First of all, let me start by apologising as I am about to add to your parental To-Do list… and it’s a biggie. There are many day-to-day essentials that we do for our kids, but at the same time we also look to their futures. We are preparing them for adulthood but we don’t often think about their adult sexual selves and how to help them have healthy, romantic relationships. Well, there’s something that’s interfering with that… and that’s free online porn. I know, I know… this guy has been around for a while but he’s not going away so we must have tools in place to protect and help our kids navigate through it. As a parent, you cannot leave this to chance.
It’s no secret that our young folk are viewing porn from a scarily young age, with the average age being 10. As a result, our young folk are adopting the examples they see in porn as their sexual blueprint and modelling their behaviour on what they see. Their assumption is that this is how adults conduct themselves sexually. They do not have the emotional maturity and intelligence to get through this without you.
Do not delude yourself, your child will see pornography far too early in their lives. Yes, its unfair and yes, it robs them of their childhood but the sooner you talk about it openly with them the better. The future of your child’s healthy adult relationships depends on it and they will thank you for it.
So, what do you do? Set up all the filters and parental controls in your home, but there will always be that kid that has downloaded it or has access to it and he or she is willing to share it with everyone, so you have to clue your kids up early.
Come from a place of parental love, of assistance and of honest communication. How you play this conversation will shape how your child will share their relationship woes with you in the future. It’s horribly awkward to have to think of your child’s sexual self but them being able to have healthy, adult relationships depends on it. You are doing your child a massive disservice by not talking about it.
Think about what message you want to convey – it could be what a loving, healthy relationship looks like and consent being paramount is a great start to your conversation.
Do not get angry or blame them. All kids are now exposed to porn and it’s human nature to have a curiosity about it. It’s not their fault.
This is a key event in your parenting journey, if you really can’t talk about it with your child due to embarrassment, is there another trusted adult within the family you could ask?
Gently lead the conversation in the beginning – ‘do you know what pornography is’, ‘have you seen it’, ‘do your friends talk about’, but don’t judge their answers. Find out what they already know or have seen and build the content of your conversation around that.
It is essential that we get the message across that porn is theatre – it’s naked story telling. It’s mainly of the horror genre, it may look like someone is crying or getting hurt but porn is played by actors and it’s not real life.
Help them to understand that porn can make them feel weird, turned on, repulsed, angry but if they have any questions they can always come and ask you about it. Porn is made with the sole purpose of a physical reaction from the viewer, help them to understand their response is normal.