I remember so well the day I went into a child's room and found a pile of printed-out pictures that left me with a sense of sorrow and world-weariness.
It happens. It shouldn't, but it does. And when it does, or even before as a preemptive strike, you need to be prepared to speak to your children in a way that helps them to understand the negative impact on them and society as a whole, without leaving them belittled and broken. Here's how to do just that.
A Widespread Problem
The truth is that messages, overt and covert, bold-faced and subliminal, are everywhere around us and it would be easy for anyone to believe that such a mentality is normal and acceptable.
Thankfully, I received divine inspiration on dealing with the situation and the conversation was real, calm and full of providential wisdom.
First of all, children struggling with pornography need to understand that this is not simply a religious issue. It is not only a matter of "we don't believe in this." It has far-reaching repercussions that can deteriorate to a very unhealthy level at a frightening rate.
Though society, in general, views this as a rite of passage, it can and has devastated families and ruined lives.
What to Know Before the Talk
Here are a few important things that you should understand before you enter into a discussion because there may be arguments brought up that you will need to know how to address:
The first side-effect of pornography is addiction. It's effects on the brain are no less real than harmful drugs.
The second is escalation. Often, viewing porn begins innocently with the allowance of our eyes to linger on a billboard or Internet ad a little too long. With some personalities, this becomes not enough to stimulate the senses and give the same result.
The third step is desensitization. This is where things get a lot more risky - when the images they view are not enough. It is at this point that some participants go on to sexually violent images to satisfy the beast that has taken over.
Finally, viewers may begin acting outbased on the images they have seen. These are the rapists, molesters, and other sexual deviants.
All of this was not intended to cause you to throw in the towel. These are the facts, verified through extensive studies, among them Pornography's Effect on Adult and Child by Victor B. Cline, from which this article's findings came. This is for you, as the parent, to view for understanding that this is not as acceptable as it is portrayed to be in the media.
What You Can Say
Bringing out all of these more clinical points may not be effective in attempting to deter your child from involving him/herself in this past-time. Here are some points to make:
To participate in this practice objectifies human beings and diminishes them into tools that feed the most base appetite. I explained to my son what makes women who they are has little to do with their bodies and more to do with their heart and brain and that most women simply do not look like the ones he was looking at.
To begin on this path is to open the door to an appetite that may never be satisfied; the fact is that almost all sexual criminals began by just viewing a few dirty pictures.
Time spent looking at porn is time that could be used to better yourself and grow your own talents, and to reach out to others in service.
Most importantly, if they have begun to participate, belittling, shaming and otherwise overreacting will do little to further the cause. Tell you love them and move on.
By following these steps and preparing before you need to speak to a child about pornography, you can be prepared and face this menace head on. Become well-versed in these points and spend time learning more.