I keep busting my teen watching porn - Life Coaching For Parents

I keep busting my teen watching porn

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Episode 92 – Question of the Day:

“No matter how many times I take away his phone, remove apps, or punish him, he keeps finding ways to access porn. I thought I blocked his ability to download apps and I’m constantly monitoring him when he’s online, but no matter how vigilant I think I’m being, I can’t seem to stop his obsession with porn. The other night, I heard him talking to a girl and he was being so demeaning and rude. Turns out it was through this app I keep deleting. I hesitate to take his phone away completely when this is his only way to socialize with friends because of the pandemic. What do I say to get his 13 year old brain to drop the porn and obey me?”  Denise

Parent Educator Answer: 

When your child gets hooked on the enticing dopamine release and titillation that pornography provides, it is time for YOU (and his Dad if he’s available) to enter into the sex conversation in a profound way. 

 

Ideally you don’t want a porn conversation to be the first talk you have with your child about sex. Kids are going to stumble upon inappropriate content online and when they do, you want them to see it and think, “My parents already talked to me about this, I’ve got more books and videos than I could ever want about this subject!” Kids who’ve taken my “Time for The Talk” class might think, “This is just media sex. This isn’t real people in real relationships. They are just trying to make money by showing me something shocking”

 

Whether you talked to him about sex or not, it’s time to ramp up his education.

First, let’s talk about what NOT to do.

1. Do not shame him. Try hard to not make him feel bad about his actions. Shame likes to live in the dark. Kids who feel shame will hide and sneak. We want your son to feel like you are there for him if he needs help. We want him to feel like no subject is off limits and you love him no matter what. Kids who feel shame start to internalize the “I’m a bad kid identity”. Better to have him think, “I am a good kid who occasionally makes bad choices.” 

 

2. Don’t avoid or ignore the problem. It can be very tempting to avoid something so confusing and uncomfortable. Watch out for your own “bad mom” shame and guilt because this will keep you from asking for help. Better to admit “I’m in over my head here and I need some help.”

 

3. Don’t take away all his technology. Your instincts are right on not taking away all technology since so many teens use it to connect. You want to increase your involvement with your child’s technology AND encourage more interactions with peers. He may be curious about the opposite sex, but he is also probably yearning for emotional intimacy and human connection. The more you can encourage and create opportunities for this, the better. Parents talking to kids about sex in a genuine way, creates emotional intimacy and models how to do it in an appropriate, respectful way. 

 

What you do want to do is learn more about porn addiction and how to help a teen. Communicate often and calmly about the porn industry and the consequences teens experience who watch and think this is normal and ok. You want to teach him the difference between “Real People Sex” and “Media Sex” and let him know that a healthy sexual relationship between real people involves emotional intimacy and commitment. Satisfy his curiosity with books, science and educational videos about reproduction, intimacy, female and male anatomy and puberty.

Make it clear that YOU are the person he can turn to for factual information and acceptance for who he is. Let your love and acceptance of him permeate through your teachings.

Ask him what his values are. What is important to him? What kind of man does he want to be? Is he interested in having a romantic relationship? Why or Why not? By asking him these reflective questions, you can send the message that no matter what he watches on the internet, how he treats girls, what his sexual and gender identity, you are a person he can go to when problems or questions arise. 

 

Life Coaching Answer: Common thoughts moms think that get in the way of open, authentic conversations.

  1. I don’t know what to say or how to say it.
  2. It’s too uncomfortable and embarrassing. 
  3. He’s ruining his life.
  4. I’m handling it wrong and ruining his life.
  5. If I was a good mom this wouldn’t have happened. 
  6. It must be his Dad’s fault (or friend, or technology, or school)
  7. I laid down the law, glad that’s over with. 
  8. Wallow in sadness and guilt “Where did I go wrong?” 

So many things get in our way with this topic that you probably want to get help from an outside expert before tackling it. Of course you won’t want to and neither will your kid, that’s because shame likes to live in the dark. But the first step is to bring the issue out into the light and talk about it regularly and often. 

First, get him to think about the kind of young man he wants to be. Who does he admire? Where does he see himself in the future when it comes to relationships? What does he look forward to about being a high schooler? What are his goals and values? 

Then take out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side write “unhealthy relationship with porn” and on the other side write “Healthy relationship with porn” and brainstorm what each one would look like. 

Once he is clear on HIS goals and who he wants to be, then you can become his ally in creating healthy boundaries and a healthy attitude towards the opposite sex. You’ve GOT to have his buy in if you want to be successful setting boundaries around technology. Check in with him often with questions like “Scale of 1-10, how high is the temptation to look at porn?” “What do you do to distract yourself when the temptation comes your way?” “When you talk rudely towards girls and spread that negative energy, how can you turn it around and uplift a peer with some positive energy?” 

 

Supermom Kryptonite: Thinking you should be able to handle every aspect of parenting on your own.

I don’t know where we pick up the idea that we should be GREAT at EVERY aspect of parenting. If your parents didn’t do a great job of talking about sex in a natural, easy way, it’s normal that the conversation would be uncomfortable for you. Throw in online porn, cell phones and social media and we have absolutely no role modeling for parenting today’s kids in a modern world. 

The idea that you should be able to listen to a podcast or read an article and suddenly transform into a wise sage who says all the right things is silly. Finding people to fill in the gaps of our knowledge, talents and expertise is not silly. 

You wouldn’t expect to teach your kid how to do a “back walkover to handstand 180 degree pirouette” if you topped out at somersaults and cartwheels. We hire coaches to fill in the gaps. Even if you CAN teach your kid the piano, they might do better with a stranger teaching them. Hiring someone to help us teach our kids is very normal and when it comes to something like sex education, I have the perfect program. 

My sex education program is for 9-12 year olds and their parents. It’s designed to open up the lines of communication on difficult subjects. 

Denise’s situation with her 13 year old son would be better helped by someone who specializes in porn addictions. Even if he isn’t addicted yet, might as well learn some prevention and education techniques from an expert in the field and not expect to be able to handle it all on your own. 

 

Supermom Power Boost:  Use the magic of algorithms! 

When you are a mom, sometimes you gotta get sneaky. 

I’ve been known to hand notes to the pediatrician asking her to encourage my child to eat vegetables, since I knew he was more likely to listen to the doctor than me. 

Books on managing friendship conflicts might magically show up in the bathroom after I hear my daughter on facetime with her friend.

When my child’s friend is spending the night and starts missing her mommy, a book about puberty might come sliding under the door. Five minutes later, she is having too much fun bonding and giggling at the funny illustrations, to miss home. 

I was pretty excited when I came up with this little sneaky trick using the magic of algorithms. 

Let’s say your teen has anxiety and you want to de-stigmatize therapy and getting help. Go onto their social media and start searching for “relaxation breathing techniques” and “how therapy helps with anxiety.” Through the magic of algorithms, they will start seeing ads and influencers who they can learn from. Suddenly, she has the brilliant idea of getting help for her anxiety and Mom never said a word! 

In the case of this 13 year old boy, Denise could go into his social media and start searching and clicking “how do you know if you are addicted to porn” or “ditch the porn and learn to bond and connect with real people.” or “how to get the attention of a cute girl.”

 

Quote of the Day:

“Loneliness isn’t the physical absence of other people, it’s the sense that you aren’t sharing anything that matters.”  Johann Hari

 

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