Recently I watched a preview of a video called Over 18 created to kick-start important conversations about pornography. In the video, they interview a 13-year-old recovering porn addict who found porn at the age of 9. Homeschooled and raised by involved parents, this young boy discovered and viewed porn while working on homework in the same room as his mom. Thankfully, one day his mother uncovered his search history on his computer. After multiple attempts at filters and other methods to safeguard him, the only way to help their son get clean was to cut off all internet service to the house. We are in a battle to protect our kids from the impact of porn and we must equip ourselves to help.
In the Awaken-Love class, I constantly hear stories of husbands that started viewing porn as kids, 6, 9, 12 years old. These men want to be free and many of them are taking good steps – accountability partners, counseling, and honest disclosure with their wife. But the patterns they need to reverse have been ingrained for years. Rather than wait years for recovery, how do we bring porn into the light early in order to minimize damage?
Couples impacted by porn understand the importance of open communication with their kids about sex, but do you?
Our church hosts a yearly retreat for moms and daughters, or dads and sons. It is designed to open up conversations about becoming a woman, or a man, and living with sexual integrity. Kids 10-12 years and their parent listen to speakers and spend time talking one on one.
But how many parents actually follow through afterward with regular conversations about sex?
Because how many of us are actually comfortable talking about sex ourselves?
And why would a 10- year old that has never had conversations with their parent about sex suddenly feel comfortable engaging in that conversation?
Get Comfortable Talking
The first step for any parent that wants to protect their child from the impacts of porn is to get comfortable talking about sex themselves. You cannot fake it. Your kids will pick up on your discomfort a mile away. More than the actual conversation, your kids will remember whether your anxiety at their questions.
Educate yourself by reading books and start talking to your spouse about everything from masturbation to oral sex. Talk to your friends to ask how they are addressing conversations about sex or porn. One of the huge benefits of taking an Awaken-Love class is learning to talk about sex. Time after time we hear from women about not just the great conversations with their husband, but with their kids. Take the first step of protecting your kids by signing up for an Awaken-Love class.
Don’t wait until church or school introduces the topic. Don’t wait until your child has already been exposed or doesn’t want to talk about sex. Start talking about sex and pornography now. Try to step into every opportunity. If you talk about sex it will not tempt your kids to have sex. Talking about porn will not make your kids go look for it. Your kids will find out about porn sooner than you think. Open up conversations now.
Answers questions from curious preschoolers or grade school kids about their body or how babies are made. Read Good Pictures Bad Pictures to bring up the topic. Ask your middle schooler what they have heard about sex on the bus. Ask both boys and girls, have you ever seen anything on the internet that made you feel uncomfortable or like you wanted to see more. Create a safe place by not getting angry, upset or frightened. Start talking today and keep talking.
Share About God’s Gift
Too many of us only remember negative messages about sex or the bare basics of how to make a baby. Your kids need to understand that sex in marriage is a gift from God to cherish and look forward to. Share how sex helps to make husband and wife into one. Set up realistic expectations by explaining that sex gets better and better as you get to know each other and that you are always learning something new. Share how you sex provides comfort and refreshment in marriage. Help your kids understand the importance of mutuality in sex and that porn teaches the opposite. Show your kids what an intimate marriage looks like and give them something to look forward to.
Porn is no longer just a boy issue. Conversations about sex and pornography need to happen on a regular basis with both your sons and daughters. Become a safe place for your kids to be totally honest with you and help them navigate living in a culture saturated with sex. Get comfortable talking about sex, share the full story of sexuality and start talking now. For more ideas for protecting your kids from porn read PORN What’s a Parent To Do