Euphoria is a new series on HBO that is TV-MA; however, it’s from a teen’s perspective of life. I finished the whole season of Euphoria, and it left me feeling a bit sad for Rue and most of the teenagers. I, for one, love the makeup looks and the show’s musical selections. Of course, I also like the concept and the subject matter so intricately explored. Again, Euphoria is a very mature show that deals with a lot of nudity, sexual affairs, and drug use. This isn’t a show to be watched if you think your teen will be highly susceptible to influence or if your teen is not aware of things such as sex, substance use, and more. If your teen is aware of these types of behavior, indulges in a few of them, or has in the past, this is a great show to ask them to watch or potentially watch with them. If you’ve been reading the blog enough, I often talk about TV shows and how to watch TV shows with your teen. I will link another blog post to discuss the best way to watch shows with your teenager to elicit information.
There are three common themes that I pulled from the show that I feel should be highlighted.
1. Parents being emotionally open is a primary key to their child’s development
So if you watch the show, you’ll notice that the main character experienced the considerable loss of her father. Rightfully so, it was stressful for everyone involved, which I’m sure we could all identify with. Through that journey, Rue learned a lot about medication because she took care of her father, and when Rue’s dad died, the family shut off emotionally from life. What I gathered from Rue was that the lack of grieving healthily, although there is no right way to grieve, impacted her relationships with addiction. The lack of suffering healthily or the lack of open communication around the loss seemed to affect the entire family. This leads me to believe that Rue’s substance use is directly tied to her father’s connection. Hear me out; I’m hypothesizing that since she had her first pill with her father in the room, using drugs became a way she still connected to his presence. That may seem far-fetched; however, bonding can also occur through substance use when we look at the symbolism. I wonder how Rue would have been if her mother had been open to discussing losing her husband.
2. Environment is paramount
This is the most layered reality, and I believe I will have to do a separate blog on this topic, but until then, let’s talk about how the environment impacts your child’s emotional and mental health. Rue went to a school with lots of dynamics that affected her ability to function. This happens often. Many schools and many parents do not understand it, and those that may understand it do not opt to take reasonable action. Since she was dealing with a substance issue, her isolating herself, not showing up for things, and not having a hobby continued to leave her in a position of wanting to use substances. Her environment was not conducive for a teen to stay clean. She went to the same places and hung out with the same people, which allowed her to live her old life. The takeaway is if your teenager is experiencing lots of discomfort, adverse behaviors, etc., consider their environment and how you can adjust to it for optimal health.
3. Positive Attention Matters
Often we look at teens and decide that because their peer group is the most crucial group to them, they don’t need healthy, positive adult/parental attention. A grave mistake and a more significant misconception than any other misconception about teen development: while watching this show, I realized none of the teenagers received any positive attention from their parents or any positive attention that wasn’t reliant on some accolade or accomplishment. It is a TV show, and maybe those aspects weren’t shown. However, it doesn’t change my stance. Parents must model positive attention. In the show, you notice several children going and coming as freely as they want to, engaging in risky behavior, and genuinely feeling unwanted or not liked. I’m not saying your teen won’t still choose other people or attention. As a parent, your voice still matters. Think about how you can give your teen positive attention as they grow through the most challenging part of their identity.
Thanks for reading today’s blog. If you haven’t already, check out the show Euphoria on HBO. Even if you don’t have a teenager yet, you have a preteen or younger child, feel free to watch this show for insight. I’ve heard a lot of different critiques of the show. Feel free to email me if you have any thoughts about this blog post or the show or if you have a team struggling with self-esteem issues.
If your teen is dealing with substance abuse issues, feel free to click here for additional resources and support.