A Warning to Parents from a Former Porn Addict

Guest BloggerFor Those Giving Help, For Those Seeking Hope2 Comments

former porn addict anne marie miller

…and a pastor’s daughter!

Formerly a porn addict, best-selling author Anne Marie Miller — and a pastor’s kid and ministry leader — candidly shares 3 things parents must know about porn. This post appeared first at her blog and is used here with her permission. Here’s the second of two parts. Read the first part here. –Ed.

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Your Child Is Probably Not the Exception

3. Your Child Is Not the Exception: After speaking with a youth pastor at a camp, he said most parents live with the belief their child is the exception. Your child is not. The camps I went to this summer weren’t camps full of children on life’s fringes that one would stereotypically believe experience these traumatic events or have access to these inappropriate things. You must throw your stereotypes aside. Most of the children at these camps were middle class, mostly churched students.

Let me give you a snapshot of a few things I heard from these students:

  • They’ve sent X-rated photos of themselves to their classmates (or received them).
  • They’ve exposed themselves to strangers on the Internet or through sexting.
  • They’ve seen pornography.
  • They’ve read pornography.
  • They’ve watched pornography.
  • The girls (and boys) compare their bodies to the ones they see in ads at the mall or of actors and keep those images hidden on their phone (or iPod, or whatever device they have) so they can try to imitate them.
  • They question their sexual orientation.
  • They’ve masturbated for sexual gratification, even if they don’t know what it technically is.
  • They know exactly where and in what movies sex scenes are shown and they watch them for sexual gratification.
  • They’ve had a same-sex experience out of curiosity or mirroring what they see in the media.

PARENTS – THEY ARE TERRIFIED TO TELL YOU.

But Your Child May Be the Exception

But maybe you’re right. Maybe your child is the exception. I would argue at this juncture in life, being the exception is as equally dangerous.

At the end of every session I presented I intentionally and clearly directed students to ask me or another leader if they didn’t understand or know what a certain word meant. “Do not go to the Internet and look it up.”

Sure enough, there is always the child who stays behind until everyone leaves and quietly asks what the word “porn” means or if God is angry because that boy or girl from down the street told them it was okay for them to touch them “down there.” There is the child in the back row who leans over to his friend and asks, “What does molest mean?” and the other boy shrugs.

This summer, I am beyond grateful that mature adults were available to answer those questions with grace and tact and maturity; that we were in a setting that was safe for questions and confessions. It was entirely appropriate. Not every child gets that opportunity. Most won’t. Most will find out from the Internet or from a peer who isn’t equipped to provide the correct answer in the correct context.

Even I don’t feel like the church should be the first responder in ongoing conversations about sex. You, the parent, should be.

I can’t not tell you these things. After seeing the innocence in the eyes of ten-year olds who’ve carried secrets nobody, let alone a child, should carry; after hearing some of the most horrific accounts from students I’ve ever heard this year, I cannot go one more day without pleading with you to open up and have these difficult conversations with your children. Would you prefer your son or daughter learn what a “fetish” is from you or from searching Google Images? Talk to them about abuse and yes, even trafficking.

How and Why to Talk with Your Child About Porn

Just this month I met a relative of a girl whose own mother was selling her body from the time she was five until now, when she’s sixteen. This was not in some drug-infested ghetto you’d see on a news story. It was in a very upscale town in a very upscale state known for its nature and beauty and summer houses. Abuse does not discriminate.

Your children need to know about sex now. If not for them, maybe for a friend. Maybe they can help bring context or see warning signs.

Ask them what they know. Ask them what they’ve done. Ask them what’s been done to them. Show grace and love. Stay far away from judgment and condemnation. If you feel ill-equipped, ask a pastor or counselor for help. If you hear an answer you didn’t expect and your first instinct is to dismiss it – don’t. Find a counselor. Look for resources. Continue following up. If you struggle with this (and let’s admit it, statistically, a lot of us do), get help too.

Do the right thing, the hard thing, for the sake of your children. If we don’t do this now, I am terrified of how the enemy will continue stealing hope and joy from our youngest generation and how they’ll be paralyzed to advance the Kingdom of God as they mature.

*Specific details that could identify children have been changed in such a way that it does not affect the story and only protects the children. Mandatory Reporters reported confessions that involved abuse or neglect or situations that indicated a child was in any type of danger by using proper state laws and procedures.

Resources for YOU!

COUNSELING: If you or your child needs help with sexual abuse, pornography, or other struggles, please turn to your pastor, a wise Christian friend, or a biblical counselor. The counselors at Biblical Counseling Center provide compassionate and competent Christ-centered care at our four offices in greater Chicago and by Skype all over the world. Please invest in your family and contact us.

To read the first part of this two-part series, click here.

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2 Comments on “A Warning to Parents from a Former Porn Addict”

  1. I lived a fine life. Perhaps one of poverty but we did well and what love my parents could not spare flowed from a sister of a brother in healthy 1950s ways. We were raised right. But as a college professor for 28 years, I began to study my students, their lack of preparation, concentration, lack of ambition that showed, and poor performance in class. I determined that this youth culture has been exposed to the most challenging and damaging messages, radical attitudes, forced to tolerate the intolerable and to expect the best for zero effort. I am a fine artist and began compiling data contrasting the stout, spiritual sturdiness, discipline and parenting styles used from Americas settlement in 1620 through develoent, to founding , to light and heavy industrialization, trough the years of armed conflict and protecting our shores 1914, 1941,1950; to the succession of jet age; space age; atomic Age; to current high tech age of today. The key is the Internet and worse than this, the content that is allowed and sanctioned on the Internet. My project is: “Decrypting the Explicit Selfie Enigma: the World Wide Web, the Internet, cyber bullying, cell phone sexting and social media; a Google Goliath and axis army antagonistic to American core values, core beliefs, our heritage and American Traditions”. I never thought so many of the youth culture were being so abused and sexualized at so young an age. My art goal is to create concurring histories the past meeting the present creating a foil to contrast past youths and their character against the overly sexed, commodified and entitlement 21st century kid etc etc. This is paintings I am making I need input as to how I might help educate parents as to the horrors your site has revealed to me. How do I paint that? A 5 year old sold by her own mother? How does that happen? Anyway I hope you can assist me. And thanks for reading and your time.

    1. How does someone know how to paint what you speak of? Perhaps art of hope in adversity? Let us know when God has given you a vision. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

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