Raising Sons & Daughters
What do you do if you catch your son viewing porn?
It was a beautiful spring afternoon. Everything in my world was at peace and I had just said to myself, “What a great day”. Famous last words. I had no more than gotten them out of my mouth and my phone rang. On the other end of the phone was my wife. She had that concerned sound in her voice. In a moment, my perfect day turned into a perfect storm. Someone had been looking at pornography on our home computer and it had registered on our accountability software report. The main question my wife had was, “who did it?” After investigating we realized that it was one of our boys and I knew in that moment the conversation that I needed to have with my son. I had actually been planning this talk with my son since my parents caught me with pornography when I was seventeen. All I remember from that conversation was being asked the question “are you a pervert or something?” I came away from the meeting with my parents having decided two things; first I would never get caught again and second, what I would do different with my son if and when he faced this issue.
I made a decision years ago that when my son faced his issue that I would give him the three things that I desperately needed when I was caught with pornography.
1. Create a safe place. I wanted to be very careful with what I said and how I said it because I knew that this was an opportunity for me to build a bridge to my son that would create a safe place in which he could be honest about where he was and know that he was not condemned. After his confession and initial tears, the first words out of my mouth were “I love you, and I forgive you”. I wanted to set the tone that nothing he has done will change the way that I feel about him. Even though in that moment he was feeling guilt and shame he needed to know that as his father my love for him had not changed and would not change. I also did not want to act shocked about what he told me. I knew that my own addiction with pornography took me down some very dark roads and the most fearful thing was someone finding out. I truly believed, that if someone found out, that I would hear that word again ”pervert”. So I isolated myself and created two worlds, one private and one public and no one was allowed into my private world. I wanted my son to have the freedom to know that no matter what came out of his private world he was safe and I would love him.
2. Let him know that he is not alone. I did something very difficult for me and quite frankly scared me too death. I told my son that he was not alone and that all men deal with this issue. To prove this point I told him my story. I did not go into graphic detail but I was honest about my addiction and how painful it was, how I had no one to help me and I suffered in silence. The truth of the matter was I did not want to do this anymore but I did not know how to stop. There were three parts to my story; a. My addiction and the damage that it had done to me. b. The point of conviction where God called me to repent. c. Finally the road to freedom from this sin. Make sure your story ends with hope and that hope is always found in a relationship with Christ, and through loving accountability with your brothers in Christ.
3. Commit to get him help. This step is the most important. Assure your son that he is not in this fight alone and that you are in it with him. You are willing to do whatever is necessary to help him get victory. For my son and I, we worked through “Every Young Man’s Battle.” We incorporated the principals from that book into our lives and it is such a blessing to see them being practiced to this day.
What I thought was going to be a horrible day ended up being one of the most important days in the life of our family. At the end of our conversation my son bowed his head and prayed to receive Jesus Christ as his personal savior. What a great God we serve! ❖
Editors Note: There are many resources available to you and your family so let me encourage you if you do not know what to do, ask for help. You can contact anyone at “Men Living Up” and we will assist you in any way we can to help you with the next step. Start with educating yourself about this addiction. We provide some valuable resources for you on page 9. If you suspect that one of your children is addicted to pornography seek professional counseling or talk to your Pastor or clergy. Get help for them now! This addiction has the ability to destroy them if they don’t get help. If you are the parent facing your own struggles and addictions, you must get help as well. If you could have quit on your own, you would have done so by now!