Category: Why Talk?

Why the Porn Talk Isn’t Sufficient

Many parents want to know why they can’t just tell their kids not to look at porn.  “Why isn’t this sufficient?” they ask me.

Unfortunately we no longer live in a society where exposure to highly sexualized content is a choice.  Unhealthy sexual messages are found everywhere, not just in explicit material.  In the locker room, walking down the street, talking or joking with friends, billboards, and every aspect of the media.  If we only focus on teaching avoidance of pornography we are missing most of the picture (no pun intended).  Even if children never come in contact with explicit material (highly unlikely), they are constantly being bombarded with unhealthy sexuality.  This normalizes porn (when they are exposed, they will be less able to recognize that it is unhealthy), as well as normalizing a host of other damaging messages about their bodies, others’ bodies, and relationships.  Parents must consistently push back against these messages with truth about healthy sexuality.  Without these regular discussions of all aspects of healthy sexuality, children will grow up with warped perceptions of sexuality that can be very damaging.  Remember:  Whatever you don’t teach, the world will.

I’m a grandparent.  Do I really need to be worried about all this?

Let me answer your question with a true story.  Recently I spoke with a grandmother.  Her daughter and son-in-law had small children and had installed filters on their computers and phones.  They thought their children were safe.  Grandma and Grandpa didn’t think they needed to be educated or concerned about this topic.  After all, they didn’t have pornography problems and never watched scandalous TV.  Imagine their horror when their daughter confronted them.  Their 3-year-old granddaughter had inadvertently found something on the unfiltered internet at her grandparents’ house.  She had spent months looking for more and more whenever she was there.  Her parents finally figured out what was going on when she began exhibiting symptoms.  This granddaughter ended up needing serious counseling.  

Please become educated.  You can be a great support to your children in protecting your grandchildren.  It’s not a fun or pretty topic, but you can save a child’s life–your grandchild’s.

Won’t talking to my kids about sex make them more curious and promiscuous?

While you are certainly not the first parent to ask this question, fortunately the resounding answer is “No!”  All the research indicates that the opposite is true.  Not only are children whose parents talk to them about healthy sexuality less likely to be promiscuous, there are a number of other wonderful effects.  Let’s talk about why.  Whether or not children let on, your opinion as a parent is invaluable.  Your values and connection with them is a commodity they crave.  They instinctively look to you for truth and guidance.  And if you can impart those values in a calm and non-judgmental way, they will absorb it.
One analogy I like to use with parents is to tell them to imagine that they live in an inner-city rife with drug dealers.  Imagine you can see them out your window.  Now imagine sending your children out the door every day for school and never talking to them about drugs.  Sending them out the door hoping and praying they never become addicted to drugs.  The scenario is unthinkable.  None of us would ever do that.  Apply this scenario to pornography, which not only lurks outside our homes, but often enters our homes, despite our best efforts, through the TV, internet, and other devices.  It is equally unthinkable a situation to simply hope and pray our children will not be influenced by the unhealthy sexual messages they see around them.

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