Help for Life Challenges

How can I prepare my child against pornography? The answer lies in this empowering analogy

Father and son looking up while talking near tree trunk
This analogy powerfully shows why parents need to do more than protect their children from pornography; they need to prepare them to withstand it.
Getty Images.

Jill Geigle is passionate about educating families and communities on preparing and protecting children from pornography. She is currently the Director of Parent and Child Advocacy at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation working to stop online child sexual exploitation.

Jill was also recently a guest on LDS Living’s All In podcast. She shared a powerful analogy to explain why rather than focusing solely on protecting their children from any exposure to pornography, parents need to prepare their children for when they do see it.

“It is not an if our children run into pornography and sexually explicit content. It’s a when,” Jill says, “The only true way to actually protect them from ever seeing pornography would be to just lock them away so they would never see a screen in their life. And so what we want to try to do is change from that word of protect to the word prepare.”

The Analogy

To illustrate this point, Jill shared an analogy about trees. As a child, her family had a cabin surrounded by beautiful, big Ponderosa pine trees. Over the years, the family battled a parasitic infestation called mistletoe that threatened to wipe out the trees. At first, her father tree trimmers to cut out the mistletoe. But year after year, it returned.

The family decided to try a new approach. They hired a forester, someone skilled in caring for trees, to advise them.

“[The forester] said, ‘Look, mistletoe is a natural part of the ecosystem of a forest. What you need to do is strengthen your trees. So that as your trees grow, they will be strong enough and healthy enough that … they will be able to overpower the mistletoe. …’ Then he recommended certain things, clearing part of the forest, giving more room for sunlight, making sure we have adequate water throughout the forest, and putting down nutrients in the soil,” Jill says.

“And he said we still needed to be aggressive and cut out big infestations, but as we change the strength of the trees, our forest is going to naturally bite off the mistletoe and be able to live and be healthy longer and be stronger.”

The Connection to Today

Jill then tied the analogy to preparing children against pornography.

“We want to do our best to give our children the nutrients, the tools, the sunlight, all of the things that can help them as they grow and encounter some of this material. We want to give them those tools so that they’ll be able to be strong enough to come through exposure to the content, … circumstances, and situations that they’re going to have to face as they live in this world,” she says.

▶ You may also like: Elder Renlund’s hopeful message for those impacted by pornography

So how can we build pornography resistance in our children? Jill suggests consistently building resistance by:

  1. Nurturing relationships
  2. Communicating openly and often
  3. Creating places of security
  4. Living and teaching the doctrine of Jesus Christ

You can read more about each of those principles in this article: 4 ways to build pornography resistance in your kids

You can listen to the entire All In episode in the player below.

And find even more in Jill’s interactive workbook for parents: Prepare your Child: Pornography Resistance

Prepare Your Child: Pornography Resistance

Prepare Your Child is a valuable interactive workbook designed to help parents guide their children to healthy choices in a world saturated in pornography. Featuring quotes, anecdotes, study ideas, role-play opportunities, and much more, this workbook will teach you how to communicate openly about exposure to explicit content and how to use gospel-centered principles to protect your family against forming harmful habits. As you reframe how to discuss the pitfalls and negative effects of pornography, you will be better equipped to strengthen your family’s fortifications against the tools of the adversary and build pornography resistance in your child. Available at Deseret Book and

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