Pornography and Teenagers
By: Beth McHugh 2007
It’s not an uncommon situation for a parent to suddenly walk into to their young male teenager’s bedroom and find them looking at porn. And in the blink of an eye, the screen reverts to something more savory. A parent in this position can be assaulted by a number of emotions: anger, revulsion or acceptance. Of course, what emotion you will experience depends on your view of pornography and, of course, the nature of the material that was viewed.
But parents are often confronted with another realization. And that is that their little boy is not a child any more. He has moved beyond childhood and its interests into has moved into the realm of the adult world. What you do next can be crucial to the relationship you have with your son, and, most importantly, the relationship your son has with the women in his future life.
When a parent discovers their son is viewing pornography, there is a dilemma to be faced. In essence, it is no different from all the other dilemmas you have faced with any or all of your children to date. Therefore, you can successfully traverse this situation as you did in former times.
On the one hand, you don’t want to give your son the idea that sex is dirty or disgusting, or that looking at semi-naked or even naked women, or people having sex is the worst thing that a person can do. Over-reactive behavior such as telling your son that he is sick or perverted will only have the unfortunate effect of driving the behavior underground and perhaps even warping your son’s ideas of love, relationships and sex for an extended period of time, if not his entire life.
Your son’s interest in sex is normal and healthy. And now that the news that he has been viewing porn is out in the open, you have an ideal opportunity to talk to him about the issue and to calmly provide some positive input about sex and relationships that will assist him in the years to come.
It’s best if both parents can talk openly to their son about the issue, however, the ideal is not always possible. Therefore whether you are a male or female parent, you can only do the best you can. You must accept that sex has now become an important issue for your son and how he feels about himself as a sexual being is currently being formed. To degrade him with derogatory terms will only destroy his fragile self-esteem concerning his burgeoning sex life which may, in turn, leave him with harmful, and untrue, thoughts about himself.