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When Your Son Views Porn

In Pornography and Teenagers, we looked at the mixed emotions that parents feel when they discover that their adolescent son is looking at pornography on the web. In this blog, we will look at some of the ways to best deal with this common situation.

As previously mentioned, it is not useful to react in horror and indulge in a frenzy of name-calling when first we discover that porn in on the menu of your offspring’s computer.

One of the most beneficial activities that you can do is to anticipate the event happening and think about what you would do when and if such a situation arises. Prior planning allows you to think and act in a dispassionate way about how you would best like to tackle the situation. You can even be proactive and instigate conversation with your son about the issue of readily-available pornography and ask him what his thoughts are on the subject. You may be pleasantly surprised by his feedback.

This method demonstrates to your son that you are approachable on the subject. You may have an opinion that differs from his, but speaking your mind calmly and clearly sets a boundary for your son. Whether he agrees with it or not, he knows what it is.

It’s not unusual for parents to find it difficult to talk to their offspring about many aspects of sex, but my attitude to this is that, if you were able to create your offspring, you can talk to them about how it all works. If you can overcome your own discomfort about talking about sex, you will be giving your child a priceless gift.

In the case of pornography, we must be careful to tread that thin line between being overly strict and overly lax. On the one hand, it can be a mistake to denigrate your son and completely disregard his natural curiosity about something that is fundamental to life. He is not “bad” to be looking at porn. But it is important that you communicate calmly that becoming reliant on hard core porn is dehumanizing to all parties: males and females, participants and viewers.

You don’t have to say a lot; probably less is more. Nothing turns a teenager off more than a 10,000 word dissertation. A simple comment involving care for their welfare and respect for their privacy in this area of their lives, plus a willingness to talk about issues in a fair and unbiased way, will go a long way towards making an impact on your son. If this is too difficult, you can try offering a book appropriate to his age group which discusses issues pertinent to him and his peers. Be sure to choose a book that has no obvious bias, otherwise you may find your effort backfires in the long term.

The best message that you can send to your son does not need words, books, or lectures. It the daily act of demonstrating via words and actions that you value your partner, that you can freely show affection and love, and most importantly, respect for each other. In a household where there is little or no respect between adult partners and between partners and their children, it is a big ask to expect the children in that household to show respect for others, including in the area of human sexuality. Your example speaks a thousand words.


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