“The best way you can help this conversation go smoothly is to already be in conversation with your child about pornography. They need to understand what the Bible says about sexuality and the dangers of pornography. They need to know how pornography is oppressive to women (and men), that it contributes to world-wide sex slavery, and that it communicates untruths about sex that can potentially destroy us.”
It’s a day that you prayed wouldn’t come. You discover that the search history on your computer or phone shows that it has. Your child has been searching for internet pornography. Sadly, this is somewhat of a right of passage for many parents today, and Christians are not immune.
A highly sexualized culture, combined with the expanse of technology, leaves our families vulnerable in a way that is unprecedented. While we can (and should) take every step in our power to prevent our children from gaining access to porn, we ought to prepare ourselves for the possibility of them seeking it out.
Get the conversation started
The best way you can help this conversation go smoothly is to already be in conversation with your child about pornography. They need to understand what the Bible says about sexuality and the dangers of pornography. They need to know how pornography is oppressive to women (and men), that it contributes to world-wide sex slavery, and that it communicates untruths about sex that can potentially destroy us.
Our children need to understand that sex is not something to be ashamed of, but that God made it for a particular context—marriage between a man and a woman. Pornography rips it from that context and turns it into something base and evil.
If we aren’t already having this conversation with them, we’re doing them a great disservice. It’s entirely possible that your child is looking at pornography now, but just hasn’t been discovered. Have you opened the conversation enough to find that out now? Ask questions today. Finding out in the early stages can help them before they get in deeper.
So, what should you do when that actually happens?
1. Don’t freak out. Often, it is the kneejerk reaction of parents to be overly severe, surprised, astounded and just loud when they discover that their child has looked at pornography. I would encourage you to try to remain calm when talking with them. If you have caught them in the act, this may be especially difficult. If you’ve discovered this when they aren’t around, wait until you’re calm to talk with them.
Freaking out will likely scare your child, demonstrate that there is no grace to be found with you and drive them into greater secrecy. Staying calm communicates that you love them and that the door is open for future conversations about it.
2. Show compassion. When counseling students, I cannot count the number of conversations I’ve had with a high school guy who is broken over his pornography struggle. These are believing young men with godly fathers who would be quick to offer help to their sons. So I counsel them to go and talk to their father, but they are always reluctant to do so. This is usually because of the potential awkwardness and fear that they will be met with severity. Let’s prove them wrong with kindness, love and grace when they come to us in repentance.