This is the fourth in a six-article series to help parents respond to a child’s accidental porn exposure or purposeful seeking it out. The first three articles in the series are Your Child Has Viewed Porn, Now What? 5 SMART Tips for Parents; SMART Parents Stay Calm; SMART Parents Make a Plan to Address Pornography Exposure.

iStock_000009923484Small The SMART Plan

  • Stay calm
  • Make a plan
  • Assist your child to sort out their feelings
  • Regularly check in with your kids
  • Train your family

SMART Parents Assist Kids to Sort Out Confused Feelings

Porn is very confusing to kids! Think about this scenario: You teach your child to be kind to others, not hit, share their toys and treat their friends and siblings with respect. Then they go online and view adults engaged in sex, where the woman (usually) is beaten, gagged, and disrespected in the most disgusting ways.

Wouldn’t that be confusing?

Porn is Tricky!

Pornography is tricky because it evokes two conflicting feelings at the same time.Kids may feel

  1. a pleasurable physical response at the same time they feel
  2. repulsed, horrified and upset emotionally.

NOTE: According to Mark B. Kastleman, author of The Drug of the New Millennium, combining sex with violence produces a bigger rush of dopamine in the brain, which only adds to the addictive nature of porn. That’s why pornography has become so violent.

Eventually, if a child is left to themselves to figure it all out, they may be enticed to seek out even more porn, despite and maybe even because of its shocking nature. In order to keep kids safe online, we need to help them understand their feelings.

3 Steps to Helping Kids Sort Out Their Feelings

Jeffrey J. Ford, a licensed marriage and family therapist, produced a video in which he discusses three steps you can take to help your child after he or she has seen pornography.

worried boy1. Ask: How did your body feel? Ford advises parents to recognize that pornography arouses sexual feelings, which physically feel good. Acknowledging that sexual arousal feels good will avoid shaming your child about having normal sexual feelings.

2. Ask: How did you feel emotionally? Kids often say they feel sick to their stomach or “yukky” after seeing pornography. This is confusing. How can my body feel good but my emotions feel so bad at the same time? You can explain to them that pornography is tricky because it creates two different feelings at the same time.

3. Explain that there is an appropriate time to experience sexual feelings. Teach them that both their bodies and their emotions can feel good when they grow up and find someone they love and trust. Sexual feelings are good and normal and designed to bring two people together and keep them together in a committed and loving relationship like marriage.

iStock_000016807015SmallHelping kids sort out and understand their feelings about the explicit images they’ve seen is critical in assisting their thinking brain to reject pornography. Acknowledging that their feeling brain is curious about seeing naked people keeps the shame factor to a minimum.

Depending on the type of pornography your child has seen, you may also want to reaffirm that real sex is not about hurting another person, but it’s about showing kindness and affection to someone they love and are committed to.

In the next few SMART posts we’ll talk about helping kids deal with their negative emotions (which often serve as triggers for looking at porn) as well as helping kids identify the lies inherent in pornography of all kinds.

Have you been able to help your kids talk about an exposure to pornography? What tips would you pass along to other parents?

Here’s the next article in this series: The Dangers of the One and Only Porn Talk: 4 SMART Tips for Regular Conversations with Kids 

Do you know other parents who could use this information? Please share!

For more help in talking to kids about pornography, check out Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids. It’s an easy way to introduce the subject of pornography with a simple plan to get kids excited about staying safe!

GPBP_Cover_3

Click on cover to purchase

 Mom-Approved!

“I read this book with my five and eight-year-old daughters, and they loved it. It breaks something difficult for a young and naive mind to understand into a clear and almost exciting mission: stay safe! The conversations in the book are so intuitive that after a question was posed I would turn and ask my girls the same question and they gave the same answer the child in the story was ABOUT to give. This story is almost like a really fun science article for kids; my girls were thrilled to find out that the book was ours to keep.” Mary Wiser, Amazon Review 

Kristen Jenson

Kristen A. Jenson is the founder of Protect Young Minds and author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids. Kristen enjoys speaking, writing and anything else that will help empower kids to reject pornography. Kristen earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden, watching Masterpiece Theater, and taking long walks with friends who tolerate her incessant talking about you know what. Above all else, her husband and three children are her greatest treasures.


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