The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a series of powerful videos about overcoming pornography, supporting loved ones with a pornography problem, and finding healing from pornography or betrayal trauma. We will be highlighting these valuable resources over the ensuing weeks.
"We may overreact when we discover that our children have viewed pornography. Feelings of fear can lead us to be less loving and supportive than we’d like to be. However, the best response is often to show love while seeking to understand the situation. Our children may be feeling shame, and we can help diffuse that shame by asking them questions about what they are feeling, what they experienced and saw, and what they hope to do moving forward. It’s important that we help our children feel safe and protected rather than fearful and vulnerable."
Open communication, honesty, vulnerability, and, most importantly, love should infuse all of our discussions with our children regarding pornography, not shame or fear. How we respond to our children now will influence whether or not they come to us with concerns or for counsel in the future.
In these conversations, we need to understand there are underlying motivations for our children's actions.
"For some children, an interest in pornography stems from natural curiosity or pleasure. Occasionally there may be deeper underlying influences that motivate children’s behavior, but often children are looking for information. They live in a sexualized world, and they may be trying to understand the sexualized messages they see in media, the behaviors of others, and the world around them. It is healthy for children to be curious and have sexual feelings, and we should help them understand these feelings appropriately. "Through inspiration, frequent conversations, and diligent study, we can come to better understand our children’s behavior. For some children, the choice to view pornography may come from social and peer pressure, loneliness, depression, anxiety, or a combination of these and other influences. Each child is different, and each will have unique reasons motivating his or her behavior. As parents, we must take time to understand our children and their needs."
So how can we help our children in these circumstances? Begin now by talking with our children about healthy sexuality, pornography, and other topics so they know they can come to you with any question and in any circumstance. Allow love to guide all your conversations. Thank your children when they come to you with difficult questions or topics.
"Often when children are viewing pornography, they are doing so to meet certain needs. These needs are unique and specific for each child but may include sexual curiosity or the desire for a distraction from anxiety and depression. As we seek to understand our children’s individual needs, we can help them find solutions and meet those needs in healthy ways. We can help our children develop plans to move forward as we act upon spiritual impressions. Coming to understand our children’s needs may require learning new skills as parents, such as asking questions differently and taking time to really listen."
For more videos, articles, and resources, visit the Church's website ChurchofJesusChrist.org/addressing-pornography.