Strengthening Our Sons to Avoid Porn While They Are Still Too Young to Know What it is

STRENGTHENING-OUR-SONS-TO-AVOID-

Strengthening Our Sons to Avoid Porn

As parents we see our role as being ones that will equip our children for their future. Part of the challenge is to anticipate what struggles may arise and work on strengthening that area now, while they are young, mold-able, and accepting of parental input.

Sometimes this means we are strengthening and equipping them for things that they are currently too young to know specifics about.

One of those struggles is pornography. Our children are too young to know what it is, and yet there is a great urgency to equip and strengthen them now because that struggle is coming.

Pornography is everywhere. If there is a smart phone there is easy and instant access. If there is a kid with minimal skills and a keen desire to view pornography it is pretty simple to get around parental settings on a computer.

Our kids are young. We haven’t been through this, so our thoughts on this are a culmination of our own experiences, conversations with older and wiser friends, extensive reading, and prayer.
We have concluded that there are some very practical things we can train our children towards to help safeguard them from this addiction of pornography. 

The conversations about pornography and its evils will come in time, but while they are innocent and young, these are the 13 areas we are working on strengthening our sons to help them avoid pornography.safeguard

1. Train children to never walk up to a person on a phone and look at their screen. Even in the safety and comfort of our home we are training our boys to approach someone that is intently working on their mobile device with words, “Can I watch what you are doing?” and waiting for an answer. They get to practice this often outside our home with teenagers from church too, and I am rather thankful for that extra practice they get.

2. Train child to not give in to curiosity when you ask them not to look at something. We are curious people, and it is a wonderful trait but when curiosity goes unchecked it leads to no good. If they understand that all curiosity does not need to be satisfied they will be better able to leave things alone. We work on gently teaching this, being careful not to provoke or intensify their curiosity.

3. Teach them to divert their attention from things that intrigue them that aren’t good for them. This is secondary to them obeying you actively instructing them to not look – teach them how to do this themselves! Give them a practical understanding of how temptation works – you look at something, you want it more – using illustrations that are relevant to their age.

4. Talk about integrity and the personal responsibility one has when no one sees them. God sees, not as a haunting ‘spying on you to catch you doing evil’ but as a loving heavenly Father. But in addition to that, if we are allowing ourselves to be something different in private we are developing and exercising that part of ourselves and it will grow and become something we never intended.

5. Keep open communication about our bodies and private parts, teaching that no one is to see ours and we aren’t to look at others. We can notice that someone is naked and chose to not stare at them. They aren’t dirty parts, they are special and designed by God for a purpose and should therefore be discussed in a matter of fact manner. We have chosen to use real body part names and explain the birth process to our children from the time they were very little as a part of opening up the communication about body parts. We have already had a situation where a little boy described, with awe and misconceptions, seeing a vagina to our boys and we were so thankful they already knew and were befuddled at his ignorance.

6. Teach that what we feel isn’t always truth. Something might make us feel good, or curious, or mortified-turned-more-curious and all feelings need to be measured by truth. Teach them God’s Word; Bible verses as memory work and practical principles that His word teaches.

7. Teach them to challenge themselves and evaluate any consistent habit. Why do they do it? Is it useful, thoughtful, kind or beneficial? Give them opportunities to make choices to say no to things and opt to not do things themselves – let them strengthen these muscles of choosing the right thing themselves.

8. Teach them that people on billboards, in magazines, paper ads, etc are all human beings – real people with real lives and real emotions and real struggles. Help them make human connections and to feel empathy and respect for all. Teach them advertising and marketing tricks and how to think around them. Billions of dollars are spent on research and advertising just to convince you that you need to buy or do something – there is great freedom and power in realizing these ploys and how they play on emotion, weaknesses, desires, and needs.

9. Teach tactful responses that will defuse situations from escalating. It is extremely likely that our children will be offered pornography from peers. There is a very practical example in this post by Jen Wilken’s about giving a child a script for when this comes up.

10. Help build your child’s confidence and ability to stick to their convictions when no one else agrees with them. Teach that it is ok – and even likely to happen!- to be made fun of for making choices that are different than others – for not doing what “everyone” is doing. Explore together various reasons why kids might verbally abuse and mock; your choices really are weird, they are embarrassed, they were bullied into it, etc.
We have played silly games while they are little to help build this – again, being sensitive to not provoke. I might ask one of them what color the sky is and when they tell me it is blue, I will agree and tell them it is, and then tell them that I am going to pretend I disagree with them and that I am going to try to convince them otherwise. I will get the other boy on my side and work on convincing the one that the sky is not blue. Sometimes it will be a moral issue, relevant to their age.

11. Connect them to men from the past. Fill their minds with stories of men who were brave, obedient, and faithful. Let their imaginations soar with the grandeur of good men so that they might always have a bit of a longing to be more, and so that they will never forget their connection to the bigger world.

12. Teach them that you are trustworthy and discreet with matters of their heart. Keep the communication paths wide open – which at this age is knock knock jokes, Lego talk, and squirrel hunting ideas. But these lines of communication will grow, so nurture them! Don’t shame them when they make mistakes, but rather let them know you are there to help them navigate. Of course with young ones the child is doing very little navigating, but the roles will gradually shift and they need to know you are there to help them, not control them. 

13. Teach them what prolonged time in front of a screen does to a brain. Don’t mindlessly use screens with children. Consider the implications of exposed screen time, evaluate the benefits of screen time and your own needs, and then intentionally determine the screen time your child should have. Read studies that have been done on screen time and brain development and break them down and discuss them with your young kids … if they aren’t a part of the conversation when they are little they definitely won’t be cool when they are teenagers. Encourage interests, hobbies, outdoor time, and interpersonal skills so that a broader world exists for them.

 

For more on this subject, check out the book Good Pictures Bad Pictures; Porn Proofing Today’s Young Kids, as recommended by a reader. It looks like an excellent resource for further exploration.

Jessica Lynette

13 Comments

  1. Wonderful blog post! My favs are 4, 10 and 11. The only thing I would add is healthy exposure to God’s greatest creation, the human body. My 12 yo son did a unit study this year that guided him through puberty for boys and girls. I also took him on an academic journey through the creation of life. He was so in awe, he spoke very matter of factly about the process…just as he would discuss pollination or animal reproduction. I’m hoping to remove the taboo and replace it with wonder and awe and respect. There is much left to discuss as he develops and his curiosity grows. I will absolutely be using your list in future discussions and in my own preparation on guiding my sons. Thank you!!!

  2. Ooooooooo….. what FABULOUS ides!! Thank you so much!!! Found you via a Moneysaving Mom post with your comment, and we’re going to copy and paste your ideas into a document we can refer to often.

  3. Ditto what Kimberly said: found you through a link via Money Saving Mom. Love your post. My son is seven and I want to implement those principles that I haven’t already. Thank you for sharing this wisdom!

  4. “”Good Pictures Bad Pictures” Porn-ProofingToday’s Young Kids by Kristen A. Jenson, and Gail Poyner is an excellent book to use with young children and older children. Highly recommend it!

  5. Some wonderful ideas, but as a new mom (my twins are 17mo) I would have liked more ‘how to’. Will definitely be bookmarking this and referring to it in later months & years. Thanks!

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