“How can I help my child progress spiritually after pornography use?” Help for Parents (2019)
“How can I help my child progress spiritually after pornography use?” Help for Parents
As children are seeking to overcome pornography use, parents can help them by providing guidance, love, and support. Overcoming pornography use is a process that takes time and effort. We cannot force our children to want to change, nor can we take responsibility for their change, but we can help them along the path when they’re ready. This video provides a few suggestions on how we might guide and help our children during this process.
President Boyd K. Packer taught:
“True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior.
“The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. Preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior. That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel” (“Little Children,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 17).
Understanding doctrine is an important step for those working to overcome pornography use. As our children seek to make changes, we can provide support by teaching and discussing doctrine with them rather than focusing on their previous negative choices.
It can be helpful for our children to understand why we have commandments. As we explain that commandments protect us and lead to happiness, we can help our children place more value on them. We can teach our children about the happiness that comes from following the Savior’s example in contrast to the heartache and pain that disobedience brings. When our children come to believe that God wants them to be happy, their desire to change their behavior will increase.
Another important doctrine we can teach our children is the role of the family. Learning how the family is a fundamental part of the plan of salvation can help our children understand the role of healthy sexuality and why God puts boundaries in place.
In our teachings, we can also seek to help our children develop faith in Jesus Christ and His infinite Atonement. When we teach of Christ, we help our children “know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26).
As our children come to understand the gospel, we can teach them how best to apply the truths they are learning. This may include helping them make plans to move forward or helping them establish and maintain boundaries around technology use. It can also be helpful for us to talk with our children regularly about how they are handling their pornography issues and managing their time.
It is important to remember that our children have their agency and will choose how they want to move forward. Even when there are setbacks, resistance, or a lack of interest in stopping pornography use, we can show love, patience, and support.
Here are some ideas that others have found helpful. Prayerfully consider what actions might be best for your family, taking into account that those actions may or may not be listed here.
Study the basic doctrines of the gospel in your personal and family study (see “Basic Doctrines,” Basic Doctrines , 1–3). These doctrines can help us find happiness and avoid misery.
Review the video above, and listen to what Elder David A. Bednar teaches. How might his teachings be helpful to your family’s situation?
Help your child to understand the influences that affect his or her behavior (see “What do I need to focus on to overcome my pornography habit?” Help for Me ).
Discuss with your child how to make and implement a plan to resist pornography. Additionally, help your child understand the role of setbacks. (See “How do I make a plan that will actually work?” and “What do I need to focus on to overcome my pornography habit?” in Help for Me).
Discuss with your family the negative impact pornography has on society, communities, families, and individuals. Counsel as a family and decide how negative influences such as pornography will be handled in your home.