by Kristen A. Jenson

Making Conversations about Porn More Comfortable

5 Tips to Help Parents StartYou know it’s the right thing to do. You may even have a book to help you. You want to help your kids safely navigate the dangers of their digital world. But you just can’t bring yourself to start talking with them about (YIKES!) pornography.

Some parents are comfortable speaking right up about online safety and the brain dangers of porn. But others are not. It’s anxiety-producing! And easy to put off.

Recently I spoke to a mom who attended one of my PornProof Kids 101 presentations. She told me that she had already purchased our book Good Pictures Bad Pictures, but was hoping for a little “hand-holding” to help her get started.

So that’s what we’ll do today—a little hand-holding! Here are five tips, plus some bonus advice from a mom of four who overcame her fear to finally start the discussion.

Young dad and son5 Steps to Ditch the Dread

1. Remind yourself that the more you do something the easier it becomes. Think about all of your firsts: Your first day at a new school. That first week on the job. Your first time attending an exercise class (pretty scary for me!). All of these firsts get easier as you repeat them. I was sweating bullets when I did my first radio interview! But now that I’ve done a few, it’s easier. I’m not nearly as freaked out. (Just a little freaked out…)

It may take a big dose of courage the first time you talk to your kids about pornography. You might be nervous, but I promise you—it will get easier.

2. Try a role-play rehearsal. Sounds a little weird, but it works! If you’re uncomfortable talking with your kids, practice role-playing with your spouse, a close friend or family member. I do this before interviews and it really helps! The more you hear yourself say the words out loud, the more comfortable you become using them.

If you decide to purchase Good Pictures Bad Pictures, read it out loud to yourself or with your spouse/friend/family member. Rehearsing really works! Just ask any Broadway actor!

3. Focus on the why. Why do you want to warn them about pornography? Review these 21+ reasons to warn your kids about porn. Think about how pornography could impact your child’s future ability to form intimate relationships and enjoy a happy marriage.

Lila Spencer flowers(Did you know that a poll of family law attorneys revealed that 56% of all divorces in this country name a spouse’s porn addiction as a major factor in the break-up of the marriage? That is a mind-blowing number and no one is talking about it!!!)

4. Recruit your friends. Ask them! They may have some great ideas. And if they haven’t yet broached the subject with their own kids, you might give each other courage to get started!

I remember the time when my walking partner encouraged me to finally have a difficult conversation that I’d been putting off. (She was probably tired of hearing me obsess about it!) She gave me a pep talk and then challenged me to do it within that week. It worked! And she was right; afterwards I felt a lot better! (So there’s another idea–give yourself a week to do it and tell someone about your goal.)

Parents tell me how relieved they were to finally get this dark topic out into the light–like a burden had been lifted from their shoulders. I believe you’ll feel the same way!

5. Name it when you see it. Our cultural environment is littered with overtly sexualized and pornographic images, lyrics and words. So use them as natural conversation-starters! When you see or hear something, point it out and ask your kids what they think: “Why do you think advertisers use scantily dressed women in their ads? What kind of a reaction are they trying to get from you?”

GPBP_23SmlHelp your kids develop awareness by pointing out examples of sexualized media, “Hey, to me that looks like pornography!” Here’s the story of a 5-year old who did that in a grocery store; what happened afterwards was amazing!

cute-kidJeanette’s Words of Wisdom

I recently spoke with Jeanette, a concerned mom of four children ages 6 to 16, about overcoming the fear of talking with her kids about porn. Read her valuable insights:

“My parents never told us anything about sex or pornography, so when it came time to talk to my kids, I felt awkward. But I know a few people who are caught in a pornography addiction, and I DON’T want my kids to go through that. I guess it’s my fear motivates me to talk with them.

“My husband and I read Good Pictures Bad Pictures to our kids, and from time to time we take it out and review some of the concepts with them during our weekly family night. We probably bring it up about once a month.

“We also pray for help in knowing when and what we should discuss with them. My husband and I talk about this on a fairly regular basis.

“I check their phones intermittently (while they’re using them), and of course, no computers in bedrooms.

“In the end, I think the more casually I can bring it up, the less awkward it will be to talk about.”

Thanks, Jeanette! Do you have ideas to share that would help other parents? Leave us a comment!

Check out this latest Amazon review of Good Pictures Bad Pictures by FranklinJJones:

“So clear and comfortable. Talks about porn in a way I wouldn’t have been able to on my own. Worth every penny. I can’t say enough about this book. Had a great conversation with my 9 year old while we read. While it is written for very young kids,… it would be informative and clear for any age!”

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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