My Daughter, the Porn Addict: Four Tips to Help Your Child Through A Porn Addiction

My Daughter, the Porn Addict: Four Tips to Help Your Child Through A Porn Addiction

By Haley Hawks

Next week is WRAP (White Ribbon Against Pornography) Week. Educate and Empower Kids hopes you find this article useful to you and your children!

 

You’re sitting in your living room when your daughter calls. She’s been away at school for several months and tells you she is headed home. She wants to talk.

Her voice sounds off.

She says she will be home that night, and you both say goodbye.

Several hours later she arrives, and the look on her face as she walks in the door causes your heart to race.

She looks at you and says,

“I can’t stop watching porn.

It’s taking over my life.

Can you help me?

Maybe you are religious. Maybe you aren’t. Maybe you’ve watched porn. Maybe you think porn is the vilest thing in the world. Maybe you are scared. Maybe you don’t think you can help her.

But you can.  

Brene Brown said in her book Daring Greatly, “Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.”

Your child is coming to you, bearing the full brunt of her vulnerability. She already knows that that she has a problem. If you are scared, imagine how scared she is. If you feel like you need help in this situation, just imagine how she feels. But she chose to reach out and connect with you.  

Here are four tips to help YOU help your child (or anyone!) through porn addiction

  1. Don’t shame them:

Shame leaves no room for redemption, only judgement. If this is someone you care about deeply it might be tempting to say, “How could you? How could you do this to me? Why would you? Don’t you know how much this breaks my heart?”

But move past your own reaction and move past blaming them. The porn industry is not just targeting adults. No, they want life long partnerships. Partnerships that start with your children, from a very young age. And the more exposure there is, the more it can transform the brain pathways to need satisfaction that only comes with porn. If your child is addicted, their sense of shame has probably already formed without you adding to it. Make this moment about them, about their vulnerability. As much as it might hurt, thank them for being honest.

  1. Don’t freak out

Are you panicking inside? Take a deep breath.

Take ten.

It’s better to silence words about to be spoken in pain and anger, than create more pain in someone who is already struggling. Having a little trouble with your reaction? Check out some of our don’t freak out tips to assist you in keeping your cool. Think about how hard this is for your child. Be compassionate. Give them love, not accusation.

  1. Make a plan

Why are they telling you this? Do they want to go to therapy? Is it something they need a therapist for? Do they want someone who can just help them to be accountable?

Help them to figure out where they stand. Keep in mind that they need love despite their imperfections.

Here are some helpful tips from our book How To Talk About Pornography:

  • Discuss your child’s feelings about their situation
  • Communicate openly
  • Acknowledge that curiosity is normal
  • Have a plan to RUN from further exposure
  • Create a positive reinforcement system
  1. Give them hope

Recently, I was talking with a long-time friend who struggled with a porn addiction. He told me that the worst thing about his addiction was the fact that he felt so alone, so hopeless. He didn’t want to see his friends and didn’t feel worthy to see his family.

He felt like he was a mistake because of his addiction.

Viewing pornograhy is a solitary activity. The viewer watches for his own pleasure and enjoyment. Consequently many porn users begin to isolate themselves. They need porn more than they crave real-life interactions.  In addition to this, porn sells you fantasy. Women and men are perfect.

But when the computer screen turns black, real life rules again and this time it’s even harder to deal with because life is never perfect.

Tell your child she is amazing. Every single person needs to be told how wonderful they are, but especially those who are already slipping down the slope of despair. Not sure how to do this? A simple way is just encouragement. Genuinely tell them things that are wonderful about them.

Now, you are their confidant. You can help them to deconstruct the images they see to understand the lies in them, and offer them accurate information about the true effects of porn which can be so destructive to the mind and the body.

Don’t understand fully why? Check out one of our books, How To Talk To Your Kids about Pornography, which provides great research and discussion questions to help get the conversation started. Or check out Educate Empower Kids to find out more information about how to discuss subjects like online safety, apps, pornography, and healthy sexual intimacy.

Haley Hawks has a Bachelors of Science in Marriage and Family Studies from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She is passionate about learning, especially when it comes to relationships and family life. She hopes to one day be able to educate on a world-wide setting in regards to promoting goodness in the family, and destroying ideals that hurt society.