2 minute read

Helping Your Teen Daughter Who Struggles With Porn

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

If there ever was a time in our culture when porn was an exclusively male habit, that time is long gone. It is common for women to view porn. About a quarter of young girls, on at least one occasion, will spend 30 consecutive minutes or more viewing pornography online. In adulthood, 20-30% of women become regular consumers of pornography or participants in sexually explicit chat rooms.

In this short video clip, I talk with Christian counselor Heather Lundy about teenage girls and pornography. What can parents do to help their daughters?

1. Don’t Freak Out

The first step when you discover your daughter has been repeatedly looking at porn is stop. Don’t do anything. You need time to think clearly about this. Your knee jerk reaction is probably filled with emotions that will not be productive for a good conversation. Stop. Pray. Talk to your spouse about it. Pray again.

2. Don’t Heap on Shame

Let’s be clear about the issue of shame. Shame is that sense of failure we feel before the eyes of another. That other person could be a specific person in one’s life. It could be general sense of shame before “others” or “the world.” It can even be a sense of “cosmic” shame—that the universe or God is disappointed with me.

Viewing porn for lustful purposes is, in fact, a shameful behavior—it is is a moral failure before the eyes of God and others—and if properly harnessed, shame should drive a person toward reconciliation. However, shame often has the opposite impact because it is accompanied with a variety of lies:

  • “Once people know the real me, they will never trust me or like me again.”
  • “God can never forgive me for something like this.”
  • “This issue will forever brand me as a pervert.”
  • “If my parents knew, it would crush them. They would never understand.”

Parents, hear this: Your attitude should communicate the opposite of these lies.

3. Don’t Jump to Quick Fixes and Mini-Sermons

It would be easy, in the awkwardness of the moment, to fill the silence with words of advice, pithy proverbs, and mini-sermons. Resist the urge. Don’t misunderstand: your daughter most certainly needs you advice and wisdom, but they need you more. They need to know you are by their side, not as their advisor or counselor, but as their loving parent.

Listen to your daughter. Ask good questions, and don’t expect her to have any real answers at first. There are reasons why girls (or people in general) rush after porn, and more than anything, in her deepest heart, she wants to express the source of that compulsion to someone who will look on her without fear, shock, or judgmentalism.

Photo credit: lentzstudios