Finding common ground with your teen can feel like mission impossible — we get it. When they aren’t tethered to their phones, they’re too busy ignoring you or accusing you of ruining their lives to carve out any quality time. At least that’s how it feels some days, right?
But we all know how important it is to squeeze that time in with teens so they know you care. And while meeting them in the middle can be tricky, maybe you haven’t been utilizing a secret weapon: TV. As long as you set limits where watching is concerned, tuning in occasionally isn’t going to ruin your teen. Bonus? You can actually use TV as a bonding tool.
You’re in luck too. The slang might make you scratch your head, but today’s young adult TV shows are often just as enjoyable for Mom and Dad as they are for your teen. Need some ideas to get you started? Ask your teen to try one of these shows with you — it can be your thing.
Here's the hard truth about having a teen: You're going to blink and they'll be headed to college. If you're a fan of Black-ish, definitely don't miss Grown-ish — this smart spinoff follows Zoey (the adorable Yara Shahidi), the eldest daughter of Dre (Anthony Anderson) and Bow (Tracee Ellis Ross) as she tries to find her footing as a college student.
‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina looks to be nothing like the '90s sitcom we all knew and loved. It looks — dare we go there? — even better.
Here's what we know so far and why we can't wait to tune into the Netflix series. According to showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the show will shake things up with its format. "Sabrina is the heroine in this series of mini-movies," Aguirre-Sacasa told Entertainment Weekly. It will also apparently include an Exorcist-themed episode.
Plus, imagine how cool it will be to watch the Sabrina that will define the view of that iconic character for your child's generation.
Legacies is a study in silver linings for fans of The Originals. While that series, centered on a family of power-hungry, thousand-year-old vampires, is ending after five seasons, it's getting a successor. So don't fret, Mama — you can still get your Mikaelson fix! And you get to enjoy it with your kid too.
Per the series synopsis, Legacies will tell "the story of the next generation of supernatural beings at The Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted." It will feature Klaus Mikaelson's daughter Hope, Alaric Saltzman's twins and other supernatural young adults.
For starters, this CW series stars Taye Diggs. And, really, who doesn't need a little more Taye Diggs in their life? But it also stars a wildly talented young cast including Daniel Ezra, Michael Evans Behling, Bre-Z, Cody Christian and more.
Given that the teen drama was inspired by the real-life story of NFL player Spencer Paysinger, expect it to also be filled with teachable moments for your high-schooler.
We all long ago pledged our loyalty and allegiance to the original Charmed. And while it's especially tempting to write the series off before it starts considering Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano and Rose McGowan don't seem so psyched about it, it looks really good, y'all.
Although the baseline about sisters who use their witchcraft to fight the forces of evil appears to be intact, the reboot introduces a diverse young cast — including a lesbian. That sort of inclusivity paired with the series' feminist roots makes it a perfect pick to tune into with your strong-minded and socially conscious teen.
Marvel’s ‘Cloak & Dagger’
Based on the Marvel Comics characters of the same name, Cloak & Dagger tells the story of two teens with superpowers who happen to fall for each other romantically. As complex as their lives (and teenage emotions) already are, though, the way they feel about each other can make things even more challenging.
This is a fun watch for the obvious reasons: superheroes! But it also deals with some very real issues teens go through every day and can be hesitant to talk about. This series could open those doors for you.
‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’
Raise your hand if you were even more excited than your kid when they asked to read Lemony Snicket's book series, A Series of Unfortunate Events. *Raises hand* Smart, funny, dark, entertaining, informative — this series has it all. Now, raise your hand again if you couldn't wait to watch the Netflix series when it launched. *Raises both hands*
The chances are good you'd watch this beautifully filmed show even if your teen weren't in the room. However, it'll be much more meaningful if you ask them to join you. They may even pick up a few useful skills from the endlessly resourceful Baudelaire children.
Tune into one episode of Riverdale, and you'll quickly see why this CW series became an instant hit when it premiered in 2016. Here, you get the benefit of having all of your favorite Archie characters, but you'll get to experience them in a new, exciting way with this iteration, which remixes familiar themes and aesthetics from shows like Twin Peaks and Pretty Little Liars, making for truly entertaining television. Plus, thanks to an all-star young Hollywood cast, your teen is probably already a loyal viewer. You will be too when you realize some of the biggest heartthrobs from your youth also star: Skeet Ulrich, Luke Perry, Robin Givens, Molly Ringwald…. wait, when did they get old enough to have fictional teenage children?
Another strong YA show from the Marvel universe, Runaways stars a superhero team of the same name — six teenagers who realize their parents are part of a criminal organization collectively known as the Pride.
This show will give you an organic opportunity to remind your teen that they have it easy. I mean, at least you're not an evil mastermind, right?
If you ask us, there simply aren't enough onscreen explorations of merpeople. But this drama does just that, and it's way more complex and grown-up than the fairy-tale mermaids your kids watched growing up.
In addition to some really cool special effects, you and your teen can discuss things like local lore, marine biology and the impact humans can have on marine life (if you're so inclined).
A brand-new series, The Innocents is so far a bit of an enigma. The supernatural love story follows runaway teens Harry and June, who just want to be together — but who make a discovery along the way that changes everything.
The Innocents is moody enough to be a hit with your high schooler but has plenty of soul and intrigue to keep you hooked too.
Full disclosure: This is one of the more graphic shows on the list. There's definitely a fair amount of violence, gore, blood and even some sex. But if you're the type of parent who believes in being forthcoming about those sorts of things, give this show a shot.
A post-apocalyptic series, it has an endlessly interesting premise: A group of troubled young people living in a space habitat is sent back to Earth to see if it is once again safe. Not only do many of them survive, but they go on to find other survivors and form their own primitive societies. Well, that's it in a nutshell anyway. There's a lot more to unpack, so grab some popcorn and ask your teen to join you in catching up.
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