In the last days, perilous times will come….” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
Our children are growing up in a dangerous world, and as parents we cannot always protect them. Pornography is rampant and children are exposed at earlier and earlier ages. Satan can use an “accidental find” to hook an innocent child into a lifelong addiction. So, how do we respond as a parent?
Horror! Grief! Anger! Disappointment! Worry!
These are just some of the emotions the parent feels when their child has viewed porn. Blaming the the child or blaming oneself won’t correct the situation; it may only make it worse.
Here are some steps to find constructive solutions to the pornography problem:
Listen to the child before passing judgment or reacting in anger or disappointment.
If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. Proverbs 18:13, ESV
Don’t jump to conclusions. Listen to your child’s story, when and how he/she first discovered pornography, his heart attitude toward what he has done or what has been done to him. Listen objectively for truth. Listen to see if there is true repentance, or excuses and justification for wrong.
2. Gather information
Gather enough information from the child to understand the depth of involvement.
Listen with compassion and humility, knowing we all are tempted to sin.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. Gal. 6:1-5, ESV
The truth will come easier when a parent listens and disciplines in love, not in anger. Anger separates; love unifies. A child who feels loved by his parents is much more likely to open up and deal with the issues he must face.
3. The Goal: Correction
The goal of effective discipline is always “correction.”
When a parent just punishes because he is hurt or angry, the child often retreats into his own secret world, and even more sin, or becomes consumed with fear, shame, and condemnation. When a parent accurately evaluates a sinful attitude or behavior and then helps his child to see his own sinful heart issues, that child is more likely to want to change and correct the wrong.
The loving parent can then guide her child into understanding how and when he got off track and how to get back on track. The consequences given by his parents will help him to remember in the future when he is tempted again. Parents ought to be a safe place to turn in the face of temptation where he can find strength and encouragement for right. Parents also need to model grace and mercy as God the Father graciously bestows on each of us when we sin! Forgiveness with consequences….
4. Be the Parent!
Be the parent! Balance nurture and admonition.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Eph. 6:4, ESV
Nurture reaches the “Seat of the Pants” (the pain of consequences – Hebrews 12:5-11) and admonition reaches the Heart (Deuteronomy 6 – God’s Heart to my heart, to my child’s heart so that my child comes to know God’s Heart).
Do a Bible study on moral purity with him to fortify and guide him against ever yielding to pornography in the future, to renew his mind in purity. Put accountability in place (like passwords on computers, limitations on iPods and cellphones, earlier bedtimes, less time alone, and so on) for his protection and correction.
Install programs on the computer that give accountability and prevent accidental pop ups. Train the children to follow safeguards when doing homework to avoid impulsive clicking around. Regularly followup on his progress and accountability. Children are less likely to get into pornography, or at least stay in it, when they know parents care and will be checking!
5. Evaluate Friendships
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 1 Cor. 15:33, ESV
Peer relationships are important to young people who are not always wise in choosing friends, yet are influenced greatly by them. It takes character to stand against the culture! Until your child has achieved moral maturity, certain friendships must be cut off or limited if they are not encouraging each other to righteousness. Encourage healthy friendships, and be sure that the parent/child relationship grows stronger.
6. Build Moral Purity
You and your child can seek to build moral purity.
Look up the verses for each “Control” and evaluate what your and your child have done in the past in this area, what you are doing at the present, and what God is leading you to do in the future.
Be specific. Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and each of these seven controls will help you build the necessary character to build moral purity.
- Thought Control: Proverbs 23:7; Romans 12:2; Philippians 4:8; 2 Corinthians 10:5
- Eye Control: Job 31:1; Psalm 101:3; Proverbs 4:23, 25; Matthew 6:22-23
- Body Control: 1Thessalonains 4:4; 1Timothy 4:7-8; Romans 6:12
- Companion Control: 1Corinthians 15:33; 5:9-11; Proverbs 13:20-21;22:24-25; 27:17
- Circumstance Control: Romans 13:14; 1Thessalonians 5:22; 2 Timothy 2:22
- Influence Control: 1Thessalonains 4:6-7; Proverbs 27:17; Romans 16:17-18
- Focus Control: 2 Corinthians 5:9; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Philippians 2:3-4;Matthew 20:25-28
For an expanded version of these building blocks, visit Building Blocks Resource.