“How should I respond when I discover that my child has seen pornography?” Help for Parents (2021)
“How should I respond when I discover that my child has seen pornography?” Help for Parents
If you discover that your child has seen pornography, you should follow Heavenly Father’s example of parenthood. Some children may not tell their parents when they have seen pornography, while others will want to talk about it. If children feel safe and supported, they will be more likely to share their feelings and experiences.
Often when children are viewing pornography, they are doing so to meet certain needs. These needs are unique and specific for each child but may include sexual curiosity or the desire for a distraction from anxiety and depression. As you seek to understand your child’s individual needs, you can help him or her find solutions and meet those needs in healthy ways. This may also be a good time to reinforce teachings about the role of healthy sexuality and how pornography portrays false information about sexual relationships. These kinds of conversations may require new skills as a parent, such as asking questions differently and taking time to listen. You can also use situations you encounter in everyday life to discuss healthy sexuality. It’s helpful to discuss these topics in an atmosphere that is relaxed and loving rather than forced or contentious.
Consider your own feelings regarding sexuality and pornography. How can you address any concerns you might have about discussing these topics before talking to your children?
Seek to understand the difference between shame and guilt and how to identify and explain that difference (see “It Isn’t a Sin to Be Weak”1 and “How Do I Help My Child Understand the Difference between Shame and Guilt?”).
Identify patterns of healthy communication that can be developed in your family. For instance, can you make eye contact, ask inspired questions, or be more reflective and less reactive in listening? How might you improve communication with your child? (See “Communicating with Love.”)2
Some of the resources listed below are not created, maintained, or controlled by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While these materials are intended to serve as additional resources, the Church does not endorse any content that is not in keeping with its doctrines and teachings.