Confessions of a Parent and a Few Words of Advice
“ I never thought I would be a parent of a teen who struggles with pornography...”
The above statement is very common among the parents we talk to who have children, teens, and young adults who are struggling with media misuse and/or pornography. Recently, one parent wanted to share a few thoughts to help bring awareness to others regarding the life changing process that took place as they were faced with this issue head on.
“I always just assumed that my teen would be able to be honest with me and let me know what’s going on in his life. I was shocked to find out that my son had been struggling with pornography for a number of years, and everything was taking place under my nose in my own house.”
70% of teens keep their online habits from their parents and 90% of the 8 to 16 year olds who have viewed online porn did so while doing homework.
“We have always been here for our kids,”confessed this sincere parent, “so it was confusing that he wasn’t able to tell us he was struggling. At first when all this came out, we as parents felt that we had failed him, but we realize now that it is an opportunity to step in and partner with him to help make the necessary changes in his life. We’ve learned not to shame him but to walk along side of him. Taking the time to listen about what is really going on in his life without over-reacting as well as helping him learn how to protect himself from what is so easily accessible on the internet has been a challenging but worthwhile process. If I could give parents a word of advice, it would be to give room for continual conversation regarding this issue and be a part of the healing process. I’m thankful for organizations like The NOVUS PROJECT and James and Teri Craft that help bring a deeper understanding of what’s really out there and that my teen is not the only person going through this challenge. It helps us know we’re not alone.”
The startling reality is that over 85% of young men and teens are dealing with the effects of pornography to some degree and close to 30% of young women admit to dealing with it as well. That may or may not seem like a big deal until you dive into solid research and data that confirm the devastating effects this has on a child’s development, neurochemistry, and the way they view interpersonal relationships as well as the world around them. The bottom line is that this is changing our society at large, one precious life at a time. For this parent, the realization that they were faced with this epidemic within the confines of their own home was sobering, but it was also a catalytic moment in their relationship with their son--a life changing moment.
If 70% of the teens existing all around us are keeping their online habits from their parents, and a mind-blowing 85% of young men and 30% of young women are struggling in some way with media misuse and pornography, who is really teaching these young minds on a daily basis? Who is helping them understand about true love, respect and honor? Do they know that what they are engaged in could produce negative neurological and relational effects? Are they aware that pornography is a main contributor to worldwide human trafficking and sexual exploitation? Are they afraid to say something because the shame level is so high they would rather suffer than expose their struggle?
These are all thought provoking questions, and quite honestly worth our time and effort in contemplating our part in being a positive and informed contributor to the solution.
Our children are worth it...