“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.”
—Psalm 119:37 ESV
I was twelve-years-old when my best friend and I, upon her older brother’s prompting, discovered the magazine hidden under her father’s side of the bed. Giggling, we rushed into her bedroom and closed the door.
Our jaws collectively dropped as our faces collectively flushed. Without a word, we looked at each and every page, scarcely able to believe what we saw.
Hint: it wasn’t a Playboy.
That was in 1985 and my one and only brush with pornography. Sure, I scoured my own father’s room, rummaging through drawers and peeking under mattresses, but never found a thing.
If you wanted to find naughty pictures you had to work at it.
I have two children of my own and ten – yes, ten – nieces and nephews. Pornography has invaded my circle.
It will invade yours, too. I promise.
Here are a few suggestions for when it does.
Don’t panic. Like the Dry Idea deodorant commercial says, “Never let them see you sweat.”
This is not the time to fly off the handle. This is the time to stay calm. Good things to avoid saying include, “What in the world were you thinking!?” or “How could you?” or even better “We have not raised you like this!”
Trust me—there is an inherent element of shame in what your child/tween/teen has been caught doing, which is why they hide it from you. Don’t heap shame upon shame.
Remember that sexual curiosity is normal and healthy. God made each of us as sexual beings. He also made us with a natural sense of curiosity. Look around at the world we live in—sex is everywhere. Just last week my daughter and I were standing in line at the grocery store. She picked up a magazine and said, “Look, mommy! Isn’t that inappropriate?”
The headline screamed, “Have Mind-blowing Sex Tonight!”
Let’s be honest with each other. If you and I were twelve years old today we would google sex to see what popped up. We just would.
Remember that your child is the victim. Sure, they proactively looked something up online (or more likely, on their phone/tablet). But the very nature of the industry is absolutely, 100% pervasive. It is predatory. A quick check of your e-mail’s spam folder should confirm this, and even completely “reputable” websites have ads leading to inappropriate material.
The average age of children to see porn, according to Focus on the Family, is eight-years-old. If 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women admit pornography addictions, your kid doesn’t stand a chance.
This is not the time to be angry at your child. When you approach them, approach them with deep regret and sympathy:
“Honey, I am so sorry that you have seen these things. I want you to know that I am not angry with you, I am angry with the people who make this material available.”
Assure your child that sex is not dirty. Our children need to know the truth about sex, and that’s this: Sex is God’s idea. It is God’s wedding gift to us, and His plan to populate the earth. It’s more than that, though. It is a way for us to keep and grow in intimacy with our spouse, a divinely designed plan to keep the family unit strong.
“Sweetheart, I know what you saw was confusing and maybe even scary. That’s because you are not ready for it. But someday, when you find someone you really love and want to marry, you will think it’s a wonderful thing. Did you know that God invented sex? He did, it was His idea. But it’s only for mommies and daddies who are married. It is a very private thing, and God never, ever intended for it to be a form of entertainment. This kind of sex makes God very sad.” (more…)