Five Quick Tips for Parenting Against Porn

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Five Quick Tips for Parenting Against Porn†

My wife and I – having three teenagers in our home – are raising children who are fully absorbed into the first technology-drenched generation.  As such, we’ve learned a few things – often through failure – that might help those of you who are walking in our shoes.

So, from the heart of one parent to another – if you are interested in PARENTING AGAINST PORN and guarding your child’s heart, then take a minute and consider the following FIVE QUICK TIPS.

Tip #1: Wait as long as you can before giving your child a ‘smart phone.’ 

Placing a smartphone in the hands of pre-teens and young teens is akin to breathing a virus over them and telling them not to inhale.  Ridiculous.  We failed on this point.  We’ve paid the price.  I know the surrounding culture suggests every child needs a phone by the age of 8.  That’s just false.  Resist this, as long as you can.  I’d suggest engaging your child in a meaningful conversation and then finding resources to aid you and your child as you prepare for the day when you do allow that first smartphone.

Wondering if I’m right?

Think of it this way: would you take your child to a strip club and expose them to the environment therein?  Or, would you sit down and watch an X-rated movie with them?  Probably not.  Smartphones are pocket-sized peep shows that open your child to a world of relentless distraction, dehumanizing distortion, and ultimately, soul-sapping destruction.

Tip #2: No screens behind closed doors, ever. 

This is a must.  My wife and I, again, have learned the hard way.  When you try to implement this one, you are likely to hear a barrage of the following arguments (there must be a web page where they come up with this stuff):

  1. But I need it for my homework.
  2. I’m just listening to music.
  3. Yeah, but it’s my alarm clock.
  4. No other parent makes their kids do this.
  5. What about your phone, dad?
  6. I like to have music playing when I’m in the shower.

And the hits just keep on coming!

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For every excuse, there’s any easy and healthy alternative.  Parents simply need resolve to see this one through.  As one who has ‘been there and done that,’ and has failed as often as I’ve succeeded, I can tell you that this is a moment-by-moment reality.

Wondering why your teenage son spends inordinate amounts of time using the bathroom?  Come on, dad.  Engage with me on this one.  Keep the phones in common areas.  Remember, this is not about parental authority as much as it is protecting our most valuable treasures – a child’s heart.

Tip #3: Casual Check – ins Can Lead to Meaningful, Life-Shaping Moments. 

This realization has changed the entire tenor of our home.  If children – especially in their preteen and teen years – are approached only when we are concerned about something, they begin to develop patterns of defense and preservation for those moments.  My wife and I learned to seize the causal moments life often provides, but parents rarely see.  Moments when the kids are engaged in something they like to do.  Whether it is basketball or guitar, tossing a baseball or swimming in the pool, we’ve learned to take advantage of our time: doing some causal check-ins with our kids.

Now, as they are all teenagers, we both try to take our kids out to dinner once every couple of months, with no agenda.  We just want to be with them.  Moments like this dig deep wells of trust that will provide refreshing waters of hope.  These wells and waters will come in handy when your children experience troubles and trials that are sure to come their way!

Tip #4: Establish a System of Family-Wide Parameter and Permissions.  

Every parameter we put on our kids are parameters we’re willing to share as adults.  We do this because our participation with them conveys the depth of our love for them.  For example, if I enact a regulation for my child’s good (look both ways before crossing the road), then the same regulation, should theoretically, be for my good as well.  Of course, there are exclusions to this, but even those are decided as a family.

Tip #5: Teach this: Sex is a Good, Glorious and God-given Gift.  

Porn is not – and NEVER can be – sex.  It’s a distortion of sex and, as such, leads to disfigurement in life.  I believe that porn capitalizes on our reluctance to teach the goodness and glory of sex.  We are wired for Eros.  We are, fundamentally, erotic beings.  In other words, we are wired to love and be loved.  Eros is a beautiful biblical term.   Within its beautiful boundaries, the sexual experience is one that brings delight and restores design.  Outside of its beautiful boundaries, the sexual experience (or quasi-sexual experience proffered by porn) brings distortion and ends in despair.

Early on, in our children’s life, we emphasized the reality that sex is a gift from God to be shared in a meaningful and life-long covenant relationship.   We have further taught them that the naked body is beautiful and, as such, it’s a natural attraction.  However, porn asks us to view the naked bodies of those who aren’t in a covenant relationship with us.  These bodies are people who are being objectified (turned into tools to be used to fill someone’s distorted desires) and dehumanized.

There is no battle more important than the fight to protect our child’s heart and to guard them against the onslaught of a porn-saturated culture.

It’s never too late to start.

Engage today.

Disrupting to Renew!
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†Originally written for Men Against Porn.

About Bizgainey

Learning to hear the gentle whisper of God loosed in the rushing waters of life
This entry was posted in Addictions, Brokenness, Culture, Formation, Parenting, Pornography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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