It sometimes feels like it’s tough to bond with teenagers. Really, though, the trick is to find something to do together that you both enjoy! One way to do that is to find a TV series that interests both of you so you can watch it together. Nowadays, though, most people don’t have cable. So instead, here’s some of our favourite Netflix shows to watch with your teens.
Netflix Shows to Watch With Your Teens
Whether you’re planning a weekend binge-watch or you want something that you can put on once a week for special bonding time, these Netflix series are great choices. Not only are they teen appropriate, but parents will also enjoy them too.
This one is popular with teens, especially girls. Part high school drama, part mystery; it’s easy to see why teens love this Netflix show. What really makes it distinct, though, is that the characters are actually Archie and the gang from the popular comic books (but with a much darker tone) with events revolving around the murder of a local teen boy, an affair between a 15-year-old student and an adult teacher, and competitive friendships. If you were into the comics as a kid this show could be a great way to bond with your teen.
Content warning: sex, sexual references, murder, swearing, objectification, competitive friendships, dysfunctional family relationships, violence
If your teens love superheroes, they’re going to love this show. It’s about a group of estranged siblings who come together when their father dies. They all have unique abilities and end up using them to stop a global apocalypse. Like any estranged family, there’s plenty of drama. It can also get pretty violent, so keep that in mind before putting it on for younger teens. The upside, though, is this is one of those shows that teens and adults will both be able to enjoy.
Content warning: violence, addiction, drug use, sexual references, dysfunctional blended family, language
The Queen’s Gambit
Based on Walter Tevis’s novel, The Queen’s Gambit is a fictional series about a young female chess prodigy in the 1960s. I just finished watching this series with my fifteen-year-old daughter and we both really enjoyed it. Have a read of 8 Things We Can All Learn From “The Queen’s Gambit” if you don’t mind spoilers. My favourite part of this show was the enduring friendship that was highlighted at the end of the series.
The bonus of watching this show is that it will make you and/or your teen want to invest in a chess set if you don’t own one already. Chess set sales were at a record high after the release of this show!
Content warning: addiction, drugs, alcohol, sexual references, violence, mental illness, suicide, language
If you (or your teen) are fans of the Simpsons, then definitely add this show by its creator to your watch list. The main character is a spunky teen girl who’s not very interested in being a stereotypical princess. Don’t let this fool you, though. Disenchantment is full of crude humour, animated violence, and mature themes best suited for teens 14+.
Like many of the other Netflix shows to watch with your teens, this one appeals to both boys and girls, as well as parents with a dark sense of humour.
Content warning: violence, sexual references, alcohol, mild language
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Yet another remake from your own teen years, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a modern take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch. While it’s much darker than its 90’s counterpart, this show is still great for new and old fans alike.
With dark themes, gore, and a more mature tone, this show has real Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibes. And if you both love this one, consider streaming Buffy with your teen next! Be warned, however, the first episode which is set on the eve of Sabrina’s 16th birthday includes an orgy scene. I’m glad I watched this without my kids first otherwise I may have thought it was suitable for my tweens. Best suited for ages 16+.
Content warning: sex, sexual references, death, violence, alcohol, language
If you and your teens are fans of sci-fi then this series is definitely one to check out. Almost a century after the world has ended, this generation of kids have been born in space. The 100 consists of 100 juvenile delinquents sent back down to Earth to see if it’s inhabitable.
Like most dystopian stories, this one is violent. Teens will love seeing people their age deal with the challenges they find on Earth, and parents will find the story interesting enough to watch too.
Content warning: violence, death, sexual references, language
Remember watching the original one as a kid? The Tanner family’s adventures continue as DJ Tanner-Fuller shares a home with her sister Stephanie and friend Kimmy who help raise her three boys. The remake is great, so if you’ve been meaning to check it out consider doing it with your teen. And while they may not want to admit they like it, they will secretly enjoy watching it!
Content warning: sexual references, drugs, alcohol, language
Ragnarok is one of the newer Netflix shows to watch with your teens out there. Set in a fictional Norway town, it combines modern issues with Norse mythology for a story most teens will love. Even though it seems like an adult’s show, the main characters are actually relatable teenagers.
The crux of the story is that their small town is being affected by pollution and climate change. A teen boy, who embodies the spirit of Thor, sets out to stop it – and hopefully prevent another Ragnarok.
Content warning: bullying, violence, smoking, death, alcohol, language
Remember what it was like going through puberty? It might be in the past for you, but your teen is probably still dealing with its effects. Big Mouth is a vulgar comedy that touches exactly on that subject; the characters are all late middle schoolers who are just coming to terms with their changing bodies and budding sexuality.
The show itself is full of sex and masturbation jokes, including sexual terms, although likely nothing your teen hasn’t heard before. That kind of content is exactly why you should watch this show with your teens – to let them know you’re comfortable with that subject matter, and that you’re available for awkward conversations.
Content warning: sexual references, language, drugs, alcohol, depression
This is just one choice out of dozens of animes on Netflix right now. As a parent, you’re probably wondering why you’d ever want to watch something like this with your teens, but you should give it a chance. Especially if you’re trying to connect with a teenager who isn’t interested in anything else.
One Punch Man is probably one of the better choices, though. It’s a parody of action hero type shows, and both adults and teens find it funny and interesting. If you were fans of anime like DragonballZ when you were younger then you’ll definitely enjoy this series with your kids.
Content warning: violence, sexual references, language
13 Reasons Why
This is a little old at this point, but if your teen hasn’t checked it out yet definitely add it to your list. It revolves around the aftermath of a classmate’s suicide, and the reasons she left as to why it was committed. Since the show touches on teen suicide, bullying, and other social (but real) themes it’s a great show to watch with your teen. That way you’re ready to elaborate on the show’s subjects when you feel appropriate. I thoroughly enjoyed the series but will not personally allow my children to watch this show until they are at least 16 years old.
Content warning: mental illness, suicide, depression, sex, rape, sexual references, alcohol, drugs, school shootings, violence, murder, bullying, language
Why You Should Watch Netflix Shows to Watch With Your Teens
Growing up, you probably had a few shows you watched with your parents. Nowadays we’ve ditched curling up on the couch each week as a family for streaming services like Netflix. That means parents need to make more of a concerted effort to watch TV with their kids.
Watching anything, including Netflix shows, with your teens will not only give you a bonding opportunity; you’ll also be able to see what they’re interested in, what they find funny, and have more opportunities to start a dialogue and engage in conversations.