If you discover your child is looking at pornography:
- DO NOT PANIC
This moment is not about you. Put your feelings (i.e. fear, anger, disappointment, etc.) aside and focus on your child. Show your child that you love, support, understand, and want to help. Unfortunately, porn is common among teens. One study found that 93% of boys and 62% of girls were exposed to pornography before age 18. (1)
- DO NOT IGNORE
As an adult, I learned that my parent’s knew I was looking at their pornography. They never mentioned it to me because “boys will be boys.” Oh how I wish they had helped me. I suffered under this addiction for thirty-five years!
- DO NOT ASK FOR (OR EXPECT) A CONFESSION
Only 22% of adults confessed when confronted by their spouse even with evidence. (2) Do you think your child or teenager is more likely to confess than these adults?
Instead of asking “Did you …?”, say “I discovered …” in a matter of fact tone. Remember we set aside feelings of fear, anger, and disappointment?
- DO NOT INTERROGATE
Avoid asking “why”. Use concrete questions: When did this start? How often have you looked at porn in the last month? How do you access the pornography? What can I do to help you stop?
Then Listen. Validate their feelings even if positive. “I could see how that would be exciting for you.” Validation just means you understand not necessarily agree.
- DO NOT MAINTAIN THE STATUS QUO
Your child’s promise to never do it again is not enough. Believe their sincerity but don’t believe in their self-control. Do whatever you can to block your child’s access to porn. You don’t let the alcoholic keep going to the bar.
- DO NOT GO IT ALONE
Remember that fear, anger and disappointment you set aside? You need someone to express your feelings. Your child likely needs the same support. Call us (972-342-0753 or 214-415-4555) or email us here at Noble Choices. This is our specialty. We want to help.
(1) Chlara, S., Wolak, J., & Finkelhor, D. (2008). The nature and dynamics of Internet pornography exposure for youth. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 691-693.
(2) Steffens, B., & Means, M. (2010). Your Sexually Addicted Spouse. Far Hills, NJ: New Horizon Press.