“What Do I Do If My Child Is Looking at Pornography?”

February 19, 2013

Sherry Allchin

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Sherry Allchin

What Do I Do If My Child Is Looking at Pornography

BCC Staff Note: You are reading Part Two of a two-part blog mini-series on biblical responses when we discover that a family member is struggling with pornography. Read Part One: Help! I Just Discovered My Husband Is Looking at Pornography!”

In the last days, perilous times will come….” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Our children are growing up in a dangerous world, and as parents we cannot always protect them. Pornography is rampant and children are exposed at earlier and earlier ages. Satan can use an “accidental find” to hook an innocent child into a lifelong addiction. So, how do we respond as a parent?

Horror! Grief! Anger! Disappointment! Worry! These are just some of the emotions the parent feels when their child has viewed porn. Just blaming the child, or blaming one’s self doesn’t correct the situation, but may only make it worse.

Here are some steps to find constructive solutions to the problem:

1. Listen before passing judgment or reacting in anger or disappointment – Proverbs 18:13.

Don’t jump to conclusions. Listen to your child’s story, when and how he/she first discovered pornography, his heart attitude toward what he has done or what has been done to him. Listen objectively for truth. Listen to see if there is true repentance, or excuses and justification for wrong.

2. Gather enough information to understand the depth of involvement.

Listen with compassion and humility knowing we all are candidates to sin – Galatians 6:1-5. The truth will come easier when a parent listens and disciplines in love, not in anger (James 1:19-20). Anger separates; love unifies. A child who feels loved by his parents is much more likely to open up and deal with the issues he must face.

3. The goal of effective discipline is always “correction.”

When a parent just punishes because he is hurt or angry, the child often retreats into his own secret world, and even more sin, or becomes consumed with fear, shame, and condemnation. When a parent accurately evaluates a sinful attitude or behavior and then helps his child to see his own sinful heart issues, that child is more likely to want to change and correct the wrong.

The loving parent can then guide her child into understanding how and when he got off track and how to get back on track. The consequences given by his parents will help him to remember in the future when he is tempted again. Parents ought to be a safe place to turn in the face of temptation where he can find strength and encouragement for right. Parents also need to model grace and mercy as God the Father graciously bestows on each of us when we sin! Forgiveness with consequences….

4. Be the Parent! Balance Nurture and Admonition (Ephesians 6:4).

Nurture reaches the “Seat of the Pants” (the pain of consequences – Hebrews 12:5-11) and admonition reaches the Heart (Deuteronomy 6 – God’s Heart to my heart, to my child’s heart so that my child comes to know God’s Heart).

Do a Bible study on moral purity with him to fortify and guide him against ever yielding to pornography in the future, to renew his mind in purity (Psalm 101:3). Put accountability in place (like passwords on computers, limitations on iPods and cellphones, earlier bedtimes, less time alone, etc.) for his protection and correction.

Install programs on the computer that give accountability and prevent accidental pop ups. Train the children to follow safeguards when doing homework to avoid impulsive clicking around. Regularly follow up on his progress and accountability. Children are less likely to get into pornography, or at least stay in it, when they know parents care and will be checking!

5. Friendships must be evaluated – 1 Corinthians 15:33.

Peer relationships are important to young people who are not always wise in choosing friends, yet are influenced greatly by them. It takes character to stand against the culture! Until your child has achieved moral maturity, certain friendships must be cut off or limited if they are not encouraging each other to righteousness. Encourage healthy friendships, and be sure that the parent/child relationship grows stronger.

Building Blocks to Moral Purity

The goal is to develop control in 7 areas of life that will build moral purity into the lifestyle. Look up the verses for each “Control” and evaluate what you have done in the past in this area, what you are doing at the present, and what you should do in the future. Be very specific. Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and each of these 7 controls will help you build the necessary character to develop moral purity as a lifestyle.

  1. Thought Control:  Proverbs 23:7; Romans 12:2; Philippians 4:8; 2 Corinthians 10:5
  2. Eye Control:  Job 31:1; Psalm 101:3; Proverbs 4:23, 25; Matthew 6:22-23
  3. Body Control: 1Thessalonains 4:4; 1Timothy 4:7-8; Romans 6:12
  4. Companion Control: 1Corinthians 15:33; 5:9-11; Proverbs 13:20-21; 22:24-25; 27:17
  5. Circumstance Control:  Romans 13:14; 1Thessalonians 5:22; 2 Timothy 2:22
  6. Influence Control:  1Thessalonains 4:6-7; Proverbs 27:17; Romans 16:17-18
  7. Focus Control:  2 Corinthians 5:9; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Philippians 2:3-4; Matthew 20:25-28

For an expanded version of these building blocks, visit Building Blocks Resource.

You will also find helpful:

The Forgiveness Worksheet.

The Intimacy Inventory.

Join the Conversation

Which of these biblical principles do you find most helpful? What additional biblical principles would you recommend?

5 thoughts on ““What Do I Do If My Child Is Looking at Pornography?”

  1. Pingback: “Help! I Just Discovered My Husband Is Looking at Pornography!” | Biblical Counseling Coalition Blogs

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  3. Ben,

    Thanks for your feedback and for bringing this to our attention. These links have been corrected. Much appreciated!

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