When our kids are struggling with a pornography addiction, it’s important for us to walk with them in their recovery and in their walk towards sobriety. Many of the kids that I work with desperately want to overcome their pornography addiction. They have lost countless nights of sleep, seen their grades drop, have lost friends and have had their porn addictions impact their relationships with the opposite sex. And they feel ashamed that you (their parents) have uncovered their “dirty” habit. Recovering from a pornography addiction, at any age, can be very overwhelming.
As a parent, it’s important to walk a careful line in helping your kids recover.
Install Parental Controls
If you didn’t already have filters and parental controls on all of your Internet-enabled devices, then now is the time to make sure that your devices are covered. Preventing further exposure and access is just one line of defense that can help your kids.
Be Cognizant of the Content You Allow in the Home
Are you watching content with your family (or do you have TV shows/movies/music) on that is unhelpful to your kid’s walk towards sobriety. Think also about the magazines you have around the house—I know a lot of moms that read magazines like Cosmo, Marie Claire (and even shopping catalogs like Victoria’s Secret, etc.) that can have loads of sexual ads and sexual content that can re-open the door to struggling. Are you setting a good example for your son or daughter regarding the content that you allow in the home? Is that content helping support your child’s sobriety or it hurting their sobriety.
Have Regular Conversations & Watch for Teachable Moments
One of the key principles we try to promote in the parents’ section of the site is that it’s critical to have ongoing conversations with your kids about sex, pornography and healthy body image. Kids today are surrounded by many confusing messages about sex—in the music they listen to, in the shows they watch and in many of the magazines they read. Even so-called “family” programs often seem to promote premarital sex and make light of pornography use. It’s up to you to help your kids understand fact from fiction and establish healthy boundaries for themselves.
Unfortunately, so many of the kids I talk to tell me that—other than explaining body parts and how a baby is made—their parents have never followed up with them, checked in on them, or started a conversation that moves anywhere beyond the most basic of sex talks. Our kids want and need our guidance. To help, we have a quick and easy resource (appropriately called “The Talk”) that you should check out today to get started.
Trust, But Verify
As your kids begin their walk in freedom from pornography addiction, it’s important to check up on them. While you’ll want to ask them how their doing in this department rather regularly, you don’t want them to feel as though you don’t trust them and love them and as if you are only there to police them. Help them understand that you want to be available to them to help in this matter and that you are always there to talk, but also recognize that kids will be kids and pornography addiction, like any addiction, can be difficult to overcome. Keep the computer and all Internet-enabled devices in public spaces. Regularly check the history on your child’s computers, gaming devices and smartphones. Read the parental control reports as they come in, and check regularly to make sure that there haven’t been any changes to your parental control settings. Watch for any warning signs or suspicious behavior–if you notice any warning signs, then ask your kids directly what is going on and if they have struggled with pornography again. Be firm in your stance that they should not look at pornography, but help them to understand that you will love them through this struggle.