Is Squid Games OK For My Kids to Watch?

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Posted by: Sue Atkins

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Show notes:

In this episode:

  • Sibling Rivalry: Are You Still Competitive with Your Siblings as An Adult?
  • How Do You Deal with Your Co-parent Asking Your Children About Your New Life, Your New Home, Your New Partner?
  • Discover Your Child’s 5 Languages of Love



Squid Game

Schools around England are warning parents not to let their children watch Squid Game, after multiple reports of pupils copying the hit Netflix show in playgrounds.

The South Korean series has become a worldwide sensation and has topped Netflix charts in 90 countries. It has been rated appropriate for viewers aged 15 and older, with content warnings including sex, violence and suicide.

The show features debt-ridden characters competing in a series of children games for a huge cash prize – except, failure in any of the games results in death.

Common Sense Media


Parents need to know that the level of violence is very intense in Squid Game. Characters are systematically tortured and killed for the sadistic pleasure of a game master. Adults have sex, and there are threats of sexual violence: Women are grabbed by the hair and beaten. Themes concerning the highs one gets from gambling, winning, or conning money are a main focus.


Though too violent for young teens, there are some moral lessons peeking out behind the lines in this series. In Squid Game, the play between the clownish, down-on-his-luck main character, Gi-hun, and the cold killer behind the game he’s lured into creates an intriguing tension. The characters are nicely developed, and the production value of the series is extremely sleek. The human element lends depth.

But there is a lot of torture and murder to endure — no subtlety there — and the violence can come off as gratuitous. Some predictable plot points distract from the fine acting and the high-minded concept. Fans of dystopian thrillers will enjoy this series. Sensitive or younger viewers should avoid this one.

Sibling rivalry: why the hellish family dynamic long outlives childhood

A poll of 2,000 adults showed a quarter of people still fight with their brothers and sisters – about everything from careers, cars, holidays and cooking skills to, of course, their parents’ love

Children can react in many ways when a parent gets a new partner. They may find it difficult to adjust, even if you’ve been separated for some time. You need to be prepared for many possible reactions.

Introducing a new partner

You can help support your children by thinking carefully about how you introduce your new partner to them. You may find the following tips useful:

Don’t rush. This is especially important if your new relationship may have played a role in your separation. Children need time to accept their parents’ relationship is over. If new partners are introduced too soon they may feel a parent is being replaced, no matter how much you tell them otherwise.

Be open. Where possible, let them know you’re feeling ready to let someone into your life. This can help prepare them. You may in particular want to consider this if you’ve started dating. Children don’t need all the details but an awareness of your situation can be useful.

Be patient. Your children need time to get to know your new partner. Your new partner may also need help with knowing what to expect from your children, especially if they don’t have children of their own.

Be reassuring. Your children may struggle to accept a new partner. It’s a big shift for children to accept that they aren’t your sole focus. Let them know they’re still your priority though.

Keep talking. Encourage your children to talk to you about their worries, concerns and other feelings on an ongoing basis.

Planning the first meeting with your new partner

Plan how a meeting between your new partner and children may happen. Make choices on the following;

A neutral location

Timing – when no one has to rush

How you’ll introduce each family member

Some ideas about conversation starters (or activities with young children). E.g. focusing on what your children and new partner may have in common

Possible distractions e.g. having a meal, activities for children, play centres or group activities

When to speak to your children and new partner separately about expectations of the meeting

Once you’ve got some ideas on the points above you may wish to share these with your new partner and older children to help everyone involved to know what to expect.

My children met my ex’s new partner

You may find it hard to think kindly towards your ex’s new partner. It’s very common for their new relationship to spark in you old feelings of past hurt.

Nevertheless, when your ex introduces their new partner to your children, it’s important to try and approach things in as positive a light as you can. At the very least, you need to be neutral. Your children need to make up their own minds.

Coping tips

You may find the following tips helpful:

Remember not to interrogate your children about their other parent and the new partner.

Focus on your children’s experience for example, have they enjoyed themselves or not?

Let your children know it’s OK for them to talk about their other parent’s new partner.

Encourage your children to talk to you about their worries, concerns and other feelings on an ongoing basis.

Address your emotions away from your children if you need time to come to terms with the new relationship.

Consider counselling if you have unresolved feelings from your relationship.

Practice being neutral

This is not an easy skill, especially if past hurts from your separation still feel very real. Write a few sentences about the following topics:

How you feel about your ex’s relationship with his new partner

How you feel specifically about your ex’s new partner

Look at your words in terms of what you’ve written. Could you change the words into something neutral that your children could hear? For example,

‘I hate how much money they throw about’ could be turned into ‘I’m glad my children benefit from the money they spend’.

If responding neutrally when your children speak about your ex and their new partner feels too difficult it may be about practicing not commenting at all. Write down three statements that you could say at times like these. For example, ‘Sounds like you all had a great time’ or ‘I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself’.

Join the Parent Hackers Club

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