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Communication is Key in Fighting the Influence of Porn

Parents need to be aggressive when it comes to safeguarding their children, says columnist Joe Smith.

The past several weeks have been difficult. Going through all of these stories has brought back many unpleasant memories and emotions for me. And I’m not the only one.

I have received many emails from adults telling stories of heartache and betrayal. Some of the stories involved a partner that was addicted to pornography that began to demand sexual acts found while viewing pornography. One person emailed an outrageous story of drugs, porn and sexual abuse. They talked of how porn ruined their lives as a family and how the remaining scars are still a burden carried over to new relationships. Feelings of suspicion, of abandonment and “I’m not good enough” are plastered all over these tales.

I’ve talked with many parents over the last several weeks about what to do.  And after the last post, , I was contacted by Mr. Patrick Trueman.  He is the President and CEO of Morality in Media and the former chief of U.S. Dept. of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Criminal Division Section in charge of prosecuting adult and child pornography.

When I asked him what parents can do to safeguard their children he said, Parents pay the bill so they can control the device! Parents should have a duel system of protection on each computer, a blocking software and a monitoring software.  The monitoring software could be one of two things - a program that records all that is viewed on the computer or one that sends the parents a report in real time of all sites visited.”

“There is software for smart phones as well.  Here is some additional info from our site: http://pornharmsresearch.com/resources/resources-for-parents

His thoughts were that it’s so pervasive that parents need to be aggressive and fight this thing head on! He also told me that the distributing of obscene (hardcore pornography) is illegal and that we have good laws on the books. He said that he and others like him are fighting hard to get those laws enforced.

As a parent it is good to know that we have men and woman like Mr. Trueman fighting for my kids.

But what do we do in the mean time? What do we do until our “leaders” start showing some common sense and start enforcing laws in existence? Let me offer some thoughts and things you can do in your homes that will make a difference today.

Get the Facts

Before you head into an already uncomfortable conversation about an extremely uncomfortable topic get your facts straight. Know what you want to say ahead of time. It might help you to write down exactly what you want to say. Sometimes these discussions can become emotional and many of us lose our train of thought during those more intense moments.

If you know exactly what you want to say before you say you could save yourself and your child an argument.

Talk! Talk! Talk!

You have to talk! It’s going to be unpleasant and it’s going to be real awkward but you must communicate what the reality of porn is! You, the parent, must lay down the law when it comes to the exploitation of others and ultimately your children.

You must explain to them how it’s not victimless, how it’s not a reality of sex and how more often than not the girls in those videos are not enjoying what’s happening.

Make sure you let them know your rules, expectations and values on the subject. 

Like I said, it will be awkward but you may just be surprised how honestly and openly your student will respond.

Ask Questions, then Listen

Don’t turn your conversation into a lecture. Make sure that you ask good, open ended questions. Then listen.

Be aware that if you do this you may get answers that you don’t like or agree with. That’s ok! Know that your child is still trying to figure things out. You have not raised them to be robots so they may have opinions that differ from yours.

Do not get angry. Do not argue.

You may win the argument but you’ll lose your child. Calmly talk with them about why they feel the way they do. Many teens may not have thought through how they feel about sex and/or porn logically. They are most likely unaware of the reality behind porn and the abuse that took place in the actors lives prior to and during porn.

Wherever the conversations go, they must go calmly.

Don’t be a Know-it-all

There is no way you can know every fact about every question that your child will ask. Nor should you be expected to know them. So when a question comes up that you don’t have an answer for, here is the correct response;

“I don’t know.”

Those three words can be magical to your teen’s ears. It shows them you care enough about them to be honest. 

It also gives you the opportunity to further influence your child as you search for the answer together.

Don’t Hide your Past

This is a tough one.

No one wants to regale their children with tales of their misspent youth.  And that’s not what I’m saying. However, what I am saying is that you should be honest when they inevitably ask if you ever watched porn.

It again shows them you care enough to be honest. Tell them of your experiences with pornography and how damaging it was. Help them to see how it twists our natural desire for sex into something that is degrading at best and monstrous at worst.

Here me when I say this parents: Telling your children to not do something that you did as a teen is not hypocritical, it’s SMART! To say anything other than that is complete stupidity. It’s borderline idiocy. In fact it’s so asinine that I can’t help but get a little angry when I hear that. To not communicate the lessons learned from your past mistakes is the height of hypocrisy.

Impart Grace

If you student admits to that they’ve either watched porn or have a problem with that please do not meet that act of confession with punishment. It is a good thing they admitted that to you, it should be celebrated not condemned.

Take steps to ensure accountability, both in your home and on the devices themselves and stay on top of the issue. Be aware of the pressures and the temptations they will face and walk with them through that.

There may be a time in the future where you’ll have to put on your black hat but this isn’t that time. Right now should be about helping your child to heal in a healthy way so as to help them regain a proper perspective of sex and relationships

Above all, let them know that you love them.

Pornography communicates selfishness, degradation and reduces human sexuality to a poison. If you child is entangled in porn they will feel this way about themselves.  Your job is to help build them back up.

And realize love comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s kind and gentle words.  At other times it’s discipline.

However you must, communicate love.

You

You are the key.

You are it.

You will be the reason that your child gets ensnared or is able to navigate their way through this. That’s a big responsibility. But there is no one else for this job. 

You.

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