Parents: Responding To Your Child’s Porn Problem

Women with laptop working in the darkMany parents believe that the character of their children will protect them from the dangers of the online world. Unfortunately the usual reality is that the online world bombards them and because of hormones and peer influence they don’t stand a chance. Their character may be solid and they may even be able to avoid things like cyber bullying and inappropriate self expression, but the world of porn usually manages to set deep roots past the wall of character that they have.

Regardless, if you find that either your child or even one of their friends is struggling with a porn problem here are the beginning steps of how to help them.

  1. Listen; without judgement. Hear their story and their heart. You may have found something yourself or they may have come to you desperate for help. Either way, don’t make them feel judged or dirty. It has taken them a lot to come for help, or maybe they didn’t come for help and are embarrassed at your questions, in situations like this they need to feel loved and heard.
  2. Offer/find help; whether it’s you or a youth pastor or counsellor, tell your child you will do whatever it takes to get them the help they need. Often finding an outside source of help, helps your child open up differently and reduces tension in your own relationship.
  3. Filter your Internet content; this should have been done years ago but it’s never too late. Your child will probably not like this because it risks limiting their Internet use, you may not want to tell them you are going to. Regardless when/if approached and asked you may want to apologize for not doing it when they were younger but also feel free to say it isn’t just for them but for everyone in the house, including mom and dad and all those visiting.
  4. Pray for them and with them.

You will likely feel compelled to regularly ask how they are doing and if they need help. If possible avoid this, or at the very least make it an occasional question and not the focal point of every conversation. The constant asking will often hurt your relationship. You are usually best to trust those you have helped them access for help while offering yourself as a support and help in the future in any way they may need. It’s ok to tell them that you will wait for them to ask or offer how they are doing while expressing your deep desire to be a support in any way that they need.

The most important thing in your child’s life is their relationship with you. The greatest way for you to support them is to be listening and relating to their interests and loving them as they figure out who they are.

Here are some additional tools/links to help you safeguard your home:

3 Layered Approach to Internet Safety

Internet Safety for Every Device In Your Home

Youth Leaders Guide to Supporting Teens Struggling with Porn

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