This is Lent. This is the time of going out into the desert to face our temptations and our demons. It’s also a good time to make ourselves actually do the things that are difficult. Things we know we should be doing, but for many reasons are avoiding in our day-to-day life.
For me – one of those difficult things is talking with my children about sexuality, and most especially about pornography.
If you are – like me – a parent of teenage kids, or even pre-teen kids, chances are that your children have already seen pornography. Even if they didn’t, it’s not really a question of “if”, but rather “when”…
There is of course plenty of great resources to help parents deal with this tough topic. In my parenting career I have gone through many of them, and I would like to share with you three resources that have helped me the most.
Younger kids – appropriate
A great resource that I’ve used in the past, which is especially good for talking with younger kids who have not yet seen pornography, is the book “Good pictures, bad pictures”, and the associated website: https://protectyoungminds.org. The book and website propose a simple “CAN DO” plan to deal with pornography – that literally anyone “can do”!
This plan works for younger kids, but it’s actually good for anyone. I still remind my sons about it from time to time.
For older kids – High schoolers
For rather older kids (high schoolers) and young adults, our very own Christina Barba (ESM alumni) has created “The Culture Project” organization (https://thecultureproject.org/), that produces excellent videos on topics like chastity and modesty. Their videos are usually very short – I play them sometimes right before a family movie, to sneak in some good message before entertainment.
The organization also sends speakers to schools, so if you have any say in your children’s school…
Great resource, but… parents strongly cautioned
The “Fight The New Drug” organization website is full of helpful articles and videos – the most comprehensive resource I’ve found, and solidly based in research and common sense. It is mostly aimed at adults, though, and not everything is appropriate for children.
This actually brings me to the reason why I wrote this post: in a recent newsletter from FTND, to which I subscribe, I’ve read about an on-line conversation guide – to help prepare yourself to talk about pornography. For me as a parent, the most interesting part is the prep-guide to talk with your own children. The guide is even split into two categories: talking with a child who has already seen pornography, and another section – just a general talk guide.
Both guides can be found on the FTND website: https://fightthenewdrug.org/lets-talk-about-porn/topic/?to=child
So, if you are a parent of younger kids and did not yet have to deal with this problem – be proactive and get familiar with all the resources. If you are already experienced, perhaps you will still find something useful in these resources and restart the conversation. It’s a tough topic, but the time is good for it!
Have a blessed Lent!