By Kaitlynn Christiansen
Pornography is a prevalent struggle in today’s world. Not only are adults exposed to pornography, but children are too. The likelihood of our children having exposure to pornography is high; so, it is important to teach them to reject all types of it. However, our children still may be exposed or even develop an addiction to pornography. Contrary to popular beliefs, this is not always indicative of a negligent home life, or a lack of parental guidance. It is a sad reality of our world—the ease at which children can be exposed to and find pornography.
Things to Remember
When a child’s struggle with pornography comes to light, the most important thing to remember is that your child needs your loving support. They do not need lectures or shaming. They may already feel this way, as some of the common effects of pornography are feelings of guilt, shame, depression, and anxiety. Responding negatively to their battle does nothing but increase those feelings in your child. You may also need to remember that your struggling child is a child of God. Because of this, there are important gospel truths that apply to this situation and can be used to help your child overcome the feelings of guilt and shame associated with pornography use.
Helpful Gospel Truths
By showing love to your child, you prove to them that they are unlovable because of their mistake. By showing love and support, you are proving to them that they are worthy of love.
- The Atonement
Another truth The Atonement teaches us is that we are given a way to repent and be cleansed. In the church we are taught about the darkness and the evils presented in pornography. This can lead people who struggle with pornography use to believe that they too may be dark and evil. Repentance allows for healing. It teaches us the truth that we are redeemable. Pornography is evil, your child is not.
- Child of God
By helping your child remember that they have a Heavenly Father who loves them, you are helping them remember their infinite worth. Their mistakes and failings cannot erase the fact that they are children of a loving Heavenly Father with infinite potential.
- Enduring to the End
Finally, it is so important to remember the blessings promised to all who endure to the end. Remind your child that they have so much to live for. They have so many promised blessings to come. Struggling with pornography is not the end of their lives. There is light ahead of them. There is hope.
Dealing with pornography use can be dark and scary. The thing to always help your children remember is the Savior and His atonement are stronger. If we allow the atonement to work in our lives, we can repent and be made new. Our children can repent. They can be healed. If mistakes are made, remember the truths of the gospel. Support your child with love and hope.
For more ideas on how to talk to your children about pornography, check out our book: How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography
Kaitlynn Christiansen is an elementary teacher who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Marriage and Family Studies from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She loves to learn and is passionate about educating families about healthy relationships.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. (n.d.). Help and Support for Parents. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/topics/pornography/audiences/parents
Ostler, R. (2020, October 1). 7 Tips for Overcoming Pornography Use. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2020/10/young-adults
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