this enough. Children do not understand the power their messages and messaging habits can have on their overall self worth. I found a lot of great resources over here on Common Sense Media https://www.commonsensemedia.org/cyberbullying.
Illness and Aging – A couple of years ago, my father lost his battle to a combination of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Watching a powerful and punctual person slowly decline is so painful. Since he has been gone, we have had a series of unfortunate illnesses and accidents. My mother fell and broke her wrist while at the same time my husband came down with a terrible case of bronchitis. The kids saw a lot of tears and scares, to put it mildly. When they see that their caregivers and providers are not up to par, this can be frightening. We made a big effort to keep things running as smoothly as possible at home, even though Daddy was falling asleep a lot more during the day. Even while doing homework he dosed off, we felt so badly and we are so happy that he is on the mend. We found Still Alice on Netflix a meaningful and very sad reality of this disease. Even though it is incredibly sad to see this process, it is inspiring to see how things can be handled by the victim and their family.Bullying – Oh, yes, the other ‘B’ word. Bullying has not been a stranger in this house and we have learned how to discuss this topic. Thanks to the world of smart phones, social networks, and texting, kids can be bullied in this way as well. Besides texting, just the mere fact that somebody may look or speak differently can bring on the bullying. We found The Fat Boy Chronicles a movie that deals bullying. A teenager, Jimmy Winterpock, encounters bullying when he transfers to a new school. Immediately judged by his appearance, he is the victim of bullying. A wonderful person underneath, Jimmy starts journaling and encounters his desire to get healthy and in shape. In shape and feeling confident, he is no longer the victim of bullying but a much sought after friend. I feel that it is important to know that no matter what size or style somebody has on the outside, it is what is inside that is most important. However, and this has been going on since the beginning of time, people are judged by these things first. It is most important that we find our inner voice and confidence and use that to empower our self-esteem.
I guess you could say, when you can’t find the right words to explain or express emotions, there is always Netflix. What are you dealing with these days? Have you watched something on Netflix that has helped you and your family understand and overcome the situation?