Your Child Has Seen Porn: Now What?

Your Child Has Seen Porn: Now What?

By Amanda Grossman-Scott

  1. Stay calm. Don’t you lose your cool. Your child is unlikely to keep listening if you start off by screaming “You saw WHAT?” when you find out that your child has seen porn. It’s important to keep a conversational tone.
  2. Ask how it happened. (If this isn’t the first time- ask your child how he is accessing it.) “Help me understand” is a great way to ask how the exposure occurred.
  3. Ask what they’ve seen. You can take away the secrecy and power of the images your child has seen by dissecting them. Try to make your child understand how ridiculous porn is but also how dangerous it is to those whose concepts of love and intimacy are influenced by it. Those who don’t know that it’s a farce. Also make your child aware of porn’s addictive nature. Like drugs, porn uses the reward pathways in the brain to entice the user to return again and again for more.
  4. Reassure your child that curiosity is normal but that porn isn’t an accurate representation of sex or love. Yes, porn involves sex. But your child needs to know that porn is not what intimacy is really about. Porn has no love, relationships or emotion. Point out to your child that true intimacy, healthy intimacy, should involve all of these aspects.
  5. Don’t use shame or guilt to attempt to try to convince your child not to look at it again. Shame and guilt feed into the secretive nature of porn. If a child is made to feel guilty or ashamed of himself, his self-esteem will suffer- which could drive him right back to the porn for a fix.
  6. Formulate a plan, as a family, for what to do if confronted with or tempted to look at porn. (For example: Look away, tell a trusted adult, tell a parent.)
  7. Follow up. Frequently. The older your child gets, the more he or she won’t be under your direct supervision. Let your child know YOU haven’t forgotten the discussions you’ve had and that you are always available for follow-up questions. This is the best way to keep the lines of communication open and ensure that your child knows you are dependable.

No plan is full proof, no parent is perfect. The most important thing is that you TALK about it. Ignoring it won’t make it go away and could very well create or feed into a serious problem.