Unplugging Pornography: Helping Your Teen Escape the Trap
- Thursday, March 05, 2009
1. Get to the Facts
It is essential that you talk with your teen about porn. If you don’t, who will?
Many parents talk about porn and sexuality with their teen but do it only indirectly. I say, don’t dance around the issue. Get right to the point. Be specific. Share with your teen the effects porn will have on his or her life.
Even if you do not suspect your teen is involved in porn, don’t wait to have such a talk. Remember, if your teen spends time online, it is inevitable that at some point he or she will be exposed to the raw, filthy, multibillion-dollar-a-year business of porn. If you have caught your teen in the act, at first your teen may deny that the struggle exists or try to minimize its effects on his or her life. It is critical that you explain to your teen that Satan is out to get him or her hooked. What an awesome moment this can be to strengthen your relationship with your teen and help your teen see you as someone who longs to protect him or her from harm!
2. Love the Teen; Hate the Sin
As you implement each of the following steps in your fight to defeat this darkness in your teen’s life, you will need to constantly remind your son or daughter that your love has not and will not change. Your teen needs to know that, though you disagree with his or her actions, your ultimate desire is to help your child defeat this addiction and be restored to a pure life. Every day, communicate to your teen that the sin is the thing you hate, not your teen.
3. Realize That a Promise Isn’t Enough
When your teen has been caught in the act, his or her first response may be to quickly apologize, plead for your forgiveness, and promise to never do it again. And yet, though your teen’s desire to repent may be genuine, it may be only a matter of time before the addiction wins him or her over again.
For a teen struggling with porn, a promise to change isn’t enough. You need to help your teen make the promise a reality.
4. Encourage Confession and Submission
Your son or daughter’s involvement in the world of sex, lies, and porn may be a shock to you. But it is not to God. God is aware of every filthy image that has ever been downloaded into your teen’s mind. And the best part is that He still loves your teen.
Jeremiah 29:11 says the Lord has a plan for each of us, a plan to prosper us and to give us hope and a future. The future of this plan often begins with confession (see 1 John 1:9). Lead your teen through a time of confession with God. Encourage your teen to be honest with God as he or she confesses mistakes and receives God’s forgiveness.
Your teen not only needs your consistent involvement, support, and accountability, but he or she also must be willing to submit future choices, actions, and thoughts to God. This could mean that for a while your teen commits to completely avoiding any access to the computer,
Internet, TV, or movies, and any form of entertainment that may tempt him or her to check out porn again.
God desires to be in complete control of your teen’s life. This can happen only as your teen chooses to submit to God each day. Temptation will be a daily battle for your teen. And so daily submission to God is the key to winning the battle.
Of course, you also have to take some practical steps to protect your teen from porn.
5. Take Inventory and Destroy
Consider the types of media outlets your teen has access to in the home: movies, satellite and cable TV, videos, music, the Internet. Consider what your teen watches and listens to. What influences do these media messages have, or have the potential to have, on your teen?
If you suspect or know that your teen is struggling with porn, remove the source from the home immediately. If this is a computer, make sure its location is in a high-traffic area in the home and that your teen never has access to it unless in your presence. If the source is a TV, it must go. If the source is magazines, they must go. No questions, no rationalizing—whatever it is, it must go!
This sounds strong, but remember, this is war. You cannot expect to defeat the enemy if the enemy still has access to your home. Of course, this purging of your home will not eliminate access to all the porn in the world. But by removing the immediate sources, you will be sending a strong message to your teen that you are prepared to take extreme measures to break the bondage in which he or she is living.
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