Sadly, it’s inevitable. At some point your child is going to be exposed to pornography. Hopefully, you’ve talked to them about what it is and why it’s dangerous. But even after several porn talks, kids need help sorting out their confused feelings. If they feel comfortable talking with you after they’ve been exposed, you’ve just added another layer in their armor against pornography. Especially if you can stay calm and reassuring.
I recently came across an excellent video on the Women for Decency website produced by LifeStar Network, a pornography and sexual addiction recovery organization. Jeffrey Ford, a licensed marriage and family therapist, discusses three steps you can take to help your child after they’ve seen pornography.
1. Ask: How did your body feel? Ford advises parents to recognize that pornography arouses sexual feelings, which physically feel good. Acknowledging that sexual arousal feels good will avoid shaming your child about having normal sexual feelings.
2. Ask: How did you feel emotionally? Kids often say they feel sick to their stomach or “yukky” after seeing pornography. This is confusing. How can my body feel good but my emotions feel so bad at the same time?
3. Explain that marriage is the right time to experience sexual feelings. Teach them that both their bodies and their emotions can feel good when they grow up and find someone they love to marry. Sexual feelings are good and normal and designed to bring two people together and keep them together in a committed and loving relationship like marriage.
Depending on the type of pornography they’ve seen you may also want to reaffirm that sex is not about hurting another person, but it’s about showing kindness and affection.
Pornography gives very mixed messages to kids, which are extremely confusing. The worst case scenario is to have a child turn to the internet for more information on pornography. As a parent, you can provide a safe setting for sorting out the confused feelings produced by seeing pornography.
I highly recommend watching this 4 minute video What if my child has been exposed?
Please leave a comment and let me know if you thought it was helpful! Thanks!