The shock, shame, and anger that first takes place when you stumble upon the fact that your child has viewed porn is understandably terrifying. Every parent hopes their child will live with sexual integrity, and when we hear the statistics of kids and porn it can be disheartening. Yes, the average age of a child viewing porn in the United States is age 11 and there isn’t a mother or father around whose heart doesn’t break when we hear that fact. So what do we do?
Here are 5 tips for handling the almost inevitable fact that your child will look at porn whether on purpose or even accidentally.
1. Don’t Freak Out
I know you may want to. Our natural reaction is to panic, but too much emotion or anger will only complicate the matter. So take a deep breath, and realize it is not the end of the world. Most kids who view pornography don’t become sex offenders.
2. Make This a Teachable Moment
Instead of getting angry and blowing up, what you truly want is to help them understand and develop a healthy, positive view of sexuality. Use the poor choice of looking at porn as a positive opportunity to teach them the beauty of God-given sexuality and why we wait until marriage and adulthood.
3. Create Consequences Within Reason
If stumbling upon porn was truly accidental there should be no consequence; but if they chose to view a porn site then yes, developing boundaries with consequences for their actions is the right thing to do. But do it without shaming them, and create the consequences as a boundary to keep them from constant porn use and, more importantly, help them make better decisions. For the first offense, this might mean taking away a mobile device and adding a blocking filter along with regular monitoring by a parent or parents.
4. Teach Positive, Healthy Sexuality
The prescription for making better decisions about sex is for parents to proactively teach their kids healthy sexuality. All studies show the more positive healthy sex education is communicated in the home, the less promiscuous kids will be. So don’t just have one conversation. Make it an ongoing dialogue. Sure there will be awkward moments. That’s okay; sexuality can be awkward.
5. Find Helpful Resources
There are excellent resources to equip you to help your kids develop sexual integrity, even in the area of porn addiction. We always suggest you find Christian resources that stay true to your values to come alongside you.
In this digital world, it is harder than ever to protect our kids’ eyes and minds. So start the conversation early and have it often.