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If Your Child Sees Porn: Preparing for the Discussion

Last Updated: October 30, 2020

Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

What should you do when you discover your child has been looking at pornography? How do you keep from overreacting?

Recently, Dr. David Currie answered this question for me in an interview.

1. Delay having the discussion

Nothing is harmed if you take a day or two to think about what you’re going to say. To keep from overreacting, just distance yourself from the situation and give yourself some time to think.

2. Talk to your spouse

Talking to your spouse will help you developed a balanced attitude and approach to this conversation.

3. Write down your game plan

As ideas come to mind about how to approach this conversation, write down your thoughts. Ask yourself: When is the best time to have this conversation (to minimize distraction)? What resources do I need to get in place after the discussion is over (such as accountability and filtering software)?

4. Pray to God for a redemptive attitude

Your attitude can make or break this conversation. Your attitude is as important as the words you say and the questions you ask. There is so much shame, guilt, and confusion swirling around this issue. It is important you approach this situation not as a distraught parent overwhelmed by your child’s misdeeds, but as a hopeful parent that can see this episode in the light of God’s mercy. He can take even this situation and make it work for the good of your child and your family.

  • Comments on: If Your Child Sees Porn: Preparing for the Discussion
    1. Lynn on

      My 12 year old daughter is really struggling with what has now become an addiction that we have tried to filter at every opportunity. However, she has been able to get around this by using kindles, ipods, school search sites, etc. She says she can not stop. We want to help heal her mind and heart from the damaging effects of the things that she has viewed, which are beyond horrible. I’m looking for a resource to work through with her to help start her healing and breaking from this addiction. Any help would be so appreciated.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Hi Lynn,

        So sorry to hear about what your daughter is doing and seeing. Please, read through the guide mentioned above: When Your Child Is Looking at Porn: A Step-By-Step Guide for Christian Parents. Even if you don’t use it with your daughter, it will help to keep you informed.

        Her access points right now are in the home? Out of the home? Both? Where exactly is she getting access?

        At this point, I agree that you need to help her overcome some of the things she has seen. There are a number of ways you can do this:

        1. Give her information to read about why porn presents an illusion about sex and sexuality and why porn is so addictive. There are many resources available out there for this, but on our site you can download some free digital books for her like Your Brain on Porn. If she’s looking for great Christian reading on this, I highly recommend Finally Free by Heath Lambert and Closing the Window by Tim Chester. In addition, Sex is Not the Problem (Lust Is) by Joshua Harris is very helpful.

        2. Give her reading about women and porn addiction. She might be feeling an extra dose of shame struggling with what is perceived to be a “male problem.” Books like Dirty Girls Come Clean by Crystal Renaud and Love Done Right: Devos by Jessica Harris and excellent reads. We have a whole group of posts on our blog she could read right now written for women. We also did a webinar for women a while back she should watch.

        3. She needs to get to the heart of why she finds pornography so appealing, beyond just the sex appeal. There are often desires that have come to rule our hearts that drive the attraction to porn.

        Your roll as a parent is critical. You have to see your daughter beyond the issue of porn. Ask for help. If she doesn’t feel comfortable talking to you, find someone she can feel comfortable talking to.

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