Pornography is rampant. Children see it at earlier and earlier ages. Satan can use an “accidental find” to hook a child into a lifelong addiction. So how do we respond as a parent?
Here are 5 steps to constructive solutions to the problem.
Listen before passing judgment or reacting in anger or disappointment (Proverbs 18:13).
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 information to understand the depth of involvement.
Listen with compassion and humility, knowing we all are candidates to sin (Galatians 6:1-5). The truth will come easier when a parent listens and disciplines in love, not in anger (James 1:19,20). Anger separates (click for download); 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.
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 his 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!
Balance nurture and admonition (Ephesians 6:4).
Nurture reaches the “seat of the pants” (the pain of consequences, Hebrews 12:5-11) and admonition reaches the heart (see Deuteronomy 6). 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 (Psalm 101:3).
Put accountability in place (like passwords on computers, limitations on iPods and cellphones, earlier bedtimes, less time alone, etc.) 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 follow up 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. Check out Friends
Friendships must be evaluated (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Peer relationships are important to young people who are not always wise is 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.
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