How To Talk To Your Kids About Pornography

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*Please note: I love Jesus and the result of that love is the source of all of my thoughts, acts, and direction to the best of my mostly inept abilities. However, this post is chock-full of practical advice for those that don’t love Jesus and still hate porn.  Please let me know what you think…this blog is our conversation.  

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Once when I was twenty and had cartilage I chased a young man down the street who was trying to steal from the bar and grill where I worked.

To this day, I’m still not even sure what happened.

Something came over me, I saw some red and next thing I know I’m clawing at his back while he gives a couple of donkey kicks to get me off of him.

As it turned out, he was faster than me. Gaining momentum and dropping the stolen booty, he raced down the street with the cover of darkness hiding his trail.

I did manage to rip the shirt off of his back and pretty sure I got some skin under my nails.

There was something about the wrong that young man committed, and was about to get away with, and the flagrancy with which he did it that ignited an irrational, uncontrollable and raging fire in my belly.

That almost scratches the surface of how I feel about pornography.

Almost.

I didn’t even pay much attention to pornography until last March when it quietly, but firmly, knocked on the front door of my perfectly manicured suburban home (you can read about this mad mama’s experience here)

Pornography is no longer the monster under our beds that strikes in the dark.

It is the beast that sits at the table with you in your home with its hand around your family’s throat.

You may whisper ‘loco’ under your breath at my strong words much the same way Jose the cook did after watching me chase the thief those many moons ago in college, but you must not deny the lifetime of damage it is wreaking.

Studies are beginning to show that pornography is more addictive and a harder habit to break than cocaine.

Have you ever seen the effects of someone in the ravages of a drug addiction?

Flip that on the inside and multiply it and then we can begin to see what pornography does to a person.

What about a person that is eight? Or nine? Or twelve?

It’s absolutely devastating.

I believe two things with my whole heart:

  1. this generation of kids has the capacity to rise up and lead in a way we haven’t even experienced yet
  2. we are in a new world and they are in serious trouble

During my interview with the counselor (listed below) about all of these matters, there was only one time when hot tears pricked the back of my eyes:

‘You have to remember,’ she said softly, ‘the kids who have been exposed to pornography have been wounded. They’re hurt.’

Our babies are hurting.

Not just mine.

Not just yours.

Ours. 

So…I will run all loco-like all day down the street advocating for these children and chasing the thief of our families.

Will you join me?

Let’s get some skin under our nails, friends.

 Just The Facts, Ma’am

*(gathered from several sources and an average taken from all):

Warning: once you’ve read these…you can no longer say you don’t know and it’s very, very hard to swallow.

*Porn sites get more visitors every month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined

*30% of all data transferred across the Internet is pornography

*70% of men and 30% of women watch pornography

*66% of young men and 16% of young women view porn at least once a week

*2/3 of professionals have found porn on employees work computers

*1 out of 8 of all searches online are for erotic content

*men are 543% more likely to view porn than women

*2/3 of college-age men and 1/2 of college-age women say that viewing porn is an acceptable way to express one’s sexuality

Facts listed in my first post that I can’t get out of my head:

*The average age of introduction to online pornography is now eight.
*By eighth grade, almost 100% of boys and 80% of girls have been exposed to online pornography.
*The neurochemical dopamine is central to all addictions. The amount of dopamine released in the brain when viewing pornography is similar to using drugs like cocaine.
*The brain actually begins to rewire itself because of the artificial stimulation it receives from pornography.

 

Interview with a Counselor

Sometimes when I go to bed at night, I make a wish that I will wake up and be Ada Ferguson.  If you don’t know her, I’m sad.  Ada Ferguson is a Counselor and Coordinator for Celebrate Recovery (which covers sexual addictions and pornography) and all-around beautiful human.  I had the pleasure of sitting with Ada and to ask her questions about how we can help our families in dealing with this beast.

Me: What would you say about pornography as a whole to parents today?

Ada: Get out of denial. This is a real and present danger in our society. It has to be addressed.

Me: How soon do you talk to your kids about pornography?

Ada: You used to be able to wait. Now the time is as soon as they have access to computers or before you give them a phone.  Tell them as much information as they can understand at that level.  Each year, build more and more.  What exactly is it that they are needing right then? Is it information because they ask a lot of questions? Is it security? Figure that out and have conversations accordingly.  As parents, we usually don’t have to give them the whole picture like we think they are asking.

Me: How do we address the situation of stumbling upon porn when the child was searching for something appropriate?   How do we convey how wrong what he has found is without shaming him and keeping those lines of communication open to talk about it when it comes up?  

Ada: Dialogue will be open as long as the child feels safe and not embarrassed or ashamed.  This is key in conversations with women.  (80% of communication is through body language and tone and not actual words) When a child sees you have a negative reaction, he thinks, ‘I’m not going to tell you anymore because I see that I’m upsetting you.’

Jesus despised shame. Shame is not from God. Condemnation and shame have no place in these conversations. God shows us right and wrong. He doesn’t say, ‘Bad girl.’ He says, ‘I love you and I want this part of your life to be different because I want the best for you.’ Conviction is sweet and loving. It’s coming alongside your child and saying, ‘I see you really struggled here. I love you and I want to help you.’

Me: What can we do right now to groom our kids to be set apart and to be leaders and not followers?  

Ada: Obviously, take a stand against black and whites:  we always say no stealing, killing, lying, etc. But there are areas that are ‘gray’.  Either we don’t cover them or they come up before we get a chance to.  Kids want to be strong, but they just don’t know how or that ‘this is wrong.’ It’s hard for them to discern. Have the answers settled.  If they can get this mindset, they will be strong.

My sister has said, ‘We’ve got to make decisions and live our life based on principle and not pressure.’

A note: Ada gave me a handout that I will put a link to a PDF later this week that covers 3 essential principles for Gray Areas and the scripture to back it up.  It is good stuff for kids and for adults.

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Me: What happens if your child has been exposed to pornography already?

Ada: If they’ve been exposed, parent, take the time to pray with your child. Ask for the restoration of innocence. Your child has been hurt. You intercede for your child. Be disappointed. Be grieved. But this is where healing has to happen or the sad becomes a mad, and eventually…a bad.  Stay at the sad and heal it there.  (from the sad/mad/bad model)

 

More Practical Tips:

 

  • Catch your kids in the talking mood. Mine like to talk when we tuck them in bed at night.  Many times I have to dig deep because I am generally tapped out and closed for business for the day.  But…this is the time our twelve year old tells us everything.  It’s also the time I see he is willing and practicing engaging like an adult with the two of us.
  • Dads, lead the conversation.  I hear the mamas in an uproar. I’m in an uproar. But the biggest factor in addressing and education for my son in his experience with pornography came from his daddy.  He is learning how to be a man and how to treat his sisters and how to treat and respect a lady just like he would his mama.  There is just something about a daddy that makes a deep and beautiful impact when he does this well.  I understand that there are many families without daddies…that’s okay, mama.  You’re even more important and stronger for being both and your babies will see this, I promise.
  • Walk Your Talk. Monkey see, monkey do. Right and wrong is not fifty kinds of shades of gray, is it? It’s just black and white.
  • Play it cool. The first time I mama-beared over the first cuss word my son was taught at school and asked for the kid’s last name, I could see my boy making mental notes about Things That Set Mom Off. If you have to zone out for a few minutes while your child tells you about the latest education before you lock yourself in the bathroom and bite the guest towels in half, so be it. But if you want your kid to keep talking, you must be open and play it cool.
  • Get a cute basket.  My kids don’t have phones yet, but some wisdom I keep hearing over and over is all phones up when kids go to their rooms.  Keep them in the kitchen in that cute basket.

I’d love to hear from you if you have questions, great ideas or if you’re just as mad as me (maybe even at me) or if you want to know more about that night in Nacogdoches.

Let’s talk.

Hot Links

Fight The New Drug 

More in-depth education on the effects of pornography

Ada Ferguson recommended James Dobson’s website about family education on pornography. Here is the main link but too many articles to choose:

James Dobson Focus on the Family 

 

 

 

 

7 COMMENTS

  1. Traci | 13th Jan 15

    Thank you for writing this. For getting in the fight. It’s so hard to talk about this kind of thing, but we know it happens more and more often. I’m scared for this generation, but I too believe in them. I’ll fight alongside of you the best I can.

  2. Malia | 13th Jan 15

    Thanks for being open and sharing this. I will begin by praying for your family, and will join you in this fight! What a difficult time we are living in to raise this generation for Christ! Thank you for being used by the Father who loves these kids more than I can even imagine!

  3. Myrna | 13th Jan 15

    I engaged in this battle a couple of years ago when I was looking for a better internet filter. Do you know what I found out? Nothing could filter 100%. Nothing. This coming from a tech guy. Many tech people. I contacted Internet service providers and they couldn’t help. And it broke my heart. This predator was being allowed in my home without my permission with the intention of hurting my children. And this is legal? All because I signed up to have Internet in my home. I have mail coming to my home and yet the porn industry isn’t allowed to send me anything I haven’t asked for through the mail. I have cable yet those channels won’t come through unless I subscribe to them

    • Myrna | 13th Jan 15

      There are other countries that ban pornography from the Internet altogether. Others ban it from being available to anyone unless they have specifically requested to allow it with their Internet provider. Why can’t that be done here? I believe it can. It should. We should shout a battle cry and head to battle. This is war. We didn’t ask for it. But they asked for it when they came looking to hurt my kids.

  4. Holly | 13th Jan 15

    I’m so thankful for you! When this came up in our house, I felt like the majority of those I spoke with felt it wasn’t that big of deal – kinda like “boys will be boys”, “you’ll deal with bigger things”, etc. except this was a big deal to me and my heart was broken. The images they see can not be unseen. Period. No amount of counseling and talking about it takes it away and that is heartbreaking. It just pisses me off that these statistics are so high. After we had many discussions, we also brought up the fact that many, many of the people in pornogtaphy are not there under their own free will – human/sex trafficking is just another side of it. Pornography – it’s really just a gateway to the dark side and I would love it if that doorway was nailed shut. Good job, friend! You always think, “not my kid” but I think we would all walk around dragging out jaws if we knew what our kids have really been exposed to.

    • Jami | 13th Jan 15

      YES!!! When this came up in our house, so so so many people dismissed it as “boys will be boys” and acted like it was no big deal. My husband and I were so sick and heartbroken over it. We were so naive… we thought we were being proactive enough. We thought we had safety guards in place. We thought everything would be ok. We definitely had the “not my kid” thought process because we were confident we were prepared.

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