Dear Dr. Linda:

My 15-year-old son likes sexy pictures of half naked girls on his walls. His current girlfriend thinks these pictures are “hot” and has even given him a few. His dad and I find these pictures offensive and not appropriate on the walls of a Christian home. We know these images can’t be helping him deal with sexual temptation. He says we are overreacting and that we don’t have a right to judge. What do you think?

 

Dr. Linda's response:

I’m surprised that you even have to ask me this question given the fact that you already know the answer. If they are offensive and will cause sexual temptation, tell him to take them down and explain why. You are his parents and in charge of his moral training. Depicting women as sexual objects to be physically desired is neither honorable to women nor appropriate for a Christian teen. The fact that his girlfriend encourages this says something about her lack of moral standard, self-esteem and own view of women.

Why is it that so many good Christian parents like you are afraid to take a stand with teens? You say you are afraid of telling him no and inciting rebellion when in reality, rebellion usually comes from lack of moral grounding and meaningful teaching in the home. Don’t just yell at him and tell him to take the pictures down. Explain what you know and believe—these pictures will not help him control sexual temptation (dad could have a lot to say here as a male) and that this is not a healthy way to depict women no matter what the culture and his girlfriend say. Women are not sexual objects to be adored and glorified.

As far as your right to judge, his view is incorrect. You have every right to judge what comes in and out of your household. Can he go behind your back and see things elsewhere? Yes. But if you keep your relationship with him strong, discuss why things are problematic and teach from a moral and spiritual position, he will listen.

Teens today live in a secularized culture and are repeatedly exposed to sex and violence. All the more reason you have to help teens sort out what is appropriate and inappropriate. They are teens. Not adults. They think they know things when they don’t. The key is to help them understand how exposure to certain things affects their spiritual life and moral decisions.

Don’t be afraid to raise up a standard in your home. There are moral absolutes that must be taught no matter what the culture says. You fight by teaching the counter message of the Gospel.

Your son is pushing the envelope. He needs limits and direction. He also needs parents who are loving but firm about appropriate behavior. Ask him to tell you how these pictures are helping his spiritual life, edifying women and helping him resist temptation. Most likely, he’ll come to the same conclusions as you.