What to Do When You Find Out Your Child’s Been Watching Porn
Posted by Hal and Melanie Young in Boy's Purity, How to Be a Faither, How to Be a Mother, Preteens, Teens

What should you do? Well, besides cry? It’s devastating to realize that the child you’ve prayed for, taught the Scriptures to, and tried so hard to protect has been looking at degrading and dehumanizing filth.

You’re not alone. Nearly all boys are exposed to porn before they are eighteen and the vast majority of them, long before that. When we first started talking about this, most of the parents we talked to that were dealing with this had 15- or 16-year-olds. Now we commonly hear from parents with children as young as seven to nine.

Although you’ve got plenty of company, how you handle it makes a huge difference in what happens in the future. Some parents blow it off as “boys will be boys,” but as Christians we know this kind of sin is displeasing to God. Other parents go postal, making their kids think they’ve done something that can’t be forgiven and has ruined their lives, but that’s not true. We’ve got to hit the Biblical balance of taking it seriously, but pointing them to the hope that is in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Here’s help to do that.

RRM Eight Things to Do When You Find Out Your Son is Watching Porn

1. Pray. You are going into battle for your child’s soul. Don the armor of God. Get your heart right with Him. The problem is not between you and your son, even though he’s likely disobeyed you. The problem is between your son and God. That’s way more serious.

2. Remember that you are a sinner, too. When we rebuke our children, we would do well to bring to mind Romans 3:12, “All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” We can’t approach them as the righteous judge, because we aren’t. It helps to have some humility here.

3. Confront the sin in love. Sit down with your child in a private place and calmly confront them with what you’ve found out. Reassure them beforehand of your love and care for them. Confront them with a concerned attitude, not a furious one. Remember, they need to realize they’ve sinned against God, not just made you mad.

4. Expect lies and deception and do not waver. Sexuality is a private matter. On top of that, we have a tendency to hide our sin. Add the two together and a child who’s never lied to you before will look you in the eye and say, “I have no idea what you are talking about. It must have been my brother.”

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At that point, we would suggest you say something like this, “Son, that may be so, but we are seeing some warning signs that you are playing with a very dangerous sin. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” That’s serious. That means looking at porn is breaking one of the Ten Commandments. I am so worried about you!”

5. Give him time to respond to the Holy Spirit and repent. Often kids will lie adamantly when you first approach them, but if you give them time to think about it, the Holy Spirit will convict them and they will confess and repent. You might say, “Son, I am so concerned about you that I think you’d better reconsider your response. I’d like for you to go to your room for a while and consider this. If you’ve gotten into porn, yes, you’ll be in trouble, of course, but we’ll help you, too. We’ll help you get out of it and get right with God.” Then leave him alone for a couple of hours.

RRM Eight Steps to Take if Your Son's Been Watching Porn

6. Explain the consequences of this sin. 

  • Legal Dangers – Kids need to understand that looking at pictures of girls their own age undressed is a felony.
  • Lust is never satisfied – Snowballs into Perversion – Over 60% of teens have seen homosexual sex and over 80% have seen group sex online. Really. Check out the latest porn stats at the (We’re affiliates!) Covenant Eyes site.
  • Job Loss – Messing with this stuff can not only lose a young man a job in the future, it can lose his dad’s job now, like the father who had a ten year old accessing porn from Dad’s laptop. He nearly got him fired.
  • Hurts your future wife – Research is showing that young men have learned from porn to believe that women enjoy pain and humiliation, which they do not. Watching this stuff can mess up your future marriage.
  • May make it hard or impossible to win that wife – Remind your son that one day the father of the beautiful lady he wants to marry may ask him about his experience with porn.
  • This is fornication and adultery, make no mistake! This is the crux of the matter. It’s sin. It’s serious sin. He needs to repent.

7. Intervene! Porn is addictive. When people watch porn, because they can watch so much in so short a period of time, their bodies release more dopamine (a pleasure hormone) than is possible in real life. That begins shutting down the dopamine receptors, which means you have to watch more or worse to get the same thrill. Before long, you are physically addicted. You’ve got to consider a porn user to be like an alcoholic. They will want a fix!

  • Get accountability on every single internet-capable device in your home. Now! You can use any manner of things, but we love Covenant Eyes because it’s customizable by the individual user and reports are quick and easy to read. We’re affiliates, so your membership supports our ministry, as well. Try it and get 30 days free.
  • Keep them with you. We call this intense discipleship. That means that they have to be with an adult at all times. Think alcoholic.
  • Take away internet access for a time.
  • Remind them that it often takes 3-6 months or more to break this habit.
  • Give them daily accountability. Be kind and supportive, but ask, “Hey son, how’s your thought life today?”

8. Get them back in the battle. Explain the gospel. Jesus died on the cross, taking the punishment for our sins, so that we could be forgiven of stuff like this. Repent (be sorry for your sin and forsake it) and believe. If Satan can’t keep them in the sin, he wants to convince them that they are ruined forever. Sorry, but the Bible says, “ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

There really is hope that a young man can forsake this sin and seek righteousness! We’ve written a book for young men in their teens and twenties to help them do that called Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality. You can get a copy here.

Your friends,Hal and Melanie Urban Street Cropped

Hal & Melanie