If it feels like your kids are drowning in porn, then chances are, so are the kids of your closest friends. As parents our inclination is to clam up and say nothing to nobody. Why is this?

In today’s post and video podcast we’ll explore the answer to that very question. We’ll also find out what parents can do to get over their inhibitions on this topic and why talking with other parents about pornography will actually benefit our kids.

I’m a parent and I have questions

Just before we skip down to the podcast I want you to know there is no judgment being passed here. I still struggle to talk about porn with other parents!

Sure, when I’m blogging or speaking under the Parents Aware umbrella, I am very confident discussing how porn is affecting young people. But get me in a room of peers and I’m never quite sure how to bring up the subject. To be honest, I don’t even know if I’m allowed!

It’s like there’s a rulebook somewhere detailing what can and can’t be discussed. I’ve not seen the book, but I know shouting out, HELP! MY KIDS ARE DROWNING IN PORN, risks being met with the sound of chirping crickets.

How would you respond to these 3 scenarios?

Earlier this year I asked a handful of people to answer the following questions about why the topic of pornography makes us nervous. See if you identify with any of their concerns:

Why do parents hesitate to talk about the risks of pornography with other parents?

  • The topic of sex (pornography and all) is taboo for many people
  • I’m afraid I’d embarrass someone if I brought it up
  • People don’t want to be judged (as if this is a problem that shouldn’t affect good families)
  • I’d have to really trust someone before I talked to them about pornography
  • I’d hesitate because of my concern for my children’s privacy

If your own child (age 4-10) told you they had seen a bad picture (pornography) would you tell a friend?

  • I might tell if I knew they wouldn’t freak out
  • It’s a risk; I’d need someone who’d be calm and non-judgmental
  • My first thought would be to keep it in the family; it’s private
  • I’d want to ask my kid’s permission before I shared anything

If a friend confided in you about their teen’s habit of looking at porn, how would you react?

  • I’m getting better at not overreacting; but it doesn’t come naturally
  • I’d remind my friend their child needs to know that curiosity is normal and the feelings and urges are normal
  • I would tell my friend they are good parents and they have good kids; anyone can get pulled in by porn
  • I’d tell my friend not to give up; it’s hard work but they can help their child turn away from porn

Parents, our kids are drowning in porn, we need to talk!

Each one of these concerns feels real and valid. But is the tendency to keep everything to ourselves benefitting or hindering families? Notice all the support parents are willing to give in the third scenario. Why are we not taking advantage of it?

Sending kids out in the world today means sending them into a new digital reality. It’s a world I don’t completely understand. It’s a world that’s exciting and terrifying all at once. It’s important for me to be able to talk with other parents about my concerns —including the threat of pornography!

Opening up and talking with my sister (video podcast)

A few years ago all my questions seemed to bubble up to the surface. Eventually, I summoned up the courage to open my heart to someone. It was my sister Val. I’m sure I tripped over the words, but somehow I managed to tell her I needed advice because I had a child that couldn’t stop looking at porn.

She was the exact right person for me to call. Why? Because along with the advice, I found compassion, understanding and empathy. Before that day I had no idea that one of her children had struggled with a porn addiction for years! Since that time, we’ve never regretted sharing. I can’t imagine not having Val on my side in this fight. That one phone call changed everything.

And today you get to meet her! Just click on the video below. I am so excited to share this podcast with you. In it we discuss:

  • How (when you discover a child looking at porn) it hits you like a sucker punch and why your first reaction might not be the best
  • How there will always be people who are going to judge inappropriately and what to do about it
  • Things that inhibit us from “getting real” with other parents and what it feels like when we finally do
  • How to remove shame from our family by acknowledging that even though porn is creepy and bad, the kids looking at it are lured in as innocent victims

Why didn’t we talk sooner?

Now Val and I shake our heads wondering what took us so long to start talking. Her advice to parents, “As you work to find help for your kids, make sure you find help for yourself too!” Today she’s an advocate for speaking up. She claims that once she started opening her heart to close friends, it helped her to have even better conversations with her kids.

For me, I hate feeling isolated and alone when I know my kids are drowning in porn. And that’s exactly why I established Parents Aware. Parents need to know theirs is not the only family going through this. Everything we do here is solution focused. —if your kid can’t seem to let go of the porn habit, then let’s talk about what we can do.

Like and share

Please share our post and podcast so we can give support to more parents. Also, if you have a story you think we should share with our community, please fill in the contact form below. At Parents Aware we will always respect your privacy. Any story can be shared anonymously upon request. It’s our goal to support one another as we work towards the same objective. We hope that you will continue to look to Parents Aware for ideas, support and more success stories!

Marilyn

Marilyn

Marilyn Evans lives east of Toronto with her husband and five sons. Concerned with the ease of access to online pornography, she began searching for ways to address this subject with her own children. The lack of support and information available to parents at that time compelled her to begin speaking out publicly on the subject. It's her hope that parentsaware.info will provide families with a resource they can turn to for answers on how to speak openly and honestly with their children. You can follow @parentsaware on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Marilyn