How do I talk to my children about these things?
Here’s what I struggle with: How do I prepare my young boys in case they are exposed to porn without destroying their innocence?
It is a struggle at young ages, but it’s so important. A mom recently told us she discovered her 8 or 9 year old was getting up in the middle of the night to watch porn on her tablet. Another mom said her 7 year old was exposed to porn by a 10 year old neighbor. Yet another collapsed in tears at a conference describing how her 5 year old had been molested by a ten year old neighbor.
How horrifying! Obviously if children this young are being exposed to this stuff, we need to prepare them. How can we do that without taking away their innocence?
Be age appropriate. A young child doesn’t need the full bore explanation an older child does. “We shouldn’t be looking at pictures of people who are naked. We shouldn’t ever take pictures like that, either.”
Use Biblical context. “God designed our bodies to be a special gift for the person we marry. We’re not supposed to share or show the private parts of our bodies with anyone else. The only exception is your parents or your doctor when you need their help.”
Be clear. “If someone tries to show you pictures of naked people, you need to turn away, say “No!” and go find an adult to tell.”
Be unmistakable. “You shouldn’t let anyone touch the parts of your body covered by your underwear (or bathing suit, for girls). You shouldn’t touch anyone else there.” Good touch, bad touch is just too confusing to a child.
Give them an action plan. “If anyone tries to touch you like that, scream, yell, bite, kick, poke them in the eye. Be as mean and loud as you can! Try to run away. No matter who it is! And tell your parents or another adult immediately!” Good kids need to know when it’s okay to hit and to raise a ruckus.
Give them direction. “If anyone ever tells you, ‘Don’t tell your parents!’ tell us right away!”
Give them courage. “Honey, sometimes people who are cowards will threaten children. If anyone ever threatens you, your parents, your brothers and sisters, even your pets, we want you to come tell us. Please don’t worry! We can take care of ourselves, you, and the rest of our family.”
Anticipate issues. Many children are exposed to porn when they hear a word they don’t know, wait until Mom is busy, and Google it. “If you hear a word you’ve never heard before, don’t look it up. Just ask me, even if you think it’s embarrassing. We can talk about anything around here.”
Be proactive. Please don’t be the ones who write us with another heartbreaking story. Get some kind of accountability on every internet capable device in your home. We use Covenant Eyes and have for many years. Yes, just as with everything, there are ways to foil it, but as a first line of protection for your young children, it is the best there is. Click here to go their site to sign up or here to read our posts on why and how to use it.
It’s a scary time to raise a child, it seems. You aren’t helpless, though, and your children don’t have to be victims. It’s time for a talk…
Hal & Melanie
Please get Covenant Eyes or some other accountability on your internet devices TODAY. Don’t wait to find something perfect. Get protection now. Try it for a month free here. We use it ourselves. Signing up through our link blesses this ministry financially and doesn’t cost you anything extra.
For information on how to talk to older kids, click here.