Pornography, Masturbation, and Raising Kids

What I wish I would have known about pornography, masturbation and raising kids:

  • First, as a parent, you need to become ok with sex, and talking about sex. Using the real anatomy names and terms. Sex is not shameful but is beautiful. Private parts are not shameful but are again, beautiful.
  • As a parent, your kids will be able to feel any unprocessed feelings you have over your own sexual body, so do the work now to realize that there is nothing shameful in having a body that has private parts and that has sexual feelings. You and your child are also not bad for having any unwanted sexual feelings/thoughts either, because what matters is what we do with them that counts. This sexual side of ourselves is just a part of life and we get to learn how to manage this part. If you have had any sexual abuse, start the path to heal this. It will only help you and your kids because for some reason, parenting children tends to bring up old unprocessed trauma of your own.
  • Your kids WILL see porn at some point in their lives. I know it’s an awful thought but remember that they are soon to be adults in younger bodies, and they will not be scarred for life; because you, their parent, are going to talk to them about this in a calm and loving, non-shaming way. And communicating about this topic is what will prevent it from becoming traumatic later on in their lives. 
  • Your children have bodies that feel sexual pleasure too. And you can talk to them about the feelings they feel or will feel, and how to direct those feelings for good and how to be in charge of their own bodies. It’s a learning curve and takes some practice.
  • If your children experiment with masturbation; breathe, you’re ok, and they are ok too. This is not the end of the world. While it is a sin, it’s not as bad as you may have believed it to be. They can still work on it and practice being in control of their bodies, but this is just a part of their life to learn how to manage their own bodily feelings. Again, this is a learning curve too.
  • Do not, I mean really, do not freak out when you find out your child has looked at pornography, or masturbated, this will only lead to their negative feelings about themselves. Be calm and trust that the world is not falling apart. Trust that they and you, can get through this phase of parenting and learning. Say to yourself, “oh, they have a body, this is ok, these feelings mean their body is working properly, and we can just talk about it calmly, no need to freak out here”.
  • If discovering porn use in kids, this does not mean they are an addict! Do not label your kids or teens as having an addiction please. While pornography use in anyone is harmful and does need to be addressed, it does not automatically mean they are addicts.
  • Teach them about their bodies and the sexual feelings they have because of puberty and being human and remind them they are so normal.
  • Teach them tools they can use to overcome the desire to view pornography again. There are also safeguards for internet usage to become very familiar with. Seek out information from the best books on tools to use for this.
  • Teach them this one great tool. It will help them in many areas in their life. This is a tool I call the “purple elephant” tool. If I tell you to NOT think of a purple elephant, your brain automatically thinks about the purple elephant I told you not to think about. So, instead of telling your brain to stop thinking about an unwanted thought, allow that unwanted thought to come in, tell yourself “Oh, there’s that thought again. I’m normal and still good and I’m going to choose something different” and then make the choice to think about something happy or fun or a good memory. The idea is to spend more time on purposely choosing the good that gets put into our brains and not on the thoughts we want to get rid of.
  • Teach them to love their bodies for all the feelings it creates.
  • Teach them that sex is so good and wonderful and that there will be a time and place for them to act on those sexual feelings they have, and that this will be when they are married.
  • Teach them about the bonding feelings that sex creates inside of people, and that while their brains are still developing is not the time to be messing around with sex, because it messes with their emotions and can hurt themselves and their future relationships. Teach them about God and what He says about our bodies, sex and why to hold out till marriage to have sex.
  • And finally, and most importantly, teach them about our Savior and His constant love for us -ALWAYS- and how this love never goes away no matter what we do.

Here is what I wished my parents had taught me and what I wished I would have known when my kids were young. Being a parent is wonderful and we have a lot of opportunity to help these kids grow up into well rounded, knowledgeable, kind adults, and that makes it our job to learn these things.

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