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Who knew honest conversations about parenting and pornography could be so laid-back and fun? Join Melody and Marilyn for a series of chats and interviews on their journey to help fellow parents tackle this challenging topic with their kids.

Sep 24, 2019

What did you do when your child confided in you that they had seen porn? If you freaked out and lost it, then congratulations--you’re human! Here’s how to move forward after that initial parenting fail. 

 

We all want to be that perfect parent. The cool one. The one with a plan and a checklist. The one who hears bad news--like the fact that our child has seen pornography--and remains calm, then moves forward with a perfectly executed healthy conversation. But this is real life. And it doesn’t always turn out that way.

 

In reality, when we find pornography (or a child looking at pornography) in our home, feelings of shock, horror, anger, fear, sadness, betrayal are totally normal responses. So let’s not berate ourselves if we cried, yelled or mauled our child with the biggest protective bear hug in the heat of the moment.

 

Today we will be discussing 3 tips to help you move forward after the initial panic:

 

  1. Pause and reflect
  2. Mend the relationship
  3. Hate the porn, love the child

 

  1. PAUSE AND REFLECT 

-It’s ok to pull back, have space, and think for a minute. 

-Take your time--maybe even 24 hours--before addressing the subject. Just like Kristen Jenson said on a previous episode (A S.M.A.R.T. Plan for Parents), not everything has to be solved in the moment.

-It’s natural to want to cut off our children’s access to technology--wherever they accessed the pornography. But make sure you treat this is a short-term solution (non-punitive). In the long-term, we need to plan together for more lasting results. 

-Once you’ve discovered your child has a problem with porn, what’s your next step? Is it simply to prevent them from looking again? Or do you want them to understand why pornography is dangerous...

-Focus on moving forward. Dwelling on past mistakes is harmful.

-Ask yourself WHY it’s important not to look at porn (make your own list). For example, in our Bad Advice About Pornography episode, we gave these three reasons:

  1. Porn is like a drug
  2. Porn exploits human beings
  3. Porn is an illusion

 

  1. MEND THE RELATIONSHIP

-It’s ok to admit you made a mistake, apologize for panicking, go back and try again.

-You don’t have to be perfect.

-Your children will appreciate the fact that you are human and will learn that it is ok for them to be human too.

-There is so much mom guilt/parent guilt -- don’t give in!

-Give yourself a little credit -- just the fact that you’re listening to our show demonstrates that you care, and that is HUGE!

-Listen more, talk less (pause, don’t lecture).

-Talk for as long as your child is willing.

-Remain positive.

-Ask to follow up and revisit the conversation in a few days.

 

III. HATE THE PORN, LOVE THE CHILD 

-Remember that ‘love conquers all.’

-Take some advice from our friends at NextTalk - “Default to love.”

-With love, trust grows, and doors open.

-Be patient with yourself and your child.

-Understand that there will be setbacks. Especially with porn repeat offenses are common--this does not mean that you are failing!

-Discuss strategies together that can improve your child’s success.

-Remember that ultimately you can’t control your child’s actions--their desire to avoid porn has to come from within.

-Be prepared to stand by your child in recovery as long as it takes, whether it’s a few months or a few years.

 

Challenge: Share this episode on social media. You never know who needs to hear this message. 

 

Links/Resources:

I Panicked When My Child Confided in Me About Porn, Now What? (article)