Is Your Child’s Porn Habit Really an Addiction?

Is Your Child’s Porn Habit Really an Addiction?

 

By Courtney Cagle

 

At what point does a habit become an addiction? This is a question that many of you probably have had. My best friend starting looking at pornography 18 years ago when he was only 11 years old, and he didn’t realize it was a true addiction until about year ago. Many people, like my friend live with an addiction for years. Meanwhile, they are in denial or don’t recognize what it truly means to have an addiction.

What is a Habit?

A habit is a behavior that occurs automatically. It’s something that a person does over and over again. People form these habits and tend to keep them throughout their lifetime. People form positive and negative habits. Most don’t often notice their own habits, but may notice other people’s habits and find them annoying. Positive habits can be wonderful, but negative habits can lead to a lifelong addiction (Admin, 2011).

What is an Addiction?

Addiction occurs when a habit has changed the neural pathways in the brain. At this point, it feels impossible to stop repeating the negative behavior. Many people have a hard time identifying the difference between a habit and an addiction, but a good way to discover it is to try and stop the behavior. If your child is unable to stop a certain behavior, this is a good sign that it has passed the point of a habit and has turned into an addiction.

Addictions can sometimes be used as an escape or coping mechanism because of stress, loneliness, anxiety, or other difficulties. Addictions usually affect relationships and the addict’s behavior. Functioning at work or in a relationship becomes difficult and sometimes impossible (Admin, 2011).

Pornography’s Effect on the Brain

So, how does this apply to pornography? Pornography affects the brain in a similar way as a drug. The brain has a reward center and our brain can’t tell the difference between receiving a  real, healthy reward and drugs. Addictive substances activate the reward center which results in dopamine (pleasure chemicals) being released. The cravings get stronger as more dopamine is released into the brain, and the consumer wants more and more of the drug (How Porn Affects The Brain Like A Drug, 2017), (Alexander & Mehrdad, 2016).

Pornography does the same thing. The brain releases more dopamine when introduced to new sexual stimuli. There is a huge variety of new pornographic images on the internet that consumers can view. If the image they are currently viewing no longer stimulates the viewer, there is always something different and more titillating to click on. Pornography addiction is progressive. Many individuals begin looking at gateway images like anime porn, which lead to scantily clad women, which lead to nude women, which lead to sex between a man and a woman, and so on.

If the pornography habit isn’t caught early, the viewer can begin craving content more frequently, or will often turn to more hard-core, dehumanizing porn in order to release the amount of dopamine needed to satisfy them sexually. This makes it more difficult to quit and can result in withdrawal symptoms that are similar to drug withdrawal symptoms (How Porn Affects The Brain Like A Drug, 2017), (Alexander & Mehrdad, 2016).

So, how can you tell if your child has a habit or an addiction to pornography?

Here are some questions you can ask your son or daughter if you have discovered they are looking at porn, to help determine if they have a pornography addiction.

  1. Does viewing pornography have a negative effect on your daily happiness?
  2. Do you put yourself in situations where it is easier to view porn?
  3. When you aren’t looking at pornography on a daily or weekly basis, does it result in withdrawal symptoms like stress, anger, depression, or anxiety?
  4. Do you try to hide your pornography use from your parents or others?
  5. Have you tried multiple times, unsuccessfully, to stop looking at pornography on your own?
  6. Have you noticed pornography affecting your schooling, specifically how well you do in school or your desire to try?
  7. Have you noticed pornography affecting your personal relationships negatively by making you more distant or closed off?
  8. Have you noticed an increase in the amount of pornography used over the past six months? Over the past year?
  9. How often do you view porn? Is it daily, weekly, monthly?
  10. Do you ever feel like your porn use is out of control?

If your son or daughter answered yes to any of these questions, they might have a pornography addiction (Habit vs. Addiction: 4 Questions To Determine The Difference, 2017), (Pornography Addiction and Treatment, 2018), (Alexander & Mehrdad, 2016). If you are uncomfortable asking these questions, here are some signs you can look for to see if your son or daughter has been looking a pornography:

  1. Does your son or daughter hide their phone from you or try to be secretive about it?
  2. Have you seen questionable websites on your browser history?
  3. Is your son or daughter uninterested in activities they used to love?
  4. Does your son or daughter seem more depressed, stressed, or anxious?
  5. Is your son or daughter more withdrawn than usual?
  6. Does your son or daughter hide away in their room often?

These things in and of themselves don’t necessarily mean that your child has a pornography problem, but when coupled together, they could indicate a pornography habit or addiction.

There is Hope

If your child has a pornography habit or addiction, there is still hope! Don’t ever give up on your kids. They are never past the point of no return. They can overcome this and they need your help. The first stage of pornography addiction is early exposure (McConnell & Campbell, 1996). It usually starts at a young age and that’s where you come in.

Here are 5 things you can do can help your child with early exposure to pornography:

  1. Be Calm and Don’t Overreact

You may feel hurt or betrayed. You may feel like you don’t even know who your child is, but don’t express this to them! You may have these feelings inside, but it doesn’t benefit anyone to let them all out. It will only hurt your child. Think of how they are feeling and respond with love and compassion (Hawks, 2017).   

  1. Don’t Use Shame

Your child already feels shame as a result of what they’ve done. Making them feel more shame won’t create open communication and won’t help with their problem. It will only make them feel worse. Let them know you appreciate their openness and their trust in you (Hawks, 2017).

  1. Be Someone They Can Come To

Let your child know that they can come to do when they slip up. Having someone to report to and to share this information with can help in the process of overcoming it. If they are held responsible by sharing it, it can help them to be more determined and will also help them know they have your support and love.

  1. Discover the Underlying Issue

Those who have a pornography problem usually have something in their life that drives them to view it. It could be depression, stress, anxiety, or other problems in their life. Sit down and talk to your child to determine what that is and how you can help them solve that problem. Overcoming the underlying issue will help with overcoming pornography.

  1. Come Up With a Plan:

Children need to have a plan after they are exposed to pornography. If they make a plan, it will be easier to discuss information with you (Hawks, 2017). Our book, How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography, discusses ways to help your kids with their pornography struggle.

Some of the ways discussed in the book include:

  • Building a foundation of trust
  • Creating a home of openness
  • Creating a plan to R-U-N Plan if exposed to porn
  • Exploring treatment options if it’s become an addiction
  • Exploring alternate, healthy behaviors
  • Creating a positive reinforcement system

If you are ready to tackle this tough topic, check out  How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography, available here.

Pornography addiction is a very difficult addiction to overcome, but it is possible. Unlike those struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, those addicted to porn can’t avoid all situations where there pornography will be present–because it is everywhere. It’s all over the internet, on advertisements, and on television. If your daughter or son if struggling, you must be loving, supportive, and use whatever resources you can to help them overcome this. For more information on how you can help your kids overcome addiction, look at this article called How Parents Can Help Children Overcome Porn Addiction.

Educate and Empower Kids has TONS of great resources to help you with this tough topic:

 

Find all of our books here.

 

Courtney Cagle is a senior at Brigham Young University-Idaho graduating in Marriage and Family Studies. She loves kids and wants to help create a safe environment for all children to learn and grow.

 

There are affiliate links in the blog post. When you use them to make purchases, we thank you for supporting Educate and Empower Kids!

 

Citations:

Alexander, D., & Mehrdad, J. (2016). How to talk to your kids about pornography. United States: Educate & Empower Kids.

(2011, January 22). Difference Between Habit and Addiction|Habit vs Addiction. Retrieved May 16, 2018, from https://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-habit-and-addiction/

Habit vs. Addiction: 4 Questions To Determine The Difference. (2017, June 14). Retrieved May 16, 2018, from https://journeypureriver.com/habit-vs-addiction-4-questions-determine-difference/

Hawks, H. (2017, October 26). My Daughter, the Porn Addict: Four Tips to Help Your Child Through A Porn Addiction. Retrieved May 16, 2018, from https://educateempowerkids.org/daughter-porn-addict-four-tips-help-child-porn-addiction

How Porn Affects The Brain Like A Drug. (2017, August 23). Retrieved May 16, 2018, from https://fightthenewdrug.org/how-porn-affects-the-brain-like-a-drug/

McConnell, G., & Campbell, K. (1996). The Stages of Pornography Addiction. Retrieved May 16, 2018, from https://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce-and-infidelity/pornography-and-virtual-infidelity/stages-of-porn-addiction

Pornography Addiction and Treatment. (2018). Retrieved May 16, 2018, from https://www.recoveryconnection.com/addiction-resources/other-addictions/pornography/

8 peligros del sexting y lo que los padres pueden hacer

8 peligros del sexting y lo que los padres pueden hacer

 

Por Kyle Roberts, MA

Traducido por luis antonio mayen castellanos

Echa un vistazo a nuestro primer artículo 6 razones por las cuales los niños Sextean.

Nota del autor: A los efectos de estos artículos, definiremos el sexting como el envío y la recepción de mensajes sexualmente explícitos, texto o imágenes. A menudo pensamos que el sexting ocurre principalmente a través de mensajes de texto en un teléfono celular. Sin embargo, ahora estos mensajes pueden enviarse y recibirse a través de aplicaciones, redes sociales o cualquier medio que tenga una opción de mensajería.

En nuestro primer artículo, discutimos algunas de las razones por las cuales los niños pueden enviar mensajes sexualmente explícitos; ahora hablemos de lo peligrosa que puede ser la práctica.

1. Ilegal para cualquier persona menor de edad.
En algunos estados, enviar y recibir mensajes de texto de cualquier persona menor de 18 años constituye posesión y distribución de pornografía infantil y puede dar lugar a cargos penales. Dado que la pornografía infantil es un delito sexual, los perpetradores llevan la etiqueta de un delincuente sexual (Gloria Allred: “Peligros de sexting adolescente”).

2. Reemplaza la comunicación, minimiza las señales sociales.
Todos podemos estar de acuerdo en que enviar mensajes de texto es mucho más fácil que llamar a alguien por teléfono. Especialmente si solo tienes una pregunta rápida, no conoces bien a la persona o no tienes tiempo para involucrarte en una larga conversación. Ni siquiera sé si los niños de hoy saben cómo hacer una llamada telefónica. El sexting lleva eso al siguiente nivel. Para algunos da mucha recompensa con poco riesgo o inversión. Toma todas las formas en que los mensajes de texto han afectado la comunicación y agregan un componente sexual. Para nombrar unos pocos:
Minimiza la interacción persona a persona, disminuyendo la intimidad y aumentando la objetivación.
Explota a través de reglas sociales, lo que resulta en una disminución de la privacidad y los límites personales.
Perpetúa la gratificación instantánea y el derecho al cuerpo de otra persona (Villines, 2012).

3. Una vez que está ahí afuera, está ahí afuera.
Todos hemos oído hablar de nuestra huella digital, que es básicamente la información, las imágenes y en realidad todo lo que se pone en la World Wide Web. ¿Qué pasa con la información o las imágenes que no son necesarias que publiques? ¿Qué pasaría si esa imagen o sexteo fuera solo para un par de ojos? En el momento en que presionas enviar, estás liberando tu propiedad de esa imagen. Quienquiera que obtenga esa imagen puede hacer lo que quiera con ella, independientemente de las promesas que hayan hecho de que no la compartirían con nadie. AKA venganza porno (Revenge Porn: The Facts). ¡¡Ni siquiera nos pongas en Snapchat!!

4. Cuota emocional
La sexualidad individual y la expresión sexual es algo muy vulnerable e íntimo. Compartir esas partes de nosotros mismos con otros en cualquier forma tiene un impacto emocional. Cuando una persona joven sextea, pone esa imagen en manos de otra persona. ¿Quién puede decir que no se peleará con esa persona o qué sucede si alguien más se pone en contacto con su dispositivo? Es un mundo aterrador a través del cual nuestros niños navegan. Todos hemos escuchado las historias. Un sexteo puede prepararlo para la intimidación (dentro y fuera de Internet) y puede arruinar su reputación (Inbar, 2009 y Cyberbullying y Sexting en las redes sociales).

5. Táctica de aseo
iLos mensajes sexualmente explícitos pueden y han sido utilizados como un dispositivo de aseo de los depredadores sexuales. Lo hacen de la manera habitual, ofreciendo regalos y ganándose la confianza del niño, lo que finalmente los lleva a pedir una imagen inocente de apariencia normal; entonces las solicitudes se vuelven más y más sexualmente sugestivas. Pronto, el depredador tiene una imagen o varias del niño que se puede usar como una especie de chantaje para que el niño envíe más fotos o participe en actos sexuales o sus fotos serán expuestas al mundialmenteo (Rakosnik).

6. Objetificación
El sexting es el acto de auto objetivación. Ya no somos vistos como un cuerpo humano con un toque cálido; a menudo nos reducimos al mínimo a una imagen desnuda, sin sugerencia sexual o sin cabeza. Cuando nos involucramos en sexting, nos convertimos en una cosa que se utiliza para la gratificación sexual de otro. No hay toma y daca, comunicación, intimidad o valor (McKay, 2013). Esto nos lleva a la cuestión más amplia de que “[w] presagio [y hombres] que viven en una cultura en la que son objetivados por otros pueden a su vez comenzar a objetivarse a sí mismos” (la autoobjetificación puede inhibir el activismo social de las mujeres). Cuando vemos a los demás como objetos, empezamos a vernos a nosotros mismos como objetos, solo de valor cuando los usamos otros. ¿Es esto lo que esperamos de nuestras hijas e hijos?

7. Impone expectativas / presiones sobre las personas para que hagan cosas para las que no están preparadas, cómodas o que no quieren hacer.
Coacción sexting. Es cuando alguien te presiona para que sextees y no quieres (La presión para que envíes mensajes de contenido sexual: Lo que necesitas saber sobre la coacción sexting). Al igual que las tácticas de preparación de los depredadores sexuales mencionados anteriormente, comienza con una persona que solo pide un selfie, y luego lleva a mucho más. Con niños de tan solo nueve años que tienen acceso a dispositivos habilitados para enviar mensajes de texto, debemos prepararlos para lo que puedan encontrar.

8. Sexting en relación a la pornografía.
Con la omnipresencia y el fácil acceso a la pornografía, estamos viendo más y más comportamientos sexuales de niños en edades más jóvenes (Bingham, 2014). Cuando crecen con los medios de comunicación, especialmente la pornografía, como maestros de educación sexual, los niños comienzan a imitar o esperar esas conductas sexuales de sus compañeros a medida que avanzan por el camino de la objetivación sexual. El sexting como un comportamiento adolescente “normal” o “esperado”, como proliferó en la televisión, el cine y la música, es una idea que debe rechazarse.. (Hoder, 2104).

¿Qué puedes hacer?
¡Comunícate, comunícate, comunícate! En sus conversaciones con sus hijos, mencione el sexting; Pregúnteles qué piensan al respecto, si lo han hecho, si se sienten presionados a hacerlo.

Dígales cuáles son las expectativas en su familia y enséñeles la moral que espera que planeen mantener con respecto al envío de mensajes sexualmente explícitos.

Cree un plan: ayude a sus hijos a saber qué pueden y deben hacer si se les pide o reciben un mensaje sexualmente explícito de ALGUIEN. El juego de roles es muy beneficioso aquí. Deles las palabras que necesitan para rechazar una solicitud de sexting y pídales que practiquen el uso de esas palabras.


Ayude a su hijo a construir su autoestima. Saber que tienen valor y que son más que un simple objeto, ayuda a los niños a rechazar la idea de que para ser valiosos para los demás, tienen que participar en algo con lo que no se sienten cómodos. Este sentido del yo puede ayudar a un niño a hablar cuando algo no está bien.


Como padre, pregúntese cómo se maneja la etiqueta del teléfono celular en su hogar. ¿Cuándo se les permite a los miembros de la familia usar teléfonos? ¿Qué horarios y lugares están fuera de los límites? Por ejemplo, ¿no hay mensajes de texto después de las 9 pm o no hay teléfonos en la mesa?


Sé consciente de a quién están enviando mensajes de texto, con qué frecuencia y en qué momentos. ¿Cuáles son las reglas familiares para enviar mensajes de texto? Por ejemplo, nunca envíe un mensaje de texto a alguien que no conozca, tiene 20 minutos para responderle el mensaje a mamá o papá, y así sucesivamente.
Revisa sus teléfonos. Esto puede variar de familia a familia o de niño a niño, pero es importante tener responsabilidad. Simplemente puede hacerles saber que realizará comprobaciones periódicas o aleatorias o puede obtener un software o una aplicación que le proporcione esta información. Aquí hay un ejemplo.


Si nota algún cambio repentino o drástico en el comportamiento de su hijo, las probabilidades aumentan. Podrían estar experimentando acoso escolar, participar en actividades dañinas como sexting, uso de drogas o alcohol, o quién sabe qué más. Es casi como si nuestros hijos pudieran construir una cerca alrededor de sí mismos para mantenernos fuera. No tengas miedo de subir esas cercas !!
Nuestros niños están navegando a través de algunas aguas difíciles por ahí. A veces, sabemos que puede parecer imposible protegerlos de todo lo que tiene el potencial de lastimarlos. Siempre hay esperanza cuando tienes un padre que se toma el tiempo no solo para aprender más sobre lo que está pasando, sino también para guiarlos en su camino. Así que sigan con el buen trabajo.

Comparte este artículo con tus amigos en Facebook y Twitter.

¿Necesitas más ayuda o ideas? Obtenga una copia de Cómo hablar con sus hijos sobre la pornografía (disponible en inglés y español) en Amazon.

Kyle Roberts tiene más de 10 años de experiencia trabajando con organizaciones sin fines de lucro. Recibió su maestría en asesoramiento comunitario de la Universidad de Texas en San Antonio con énfasis en la recuperación de la adicción. Cuando no está luchando con su hijo pequeño, se la puede encontrar enseñando psicología del desarrollo en BYU-Idaho o trabajando en proyectos de bricolaje.

Recursos:

Gloria Allred: “Peligros de sexting adolescente” (n.d.). Consultado el 10 de mayo de 2016, de http://criminal.lawyers.com/juvenile-law/gloria-allred-dangers-of-teen-sexting.html

Villines, Z. (2012, 26 de julio). Cómo los mensajes de texto cambian la comunicación. Consultado el 10 de mayo de 2016, de http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/texting-teens-adults-communication-0726126

La venganza del porno: los hechos. (Dakota del Norte.). Consultado el 10 de mayo de 2016, de https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/405286/revenge-porn-factsheet.pdf

Inbar, M. (2009, 02 de diciembre). El acoso sexual se menciona en el suicidio de un adolescente. Consultado el 10 de mayo de 2016, de http://www.today.com/id/34236377/ns/today-today_news/t/sexting-bullying-cited-teens-suicide/#.VxBW5GPnvR0

Ciberacoso y sexting en las redes sociales. (Dakota del Norte.). Consultado el 10 de mayo de 2016, de http://www.ncpc.org/programs/living-safer-being-smarter/surfing-safer/cyberbullying-and-sexting-on-social-media

Rakosnik, M. V. (n.d.). Las nuevas víctimas de la tecnología: sexting y aseo | Euro Psychiatry Summit-2015 | OMICS Internacional. Consultado el 10 de mayo de 2016, de http://psychiatrist.conferenceseries.com/abstract/2015/the-new-technology-victims-sexting-and-grooming

McKay, T. (2013, 30 de septiembre). Auto-objetivación femenina: causas, consecuencias y prevención. Consultado el 10 de mayo de 2016, de http://commons.emich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1065&context=mcnair

La auto-objetificación puede inhibir el activismo social de las mujeres. (2013, 14 de febrero). Consultado el 10 de mayo de 2016, de http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/self-objectification-may-inhibit-womens-social-activism.html

La presión para obtener información adicional: lo que necesita saber sobre la coacción sexting – www.loveisrespect.org. (2015, 14 de mayo). Consultado el 10 de mayo de 2016, de http://www.loveisrespect.org/content/the-pressure-to-sext-what-you-need-to-know-about-sexting-coercion/

Bingham, J. (2014, 20 de agosto). Sexting y porno parte de la vida cotidiana de los adolescentes. Consultado el 10 de mayo de 2016, de http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/better-sex-education/11043935/Sexting-and-porn-part-of-everyday-life-for-teenagers.html

Hoder, R. (2014, 3 de julio). El estudio encuentra a la mayoría de los adolescentes por debajo de los 18 años. Consultado el 10 de mayo de 2016, de http://time.com/2948467/chances-are-your-teen-is-sexting/

 

6 Razones por las que los niños sextean

6 Razones por las que los niños sextean


  
Por Kyle Roberts, MA

Traducido por Luis Antonio Mayen Castellanos

 

Echa un vistazo a nuestro segundo artículo 8 Peligros del Sexting

Nota del autor: A los efectos de estos artículos, definiremos el sexting como el envío y la recepción de mensajes sexualmente explícitos, texto o imágenes. A menudo pensamos que el sexting ocurre principalmente a través de mensajes de texto en un teléfono celular. Sin embargo, ahora estos mensajes pueden enviarse y recibirse a través de aplicaciones, redes sociales o cualquier medio que tenga una opción de mensajería.

Recuerdo que trabajé como consejero en una escuela secundaria y escuché tantas historias de mis alumnos. Uno en particular sigue sobresaliendo en mi mente; involucra a una estudiante de 7º grado (13 años) que se vio envuelta en un escándalo de sexting. El hermano mayor de un amigo había conseguido su número y se estaban enviando mensajes de texto como la mayoría de los jóvenes. El estaba en noveno grado. Con el tiempo, la alentó a que le enviara más y más imágenes y textos sexualmente explícitos. Lo hizo, y las consecuencias fueron desastrosas. Compartió las fotos con sus amigos y ellos a su vez con sus amigos. Muy pronto, como una enfermedad virtualmente transmitida, fotos y mensajes de sus momentos más íntimos estaban en el teléfono de todos.

Cuando escuchamos historias como esta, varias preguntas vienen a la mente: ¿Dónde estaban sus padres? ¿En qué estaba pensando ella? ¿Dónde aprendió eso? ¿No lo sabe ella mejor? ¿Por qué la responsabilidad / culpa siempre se enfoca en la chica?

Estas son algunas de las razones detrás de por qué los adolescentes sextean:

1. Desarrollo del cerebro.    Nuestros cerebros se desarrollan en etapas; se refiere a menudo como un desarrollo de frente a atrás. El desarrollo comienza con el manejo de las funciones corporales básicas, como la frecuencia cardíaca y la respiración, y termina con la capacidad de procesar pensamientos de alto nivel, como la toma de riesgos y la toma de decisiones. Este pensamiento de nivel superior se desarrolla en la corteza prefrontal. Es necesario que tengamos entre 22 y 25 años de edad para tener un cerebro completamente maduro (“Cerebro adolescente: comportamiento, resolución de problemas y toma de decisiones”, 2011). Déjame repetir 22-25! Tomamos muchas decisiones importantes de la vida antes de tener la capacidad intelectual para procesar los posibles resultados de esas decisiones. Creo que todos podemos mirar hacia atrás y recordar algunas de esas elecciones épicas de vida, algunas terminaron bien y otras no tan bien.

Debido a que el cerebro adolescente es inmaduro, generalmente se pueden clasificar como:

torpe / meterse en accidentes de todo tipo
actuando por impulso
leer mal o malinterpretar los límites, las normas sociales y las emociones
involucrarse en conductas de riesgo
tener problemas para procesar las consecuencias
Reconocer estos rasgos puede ayudar a los padres a comprender por qué y cómo una persona joven puede verse involucrada en el sexting.

2. Anónimo      El sexting, como la mayoría de nuestra cultura virtual, tiene un nivel de anonimato, y el objetivo principal de algunas aplicaciones es conectarte con un extraño. (Lea acerca de las aplicaciones más peligrosas aquí). Cuando las cosas son anónimas, es más probable que participemos en conductas más riesgosas, conductas en las que, de lo contrario, no participaríamos si tuviéramos una interacción cara a cara. Nuestras inhibiciones disminuyen porque creemos que nadie lo descubrirá; es “nuestro pequeño secreto”. La realidad no podría estar más lejos de la verdad. “El 17% de los sexters comparten los mensajes que reciben con otros, y el 55% de ellos los comparte con más de una persona (” 11 Datos sobre Sexting “)”

3. Popular      Es una práctica muy común y popular entre los adolescentes. Un estudio en 2014 afirma que el 54% de los estudiantes universitarios informaron haber participado en sexting antes de los 18 años. Los investigadores dijeron: “Nos sorprendió la prevalencia y la frecuencia de sexting entre los menores de edad …” ya que estudios anteriores informaron cifras mucho más bajas (Hoder, 2014). Muchos adolescentes dijeron haber dicho que el sexting era la nueva forma de cortejar. Ha habido un aumento de menciones de sexting en películas y programas de televisión. Todos estos factores se combinan para crear una expectativa de sextearse en algún momento.

4. Porno      Conocemos las estadísticas; Algo así como el 80% de los adolescentes han visto pornografía. La pornografía afecta nuestros comportamientos, conduce a comportamientos sexuales más riesgosos y sirve como modelo sexual, creando en los espectadores un sentido de expectativas sexuales. Las creencias de que “todas las chicas son fáciles” o “no significa que sí” (entre otras) son generalizadas en la pornografía (Laydon, 2010). La conclusión es que ver pornografía afecta nuestros comportamientos, uno de los cuales es una mayor probabilidad de sexting.

5. Buscando algo      Los seres humanos se involucran en comportamientos por razones específicas. La razón más común por la que hacemos lo que hacemos es porque se siente bien o esperamos sentirnos bien. El sexting sigue el mismo patrón. Piensa en tu adolescencia. Fue el mejor de los tiempos, fue el peor de los tiempos, ¿verdad? Todos buscamos cualquier razón para sentirnos bien en cualquier nivel, para ser aceptados, para ser amados, para ser queridos, nada de eso ha cambiado. Para algunos el sexting llena un vacío que esperan llenar. Anhelan ser descritos como atractivos o aceptados (Lawrence, 2016).

6. “Sexo seguro”     Muchos adolescentes y preadolescentes ven el sexting como la alternativa “más segura” a tener sexo real, toda la diversión sin riesgos, ¿no? (Fathima, 2014). Lo contrario es realmente cierto; los estudios han demostrado que las personas jóvenes que son sexters tienen MÁS probabilidades de tener relaciones sexuales (Jaslow, 2012).

¿Qué pueden hacer los padres?

Hable con su hijo sobre la moral y las expectativas de la familia.

Converse con sus hijos sobre las consecuencias del sexting.

Establezca reglas para el uso del teléfono celular; esto funciona mejor cuando trabaja con su hijo. Pregúntales qué creen que es justo.

Edúquese sobre las aplicaciones que están disponibles y qué aplicaciones hay en el teléfono de su hijo. Hacer un chequeo diario o semanal; Revisa sus textos y descargas.

Obtenga una copia de Cómo hablar con sus hijos sobre la pornografía (disponible en inglés y español) en Amazon aquí.

¿Curioso por aprender más? Echa un vistazo a nuestros libros, 30 días de conversaciones sexuales y Cómo hablar con sus hijos sobre la pornografía, que también está disponible en español


¿Necesita ayuda con temas difíciles? ¡Tenemos lo que necesitas!

¡Síguenos en Facebook, Instagram, y Twitter!

 

Kyle Roberts tiene más de 10 años de experiencia trabajando con organizaciones sin fines de lucro. Recibió su maestría en asesoramiento comunitario de la Universidad de Texas en San Antonio con énfasis en la recuperación de la adicción. Cuando no está luchando con su hijo pequeño, se la puede encontrar enseñando psicología del desarrollo en BYU-Idaho o trabajando en proyectos de bricolaje.


Recursos:

Cerebro adolescente: comportamiento, resolución de problemas y toma de decisiones. (2011, diciembre). Consultado en abril de 2016, de https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/The-Teen-Brain-Behavior-Problem-Solving-and-Decision-Making-095.aspx

11 hechos sobre sexting. (Dakota del Norte.). Consultado en abril de 2016, de https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-sexting

Hoder, R. (2014, 3 de julio). El estudio encuentra a la mayoría de los adolescentes antes de los 18 años. Obtenido en abril de 2016, de http://time.com/2948467/chances-are-your-teen-is-sexting/

Layden, M. A. (2010). La pornografía y la violencia: una nueva mirada a la investigación. En J. Stoner y D. Hughes (Eds.) Los costos sociales de la pornografía: una colección de artículos (págs. 57–68). Princeton, NJ: Instituto Witherspoon; Carroll, J. S., Padilla-Walker, L. M., y Nelson, L. J. (2008). Generación XXX: Aceptación y uso de pornografía entre adultos emergentes. Journal of Adolescent Research 23, 1: 6–30; Haggstrom-Nordin, E., Tyden, T., y Hanson, U. (2005). Asociaciones entre el consumo de pornografía y las prácticas sexuales entre adolescentes en Suecia. International Journal of STD & AIDS 16, 2: 102–7; Wingood, G. M., et al. (2001). Exposición a actitudes y conductas sexuales y relacionadas con los anticonceptivos de las películas y adolescentes de X. Pediatría 107, 5: 1116–19.

Lawrence, J. (2016, 26 de marzo). Cómo el sexting está creando un espacio seguro para los millennials curiosos | Las fronteras electrónicas de Australia. Consultado en abril de 2016, de https://www.efa.org.au/2016/03/26/sexting-millennials/

Fathima, A. K. (2014, 01 de julio). Los adolescentes más jóvenes consideran el sexting como un sustituto del sexo real. Consultado en abril de 2016, de http://www.ibtimes.com.au/younger-teens-see-sexting-substitute-real-sex-1345646

Jaslow, R. (2012, 17 de septiembre). Un estudio encuentra que los adolescentes que “sextean” tienen más probabilidades de tener relaciones sexuales: ¿qué pueden hacer los padres para enfrentar la tendencia? Consultado en abril de 2016, de http://www.cbsnews.com/news/teens-who-sext-more-likely-to-have-sex-study-finds-what-can-parents-do-to-buck- tendencia/

 

Bullying de alta tecnología: ¿Qué pueden hacer los padres?

Bullying de alta tecnología: ¿Qué pueden hacer los padres?


Por Marina Spears

“Cejas”. Ese fue el apodo que me dieron cuando llegué a una nueva escuela a los once años. No negaré que mis cejas tenían un tamaño saludable y no tenía idea de cómo cambiarlas, pero eso no hizo que el “apodo” fuera menos doloroso. Todavía me dolía el estómago cada vez que los chicos se acercaban a mí riéndose, o cuando mis compañeros me llamaban “Cejas” en lugar de mi nombre real.

Avance rápido al presente: ahora imagine que esos niños tienen teléfonos celulares o un iPod. Sacan una foto, incluyen un título con el “apodo” y lo envían a toda la escuela. Pronto empiezo a ser molestada a través de mensajes de texto día y noche. Los niños comienzan a publicar cosas sobre mí y mis cejas en todos los medios sociales y aplicaciones, todo esto completamente fuera de mi control y más allá de las paredes de mi escuela.

Solo puedo imaginar cómo se sentiría ese tipo de intimidación.

Nuestros hijos no tienen que imaginarlo: muchos de ellos viven en esta realidad. De hecho, uno de cada tres niños experimenta algún tipo de ciberacoso en el año académico, pero solo el 15% lo denunciará (Tulane University School of Social Work, 2018). Sarah McCarroll, MS, psicóloga escolar de Pennsylvania durante 18 años, habló sobre esto con EEK en una entrevista reciente. Enfatizó lo importante que es para los padres reconocer lo incesante que puede ser el acoso cibernético y lo devastador que es para los niños de hoy.

La comunicación en línea es una fuerza poderosa en la vida de nuestros hijos y la ven con gran importancia. McCarroll lo describió como “su lengua nativa”. Las jovencitas y jovencitos de hoy en día se consideran “nativos digitales”, lo que significa que han crecido en la era de la tecnología digital. La comunicación en línea es algo natural para ellos y, a menudo, es su método preferido para comunicarse con amigos. Nosotros, como padres, somos los “inmigrantes digitales”. Necesitamos asegurarnos de que estamos aprendiendo el idioma. Nuestros hijos son los mejores maestros. Si no entendemos algo, solo podemos preguntarles. Las preguntas de ayuda con las redes sociales son excelentes para iniciar conversaciones.

El acoso cibernético adopta muchas formas, y con solo el 15% de los jóvenes que lo denuncian, los padres deben estar conscientes de cómo se puede dirigir a nuestros hijos, como:

  • Publicar comentarios crueles en las redes sociales (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram y Twitter)
       (Gobierno de los Estados Unidos, n.d.)
  • Amenazas de violencia física y / o fomento del suicidio (más comunes en los textos)
  • Publicar fotos / videos para burlarse o exponer información personal y, a veces, explícita (Ask.fm y otros sitios web anónimos)
  • Pretendiendo ser otra persona para obtener información privada y luego publicar la información en línea (Facebook, KiK, mensajes de texto)
  • Llameante”: hacer comentarios malos e hirientes a una persona en un chat grupal en línea
  • Exclusión“: ignorar intencionalmente a un miembro de un grupo de chat
  • en un rechazo público intencional
  • Doxing“, donde uno adquiere información personal como dirección, números de teléfono, etc., y luego publica la información en línea (cuentas de juegos en línea)

¿Cómo protegemos a nuestros hijos?


McCarroll destacó la importancia de tomar en serio el ciberacoso. Los padres no deben minimizar los efectos. Dado que muy pocos realmente admitirán ser cibernéticos, los padres deben detectar señales de que podría estar ocurriendo. Algunas señales de advertencia:

  • Una caída repentina en el uso en línea.
  • Aumento de la ansiedad y cambios de humor.
  • Descenso en el rendimiento académico.
  • Aislamiento del comportamiento, abandono de las actividades sociales habituales.

Si cree que su hijo puede ser víctima de acoso cibernético, es importante que comunique sus inquietudes a su hijo, teniendo en cuenta que enfrentar la situación puede generarle un miedo intenso y estrés. Es crucial proporcionar un sistema de apoyo y recursos en los que su hijo pueda confiar, con usted a la vanguardia.

Por favor comparte este artículo!

¿Listo para hablar de temas difíciles? Prueba nuestros útiles libros.

 

Marina Spears recibió su Licenciatura en Ciencias en Estudios de Matrimonio y Familia de BYU Idaho. Ella dirige el programa de orientación estudiantil en la Escuela Cumbre de los Poconos y facilita un grupo de apoyo para familias de adictos. También es escritora y editora colaboradora de Educate and Empower Kids. Ella es madre de cinco hijos y le encanta pasar tiempo con su familia.

Sarah McCarroll, M.S. Obtuvo su título en la Universidad de Pensilvania, ha sido psicóloga escolar durante 18 años, trabajando con estudiantes en los niveles de secundaria y preparatoria durante gran parte de su carrera. Está casada con un profesor / entrenador de secundaria y es madre de 3 hijos, que también están en los niveles de secundaria y preparatoria. Ella cree en abogar por los estudiantes con discapacidades y sus familias a través del trabajo en equipo con maravillosos educadores. Es cofundadora de STARs, un programa dirigido a las niñas en riesgo, para reducir la violencia entre las niñas mediante la promoción de la hermandad positiva.

Citaciones:

Tulane University School of Social Work. (2018). Guía 2018 para la concienciación sobre el ciberacoso. Obtenido de la Escuela de Trabajo Social de Tulane University: https://socialwork.tulane.edu/blog/cyberbullying-awareness-guide

Gobierno de los Estados Unidos. (Dakota del Norte.). ¿Qué es el ciberacoso? Obtenido de Stopbullying.gov: https://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/what-is-it/index.html

 

Hi-Tech Bullying: What Can Parents Do

Hi-Tech Bullying: What Can Parents Do

 

By Marina Spears

 

“Brows.” That was the name I was given upon my arrival to a new school at the age of eleven. I won’t deny that my eyebrows were a healthy size and I had no idea how to change them, but it didn’t make the “nickname” any less painful. It still made my stomach hurt every time the boys approached me laughing, or when my classmates called me “Brows” rather than my real name.  

Fast-forward to the present: Now imagine those boys have cell phones or an iPod. They snap a pic, include a caption with the “nickname” and send it to the whole school. Soon I start getting teased via text messages day and night. Kids start posting things about me and my eyebrows all over social media and apps–all of it completely out of my control and way beyond the walls of my school.

I can only imagine what that kind of bullying would feel like.

Our kids don’t have to imagine it: many of them live in this reality. In fact, one in three kids experience some form of cyberbullying in the academic year, yet only 15% will report it (Tulane University School of Social Work, 2018). Sarah McCarroll, MS, a Pennsylvania school psychologist of 18 years, spoke about this with EEK in a recent interview. She emphasized how important it is for parents to recognize how relentless cyberbullying can be and how devastating it is to kids today.

Online communication is a powerful force in our children’s lives, and they view it with great importance. McCarroll described it as “their native language.” Tweens and teens today are considered “digital natives” meaning they have grown up in the age of digital technology. Online communication comes naturally to them, and often it is their preferred method of communicating with friends. We as parents are the “digital immigrants.” We need to make sure we are learning the language. Our children are the best teachers. If we don’t understand something, we can just ask them.  Questions for help with social media are great conversations starters.

Cyberbullying takes on many forms, and with only 15% of youth reporting it, parents need to be aware of how our kids can be targeted, such as:

  • Posting cruel comments on social media (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter)

           (United States Government, n.d.)

  • Threats of physical violence and/or encouraging suicide (most common in texts)
  • Posting photos/videos to either make fun or expose personal and sometimes explicit information  (Ask.fm and other anonymous websites)
  • Pretending to be someone else to gain private information then posting the information online (Facebook, KiK, texting)
  • “Flaming” – making mean and hurtful comments to one person in an online group chat
  • “Exclusion” – purposely ignoring one member of a group chat, in a purposeful public shunning
  • “Doxing,” where one acquires personal information such as address, phone numbers etc., and then posts the information online (online gaming accounts)

How do we protect our kids?

McCarroll stressed the importance of taking cyberbullying seriously. Parents should not downplay or minimize the effects. Since so few will actually admit to being cyberbullied, parents need to pick up on signs that it could be occurring. Some warning signs:

  • A sudden drop in online use
  • Increased anxiety and mood swings
  • Drop in academic performance
  • Isolating behavior, dropping out of usual social activities

If you believe your child may be a victim of cyberbullying, it is important to communicate your concerns to your child, keeping in mind that confronting the situation can create intense fear and stress for them. It is crucial to provide a support system and resources your child can rely upon, with you at the forefront.

If cyberbullying is affecting your child, our book, 30 Days to a Stronger Child. It provides lessons, discussion topics, and activities to help kids develop and build resilience and in the process strengthen your relationship.

Available in paperback or Kindle!

 

Need more ideas for talking to kids about bullying and using tech for good? Check out Noah’s New Phone: A Story about Using Technology for Good.

 

Marina Spears received her Bachelor of Science in Marriage and Family Studies from BYU Idaho.  She runs the student guidance program at the Summit School of the Poconos, and facilitates a support group for families of addicts. She is also a contributing writer and editor at Educate and Empower Kids.  She is the mother of five children and loves to spend time with her family.

Sarah McCarroll, M.S. earned her degree from the University of Pennsylvania, has been a school psychologist for 18 years, working with students at the junior high and high school levels for much of her career. She is married to a high school teacher/coach and is the mother of 3 children, who are also at the junior high and high school levels.  She believes in advocating for students with disabilities and their families through teamwork with wonderful educators. She is a co-founder of STARs, a program targeting at-risk girls, to reduce girl/girl violence by promoting positive sisterhood.

 

Citations:

Tulane University School of Social Work. (2018). 2018 Guide to Cyberbullying Awareness. Retrieved from Tulane University School of Social Work: https://socialwork.tulane.edu/blog/cyberbullying-awareness-guide

United States Government. (n.d.). What is Cyberbullying. Retrieved from Stopbullying.gov:   https://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/what-is-it/index.html

 

Common Mistakes Parents Make When Talking to Kids About Sex

Common Mistakes Parents Make When Talking to Kids About Sex

 

 

By: Ariane Robinson

 

For many parents the hardest part about having “the talk” with their kids is knowing how to start the conversation. Growing up I remember my own parents tip-toeing around the conversation, because they didn’t know where to begin. Even in this day and age, with all the great tools to help parents navigate this important discussion, there are still some common mistakes that many parents fall into when talking to their children about sex.  

Four of the most common mistakes are:

  1. Starting too late.  Often parents will wait to talk to their child until they are beginning to go through puberty, or because they have become concerned about their child’s behavior. However, the conversation should begin much earlier than this.  Parents should have an ongoing dialogue with their kids about sex, human development, and body image from the time they are three until they are grown. Over time, this conversation can grow and evolve along with the child. Even at the young age of three years old, parents can discuss anatomy, essential body functions, healthy touching vs. unhealthy touching, and the basics of sex. If you are looking for more suggestions and examples of how to talk to your little ones about sex, check out the article Talking with Young Children about Sex for some great information and tips on this topic.

 

  1. Passing harsh judgments. Children are watching their parents all the time. If a child notices a parent acting upset or judgemental towards the behaviors of others they may be frightened to talk to their parent. For example, if a child hears a parent say that people who view pornography are “disgusting” then if that child happens to see or view any inappropriate images they may not want to tell their parents for fear of being viewed as “disgusting” themselves. Children are unlikely to be honest with their parents if they feel their parents will reject them or disapprove of their questions or behaviors. It is important that we take the shame out of our discussions on sex. The podcast How to Talk to Kids about Sex discusses how to do this as well how to have important conversations about pornography.

 

  1. Not answering questions when they’re asked.  Children are naturally curious.  It is not uncommon for them to have questions about their bodies, relationships, or behaviors they see around them.  If a child asks a parent a question and they are either not comfortable answering it, or they don’t know the answer, it is never wise to change the subject or ignore the child. If children feel heard and validated by their parents, then they are less likely to look for answers from outside sources and more likely to go to their parents for information. Parents need to be the first and best source of information for their children. If you are unsure how to be a source of information on sex for your kids check out the article, 8 Ways to Start Talking to Your Child About Sex.
  2. Not being honest. Honesty is a two-way street.  If parents expect their children to be honest with them, then they must be honest with their children, especially when it comes to questions about sex. For example, if a four-year-old child asks, “Where do babies come from?” then parents can answer simply and truthfully by saying, “Mommies have a special place in their tummies. It is called a “uterus.” Babies grow inside the uterus until they are ready to be born”(Educate Empower Kids, 2015). This is a great response because the information that is shared is not only honest but on par with the understanding of the young child (Myers, 2014). Having honest open conversations with our kids is something we should be do often.  The article, Don’t have “The Sex Talk” with your Child–Have Many! gives great suggestions about how to keep talking to your kids honestly about sex.

In a world where children are bombarded with sexual messages and images, they deserve to have reliable accurate information, and who better to receive that information from than their parents! As we strive to avoid the pitfalls mentioned above, our children will feel more comfortable confiding in us.

If you would like more information about talking to your children about sex check out our recently updated 30 Days of Sex Talks books. These books are available to help guide parents with children of all ages, giving them the tools they need to feel comfortable having open meaningful conversations with their children about sex.  

Great lessons, quick and simple discussions.

Ready to Talk with your kids about the dangers of online porn? Check out our new, 2nd edition!

 

Ariane Robinson is the mother of five children. She is a Marriage and Family Studies Major and a certified facilitator with PREPARE/ENRICH. She enjoys working with families and helping to strengthen their relationships.  

Citations:

(2015). 30 Days of Sex Talks for Ages 3-7: Empowering Your Child with Knowledge of Sexual Intimacy (Vol. 1).

Myers, P. (2014, December 29). 4 Mistakes Parents Make When Talking to Their Children About Sex -. Retrieved April 25, 2018, from https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/development/4-mistakes-parents-make-talking-children-sex/#.Wt91WIjwaUk

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner 2019

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner 2019

 

By: Marina Spears and Ariane Robinson

 

This is part 2 in a series. Find part 1 here.

I had known Peter since he was 12 years old. He attended the same school as my children and was a regular in my home. In fact at one point, he had crushes on two of my daughters. So at the end of of his senior year of high school, when he “came out” as gay, I was shocked. I was also conflicted, in part due to my religious beliefs. Although I had always taught my children to love everyone and to be non-judgemental, I had also followed my church’s teachings and taught my children that homosexualtity was not a good choice. At the same time, I loved Peter; he was a part of our family. I deeply cared for him and his well being. I was unsure of how to make all the pieces of this puzzle fit.

I have gay friends and I love and respect them. But I did not know how to handle one of my children’s friends coming out. How should I explain this to my younger children? I was also surprised at my own conflicted reaction. I knew better. What was wrong with me? He was still the same young man who ate dinner at our house, the same young man who played board games and joined in other family activities. Why was I conflicted?

LGBTQ individuals are a part of our communities and the communities that our children interact in, both online and off. We all know someone who is part of the LGBTQ community and so do our children. As a result, we need to examine our own feelings and possible prejudices and be ready to deal with them. It is important that we make sure we are the ones to directly teach our children, often through a combination of discussion and example.

It took me a few days to evaluate myself and my feelings. I realized that Peter’s “coming out” scared me. It was unexpected, and I was afraid of how it might affect my children. But I soon came to understand that my reaction would have the greatest effect on my kids and would greatly affect how they would treat others in the future. Once I was able to step back and admit Peter was still the same kid I loved, I knew I had a great opportunity to show my children how we can treat all people with respect and love.

I felt the best thing to do was talk to Peter directly. I will be honest: I was afraid. I was not sure what I was going to say, but I kept my focus on the fact that I cared for this young man and his well being. He was a friend of our family and he would always be our friend. I let him know some of the conflict I was going through—he was aware of our family’s beliefs. He also knew that in our home “loving others” was the most important spiritual principle we lived, and that was not going to change with his coming out. Things did not change. He still came to our house and played board games and cooked dinners with my kids. Our home is always open to him.

When Peter was in his first year of college, he called me and related the following story. He explained that some of his friends were arguing that religious people had the worst attitude toward people who were different, especially homosexuals. Peter said, “I told them, I have a second mother, and she is a very active Christian and she loves me exactly as I am.”

When we hung up, I reflected on my experience when Peter came out. I was so grateful that I had not made a rash decision based on fear. Instead I chose to act out of love and the value I had for our relationship, and for Peter as an individual. I was grateful that Peter knew his being gay did not change my love for him, or my respect for him as a person.

Consider This:

Our children are growing up in a time of social change regarding identity and sexuality. LGBTQ issues are at the forefront of school, social media, and online platforms. As parents we need to be prepared to talk with them about their thoughts and feelings regarding these issues. Our children and their friends may experiment with things that we do not approve of, and they could possibly choose a path that we would not choose for them. As parents we need to be ready to handle situations that might challenge us and our beliefs. Are we ready?

What can we do to be ready?

Be informed, know what is going on in the world culturally and socially, because that is the world your children are living in. Take advantage of everyday opportunities to talk with your kids, honestly and openly, about their world. Daily activities like driving to and from school or meal times are great times to have conversations with your children. Whatever time you choose to talk with you kids, do your best to understand where they are coming from.

Consider the things that scare you, and educate yourself. There are so many great scholarly, well-researched resources out there to help parents educate themselves on LGBTQ issues. We cannot expect to teach or help our kids if we do not understand the issues ourselves. Educate yourself so you can educate your children.

Here is a great list of resources:

-Talk with another parent or friend, and try role-playing what you might say to your child. Your spouse or friend may be able to point out flaws in your thinking or points you may not have considered. This may help you to not feel as stressed, and give you more clarity in terms of the conversations you want to have with your child.

Think about and even write down what is most valuable to you: Is it relationships? A specific set of standards? What is the greatest priority to you and your family?

You might also want to do this exercise with your child and then discuss the answers together.  A written exercise like this can give clarity and help you articulate your thoughts in a different way. Don’t be upset if your child’s answers are different than yours.

As parents, it’s important to know that the experts agree that no matter your child’s sexual orientation the best thing you can do is to let that child know they are loved. Expressing our love and concern for our children should be an important part of the conversations we have with them about sexuality. Research has shown that LGBTQ youth who feel rejected or unloved by their parents because of their sexual orientation are “more than 8 times as likely to have attempted suicide”(Ryan, 2009). This is a scary statistic, but as parents we can help combat this kind of hopelessness as we become more open and understanding about the issues that LGBTQ youth are facing.

Below is a list of behaviors for parents that promote well-being rather than rejection if you find out your child identifies as LGBTQ (Ryan, 2009):

  • Express affection when your child comes out to you with their identity.
  • Talk with your child about their LGBTQ identity in a respectful way.
  • Advocate for your child if they are bullied or mistreated because of their LGBT identity.
  • Insist that all family members treat your LGBTQ child with respect.
  • Allow your child’s LGBTQ friends into your home.
  • Connect your child with LGBTQ support organizations.
  • Be optimistic with your child that they can have a successful future.

 

If you are unsure how to start the conversation about sex with your child. Take a look at 30 Days of Sex Talks for ages 3-7, 8-11 and 12+. It has great information about healthy sexuality, curiosity, sexual identification, anatomy, and more!

Find all of our books here.

Marina Spears received her Bachelor of Science in Marriage and Family Studies from BYU Idaho. She runs the student guidance program at the Summit School of the Poconos, and facilitates a support group for families of addicts. She is also a contributing writer and editor at Educate and Empower Kids. She is the mother of five children and loves to spend time with her family.

Ariane Robinson is the mother of five children. She is a Marriage and Family Studies Major and a certified facilitator with PREPARE/ENRICH. A program designed to help couples develop skills to improve their relationships. She enjoys working with families and helping to strengthen their relationships.

Citation

Ryan, C. (2009). Supportive Families, Healthy Children Helping Families with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Children. Retrieved from http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/sites/default/files/FAP_English Booklet_pst.pdf

 

Starting Conversations with Your Kids about LGBTQ Identities

Starting Conversations with Your Kids about LGBTQ Identities

 

By: Ariane Robinson and Marina Spears

 

This is part 1 in a series. Find part 2 here.

Last week, I was driving around town running errands with my nine year old daughter.  As usual she was happily singing along to the radio. As we turned down a street that was not on our typical route, she stopped singing and looked out the window and pointed across the street and said, “Hey Mom!  Look at that pretty rainbow flag.” As I looked across the street, I noticed that what she was referring to was an LGBTQ flag.

My first thought was just to say, “Yeah, that is a pretty flag.” However, lucky for me I was having a good parenting day, and decide to seize the moment and have a discussion with her.  I asked her if she knew what the flag was for. She did not, and so for the rest of the drive home I was able to discuss with her what the flag represented, and that the achronym LGBTQ stood for; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer. This led us to a short, but important discussion on the importance of showing love and empathy to those around us.

Having discussions like I had with my daughter about LGBTQ issues are important. Many of the questions asked by children and the issues discussed may lead to tough conversations for some parents, but they are important in helping our children navigate the world we live in. Having honest, open conversations with our children can also help to dispel any hateful or discriminatory statements that they may have heard or seen online that could be considered hurtful and inappropriate. When kids are curious about something, “googling it” to get the answer is second nature, and what they find can often be incorrect.

When discussions just happen, like the example above, it is an opportunity not to be missed! However, it is imperative to have these conversations, even if they don’t “just happen”. It is up to us, to make them happen.This ensures that the information our children receive is accurate and comes from a place of understanding, and kindness towards all people. The 2013 National School Climate Survey Report (Kosciw,et al, 2014)  reported the following statistics:

  • 74.1% of LGBTQ students were verbally bullied
  • 36.2% of LGBTQ students were physically bullied
  • 49% of LGBTQ students experienced cyberbullying

The statistics of bullying are not going down and LGBTQ youth are often targets. Hate is learned and perpetuated, and the best way to stop that cycle is to teach that mistreatment of others is wrong, and there is never a justification for it. Bullying does not happen in a vacuum, it affects the victim, their family, friends and the communities they live, both online and off.  Taking time to talk with our children and to listen to what they already know is of utmost importance.

If you are unsure of how you can begin having a conversation with your child on this topic. Here are several response questions that can be used to spark conversation and help you connect more with your children on LGBTQ issues.

  • Do you know what LGBTQ stand for?
  • Do you know anyone who’s identifies as LGBTQ?
  • Do you understand that people can fall in love with people of the same gender?
  • Does anyone treat them differently?
  • Are you aware of derogatory terms for LGBTQ individuals?
  • What do you think about that?
  • How do you think those terms and/or bullying affects the individual, family members, or friends?

As you begin having conversations on LGBTQ terms with your child remember:

It will take more than one conversation-As parents sometimes we think we need to have big long talks with our kids to be effective.  However, it is often better especially for younger children to have multiple smaller conversations over a period of time. This approach gives your child some time to think about and process what you’ve discussed,

Listen carefully-Don’t forget that you don’t want your discussion with your child to turn into a lecture.  It should be a two way conversation where you ask questions, and then listen to their responses and replies. When you listen closely to what your child is saying it shows them that you value them and their thoughts.  If they feel valued and heard it is likely that they will come to you again with other concerns.

Keep it at their level-Do your best to answer you child’s questions on a level that they can understand. Using simple words and explanations work best. Keep the facts appropriate for their age, and what you think is most important for them to understand now.

Emphasize the importance of respect-Make sure your child knows that anti-LGBTQ and gender-related put-downs are never ok. Remind them if they hear a term and they are not sure what it means to come and ask you about it.  Teach them that we can learn from people of all races, families, ethnicities, faiths and gender identities.(Human Rights Campaign, n.d.)

Remember that action reinforces conversations.  Our children watch us and hear us. It is crucial that our words of love, and understanding for all people be matched with our actual words and behaviors! Some points to consider:

  • How do we act around LGBTQ indivduals?
  • Do we make inappropriate jokes about this issue?
  • What stereotyped gender roles are we passing down, in statements such as “he throws a ball like a girl”?
  • Do we use derogatory terms such as “fag” or “dyke” ?
  • Do we avoid families with an openly gay or bisexual child? (Keep in mind every LGBTQ child has a family, and unfortunately the family may undergo prejudices and exclusion from their communities, friends and even family. Reach out, be a friend, you will teach your children a lifelong lesson.)

Even if you are unsure of where you stand on LGBTQ issues because of personal or religious beliefs, it is important to teach through behavior and conversation that treating others with respect is critical to our communities. This will lead to more tolerance and safety for all people no matter their identity.

For amazing discussions about healthy sexuality, curiosity, sexual identification, anatomy, and more, check out our most popular resource, 30 Days of Sex Talks, available on Amazon.

Great lessons, quick and simple discussions.

Ready to improve your communication with your child on this topic and many others? Check out our book 30 Days to a Stronger Child for activities and wonderful discussion questions that will help improve your family’s communication and connection.

Available in Kindle or Paperback!

 

Marina Spears received her Bachelor of Science in Marriage and Family Studies from BYU Idaho.  She runs the student guidance program at the Summit School of the Poconos, and facilitates a support group for families of addicts. She is also a contributing writer and editor at Educate and Empower Kids.  She is the mother of five children and loves to spend time with her family.

 

Ariane Robinson is the mother of five children.  She is a Marriage and Family Studies Major and a certified facilitator with PREPARE/ENRICH. A program designed to help couples develop skills to improve their relationships. She enjoys working with families and helping to strengthen their relationships.

 

Citations:

 Human Rights Campaign. (n.d.). Responding to Concerns on LGBTQ Topics | Welcoming Schools. Retrieved from http://www.welcomingschools.org/research/responding-to-concerns/

Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Palmer, N. A., & Boesen, M. J. (2014). The 2013 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN.

Parent Alert: The Bird Box Challenge

Parent Alert: The Bird Box Challenge

 

By Trishia VanOrden

Netflix has recently released a new post-apocalyptic movie called Bird Box, in which people wear blindfolds in order to survive. The main characters of the movie are seen driving, boating, gardening, running through the forest, and even shooting a gun blindfolded. With its release, a new internet challenge was born; The Bird Box Challenge. The essential idea of The Bird Box Challenge is to see how someone would fair attempting to perform different tasks, including those from the movie, while blindfolded.

While this challenge has attracted the attention of many people, the main takers seem to be teenagers and young adults. Due to the high response, Netflix has issued a warning that attempting to do the Bird Box Challenge can lead to injury, as there is a huge possibility that attempting to drive, walk through forest areas, boat, cook, or shoot blindfolded could lead bodily harm or death. They further asked people to refrain from further attempts of the challenge

What can parents do?

Parents have an important and hard job. It can be hard sometimes to protect our children, especially when they are not home. While it may be hard, it is not impossible.

  • Communicate often with your children. Ask them if they have heard of the challenge and what they think of it. Many time teenagers don’t fully understand the dangers of what they are attempting to do as their brains are not fully developed yet. It might be necessary to explain what could go wrong.
  • Help your children realize that scenes in movies are set up with lots of props and protections to help actors stay safe. Often times what we see on the screen is not really what happened during filming.
  • Discuss peer-pressure with your child. Help them understand that while it is hard to say “No” to friends, sometimes it is necessary.
  • Be understanding. Allow your child to talk and express their thoughts and ideas.
  • Help them find better, healthier alternatives than risk-taking to “fit-in’ and have fun.  
  • Remember to keep your relationship strong. Let your kids know what they mean to you.

For more ideas on how to help your kids on understanding media and peer-pressure check out our books Petra’s Power to See: A Media Literacy Adventure, Message about Me: Sydney’s Story, and Message About Me; Wade’s Story. These books are great discussion starters on how the media is produced and how the media and friends can affect the way we think and act.

Engaging stories, great discussions!

For more ideas, activities, and discussion questions to help you create a better relationship with your child, try our book 30 Days to a Stronger Child. This book is filled with great activities and information that families and individuals can use to grow stronger bonds and withstand the pressures of the world around us.

Available in Kindle or Paperback!

 

Trishia Van Orden has a Bachelors Degree in Marriage and Family Studies from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She has a love for psychology and hopes to one day open a Family Life Education Center where she lives. She is currently writing for Educate Empower Kids and working as a volunteer in a girl’s youth group program. She is also a wife and mother of three beautiful girls.