How do you lure your kiddos away from their screens? With screens! As my kiddos are getting older, I’m learning the best way to coax them out of their bedrooms and off their phones is to dangle a kickass TV show in front of them. And Holden and I just started watching the PERFECT one. Stranger Things! Yeah, it’s not new anymore but it’s new to him, and it is so perfect for a tween. Here’s why:
1. It has just enough scary to be scary but not too scary so they freak out and get nightmares and insist on sleeping starfish style in the middle of your bed every single night for the next century.
2. Stranger Things makes nerdy kids look cool. If you saw Mike, a scrawny kid with a bowl cut, walking down the street, you’d never say, “I wanna be THAT kid.” But by the end of episode 1, you’re like, “F being popular. I wanna play some Dungeons and Dragons!”
3. It makes kids who are different seem awesome. The first time I watched Stranger Things, I wondered what the heck is wrong with Dustin. The second time I watched it, I thought, the whole world should be more like Dustin!! He’s constantly optimistic, crazy smart, super endearing, and oh yeah, he has cleidocranial dysplasia so his teeth never grew in. But after just a few minutes, you pretty much stop noticing that and only notice how awesome he is.
4. It celebrates being loyal to your friends. If your friend was kidnapped and taken to the upside-down world that’s covered in some freaky demon that looks like a carnivorous large intestine, what would you do? You’d get the F out of there and call 911. Not these kids. They’re so loyal to each other, they literally look for the portal to go find their friend.
5. It takes place in 80’s. Back when kids rode their bikes all day, played board games in the basement, and since they didn’t have cell phones, they had to figure out how to build their own radio tower so they could communicate with their friends. I mean sure, the 80’s clothing was horrendous and perms should be illegal, but Stranger Things reminds us of the retro stuff we wish would come back.
6. It’s full of strong female characters. From Nancy who’s ridiculously smart, to Max who makes the guys practically beg to hang out with her, to Erica Sinclair who is brilliant and fierce, to Eleven, who is quite possibly the most badass female character in the whole wide world.
7. Speaking of strong female characters, it has an awesome lesbian character. I know, I know, it feels like every show is doing this these days, but Stranger Things did an amazing job at making us fall in love with her and then reveal her orientation in such a natural way that it didn’t hit us over the head with it.
8. Every episode ends on a cliffhanger, which means your kids won’t want to stop watching it and you’ll binge-watch every episode together until you’ve watched the entire series. Which means you hung out with your tween for TWENTY-TWO HOURS, pretty much a world record!!!! So you win at parenting. Like you literally come in first place.
And since Holden and I are about to finish the whole series, please let me know in the comments a show you like to watch with your tween or teen so I can dangle a new show in front of him and keep him from locking himself in his bedroom (which coincidentally looks a lot like the upside-down world, and smells like it).
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