(Welcome Kelli, guest writer to my blog on parenting and technology. She’ll sign off as -KO while I’ll use -DP)
“I’d never look at that kind of stuff!” –13 year-old son when asked if he had ever seen porn while on his Instagram account
I watch it, then I watch it with my 7th-grade son. He has an Instagram account, as does every member of our family of six. After watching it together, here’s how it went down:
Him: I’d never watch anything like that!
Me: I’m not saying you would, just that it seems like it could happen by accident.
Him: Well, it didn’t and I wouldn’t even want to.
Me: I would. (never underestimate the power of shock-value parenting)
Me: I mean I’d be tempted to, when I was a kid and even now. It’s powerful stuff. Remember what I told you about what happened to me with porn when I was your age?
Him: Yeah, you don’t have to go into that again.
Me: Don’t worry, I won’t. I just want you to know that you’re not a pervert like some people say if you’re curious about sexual things. Porn is just one way Satan is trying to steal your heart. Please tell Dad or me or someone that loves you if you get in trouble with it. We won’t be mad.
That wisdom (welcoming bad news from your child) isn’t mine. I had to buy it. I spent approximately 16 weeks and hundreds of dollars in co-pay cash to get it from my therapist a few years back. Worth every minute and dollar.
See, I asked this veteran (30 plus years of counseling sexual abuse victims) why I was so screwed up? Why other people, who had suffered worse traumas than I had, seemed better off? Her response: “I can tell you why right now…they got what they needed when it happened. You didn’t.”
What she meant was that when bad stuff happens to children, they need an “interpreter”; an approachable parent or caregiver (see Andrea Lucado’s helpful article entitled Approachable Parenting) who can first speak to the child’s dignity, then safety; i.e.: “That thing that happened is wrong. But you’re not a wrong thing. Let’s get you safe.”
3 Keys to Unlock Fear
It’s easy to get paralyzed in parenting; fighting the extremes of hyper-vigilance and permissiveness. Good thing there’s help! God gives us three keys that can open the door wide toward encouragement:
- Words; His Own: “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2: 6)
- Prayer; groups like Moms in Prayer International and friends and mentors in your spiritual community who will pray for you.
- People; advocates like: 360 Family, iparent.tv and IntegrityOnline
Which parenting tool (God’s Word, prayer, people) do you need more of in your family’s life? -KO