3 reasons children fear talking to parents about porn


teen phone, porn
Unsplash

Last fall, I spoke at the SHE Recovery Virtual Summit, an online conference for females who have struggled with pornography.  During the summit, I ran a poll asking attendees this question:

“Girls, what’s the biggest fear that keeps you (or kept you) from telling your parents about your pornography problem?”

Most of the answers fell into three categories: shame, disappointment and judgment.

Based on my experience as the mom of a son who struggled with pornography, and as someone who has talked with countless parents and teens about society’s porn problem, it’s not a reach to state that shame, disappointment and judgment keep boys and girls of all ages from telling a trusted adult about their problem.

It’s important for parents, grandparents and leaders to understand why children fear disclosing their behavior. When we comprehend the emotional anguish feeding into their silence, we can guide them better.

Shame

“Sex in general was shameful and not something you could talk about” – one respondent

People stuck in the cycle of watching pornography, committing to stop, and then slipping back into the behavior, experience crippling shame. They understand their behavior is wrong, and when they are unable to willfully stop, their shame intensifies.

Sometimes, when parents learn their children are participating in unhealthy behaviors, they unintentionally shame their children. Their words, attitudes and actions reveal they are either ashamed of themselves or their children. And the shame the child already feels is reinforced. If our children anticipate this type of reaction, they will stay quiet and continue to bear the weight of their problem alone.

Disappointment

“I thought they would think I’m a terrible person and wouldn’t know what to do with me,” said one respondent.

Let’s face it, parents can be disappointed in their children. It’s a reasonable emotion.

Wanting to satisfy parents’ hopes and expectations is natural, even noble. A problem arises, however, when children shield parents from disappointment by deceiving them into believing all is well.

Judgment

“I witnessed them discussing pornography and using words like disgusting, vile, scum” –  one respondent

Of course, children are reluctant to confess behaviors their parents have denounced in such unyielding and harsh ways.

We don’t need to scroll on social media longer than a few minutes to realize we are, in general, tend toward judgementalism. I’m no exception. I believed people who viewed pornography on a regular basis were unintelligent and shady characters. However, after this issue invaded our home and I learned more about its pervasiveness, I changed my perspective. Anyone can be swept up in the porn industry’s grasp.

Changing the atmosphere

“It’s just weird to talk to your parents about that” — one respondent

The girls who responded to the poll were afraid their parents would be disappointed in them or judge them for their behaviors, stopping them from sharing.  Shame also stopped them. They either felt too much shame to divulge their behavior or had witnessed their parents shame others for watching pornography. Therefore, the respondents assumed their parents would have the same attitude toward them and their behaviors if they confessed.

Our job is to change the atmosphere within our homes. Here are some suggestions.

  • Watch tone, words and attitude. Every person is special and unique. Make an effort to show love and compassion for each individual, regardless of their circumstances.
  • Focus on behavior, not the person. Say, “Watching pornography is an unhealthy choice,” rather than, “A person who watches pornography is a monster.”
  • Allow children to fail. Humans err and choose unwisely at times. Rather than stand over them in a judgmental fashion, stoop next to them and offer to help them get back up.
  • Talk about the awkward subjects. When we broach tough topics, our children will know that no subject matter is too difficult to talk about.
  • Be vulnerable. Tell stories of poor choices you’ve made in the past and the outcomes that came from them.
  • Be available. Interact with your child daily. Look them in the eye, ask open-ended questions and express interest in their life. When we press pause on the busyness and listen to our children, they are more apt to trust us when their life takes a turn for the worse.

Pretending harmful things don’t exist won’t keep our children safe. I know it’s awkward to discuss sex, sexuality, online grooming, pornography and everything in between, but it’s our responsibility to protect your children and be their secure place. Let’s bring what’s lurking in the darkness to the light. You can do it!


This article first appeared on the Hopeful Mom website.

Barb Winters offers encouragement and practical tips to parents at Hopeful Mom: supporting parents in an online world. She is the author of Sexpectations: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Healthy Relationships, releasing August 8, 2023. Connect with Barb on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

Free Religious Freedom Updates

Join thousands of others to get the FREEDOM POST newsletter for free, sent twice a week from The Christian Post.





Source link

Share:

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
LinkedIn

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top