Replacing the Habit: Helping Your Child to Overcome Porn Addiction

Replacing the Habit: Helping Your Child to Overcome Porn Addiction

By Caron C. Andrews

Replacing dysfunctional habits with good ones is the key to a successful recovery from any addiction, including pornography. Your child may have formed poor habits as a response to stress or boredom, so it’s important to find better habits that satisfy those needs (Clear, J., 2013, July 14). If your child doesn’t find new, healthy things to replace the old temptations, the likelihood of relapse shoots through the roof. Your child must retrain him or herself to rely on new activities and coping methods rather than the old destructive, addictive ones.

A porn addiction has become your child’s source of escape, comfort, and focus, so it cannot simply be stopped, leaving huge gaps in all of those areas, without being replaced by something else. Regular porn usage changes the chemistry of the brain by requiring more and more of the feel-good chemicals, dopamine, to be released to feel the same level of excitement as when the user first viewed porn (Porn Changes the Brain, n.d., and Hilton, D., & Watts, C., 2011). When kicking a porn addition, the brain must rebalance itself to return to a normal release of pleasure chemicals. Creating new habits is crucial in this rewiring of the brain.

As soon as the craving hits, your child needs to redirect his or her focus to a new habit. Here are some great things he or she can do.

  • Physical activity. The pornography habit of watching, masturbating, and reaching orgasm is physical, so a replacement should be a short physical exercise routine (7 Healthy Habit Ideas To Replace Your Porn Craving. [n.d.]) Look into yoga, pilates, running, weightlifting, or martial arts.
  • Remove triggers. It’s easy to associate habits with the times and places where they were used, so removing those triggers is essential (Clear, J., 2013, July 14). If your child watched porn in his or her room, remove their computer and don’t allow any other internet-enabled devices into his or her room. Help your child create new, healthy internet habits that will enhance his or her life, such as researching a favorite subject or learning how to make something they are interested in. Beware of this becoming another all-consuming habit, though! Be sure to make all internet-enabled devices safe by placing filters on them to block pornographic content.
  • Socialize. A porn addiction removes your child from natural interactions with others and replaces it with intense, hyperstimulated responses to objectified people. Recovering addicts need to re-learn how to be with real people in real, normal circumstances. They need to rebuild (or build for the first time) their own healthy sexuality, whether they are sexually active with another person or not. Even if it feels like an enormous effort, socializing with peers will help your child regain a normal sense of people and relationships (Tools For Change: Recovery from Porn Addiction, 2010, November 28).
  • Reconnect with an old interest. It’s likely that your child has been consumed by his or her pornography habit to the exclusion of many, if not all, previously enjoyable activities. Encourage your child to re-establish his or her activity in the things they used to love, whether it’s a sport, reading, drama club; whatever used to spark their interest and passion. As your child re-establishes this connection, he or she will also tap back into liking themselves, a sense of accomplishment, and healthy self-worth.

Recovery is possible. Help your child succeed by encouraging good, strengthening new habits.

Caron C. Andrews is a contributing writer for Educate and Empower Kids who has been with us from our beginnings. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English, with a concentration in creative writing, from the University of New Mexico. In addition to her articles on healthy relationships, healthy sexuality, and combatting pornography addiction, she had copyedited medical books written for the lay reader, fantasy novels, and historical dramas. She is currently working on starting a blog and writing a novel. She is the mother of a teenage son and daughter and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Sources:

Tools For Change: Recovery from Porn Addiction. (2010, November 28). Retrieved from http://yourbrainonporn.com/tools-for-change

Porn Changes the Brain. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.fightthenewdrug.org/get-the-facts#brain/porn-changes-the-brain

Clear, J. (2013, July 14). How to Break a Bad Habit (And Replace It With a Good One). Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-clear/breaking-habits_b_3540148.html

7 Healthy Habit Ideas To Replace Your Porn Craving. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://rebootblueprint.com/7-healthy-no-fap-replacement-habits/

 

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