Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Plague of Our Generation

Pornography is a terrible addiction. Unfortunately, it is pervasive. I'm pretty sure every single one of us knows somebody who has been/is addicted. It could be us. It could be our spouse. It could be our friend/brother/sister/parent/child. Fortunately, there is always hope and help!

Mormon Women is doing an amazing series on Pornography addiction right now. Women (and men) who have had to deal with this hell are speaking out and educating others about their experiences. It's worth reading, dear reader, and educating ourselves about how to deal with this vice! I honestly think that the biggest mistake we can make as wives and mothers is to assume it won't affect our lives. Hopefully it won't! But that's not a chance we should take.

So, how do we go about taking a stand against it?

There are many, many ways, of course. But today I want to just discuss one of those ways: Talking about it with our kids.

Wait, what? Talk about p*rn with our kids?! What the? No, not like that. Scenario: Little Junior finds a magazine at a friend's house or sees a commercial or a movie or a sitcom... He has a physical reaction to what he sees. Will he be able to:
A. Come and talk to you or your husband about it?
B. Know what it is he is experiencing?
C. Know to get away from that type of stuff as fast as his little legs can carry him?

We can't always be there to protect our children from everything. We can't stop their curiosity simply by demanding it. In most cases, extremism, demands, threats, etc. makes them run the other way, dig in their heels, and become secretive with their thoughts and feelings. So, what can you do in this scenario and others? Here are my ideas (and please share yours!):

A. Be honest and open with your kids about sexuality and physical responses to visual stimuli (age appropriate, for sure, though!).
B. Don't freak out if you are confronted with this scenario.
C. Let Junior talk about their feelings. Don't demonize them! For most kids, they are very young and don't even know what is going on. Their feelings need to be validated and explained.
D. Be honest and frank about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Talk about why our bodies and minds are sacred. Help them understand (again, age appropriateness) what is happening to them physically and why.
E. Let the child lead the discussion. Just like with basic questions of sex, some kids aren't ready to know about it all. Sometimes, the "open door" policy on these subjects is best; let them know you will always answer their questions honestly and respectfully.
F. Pray to know what to say --and when to say it! Guidance from the Holy Ghost trumps all worldly expertise.

What have you done with your kids? How did/How will you respond to this scenario? What are you doing to fortify your home against this filth? [Cardalls, I know you just did a post like this, so fire away! :) ]


sariqd said...

Isn't it an excellent series? I'm so glad they're doing this...

I agree with all your bullet points... especially not freaking out about it. If parents (or couples for that matter) have not started talking about these type of situations and figuring out how to handle it, DO IT NOW. Nobody is immune from it. Not in this day of information overload. (Should I clarify the immunity? As much as we may try to shield our children, they're going to see it. On magazine covers in the grocery store, tv, people on the street, etc.)Preparation is key as well as being guided by the Spirit.

As for kids, we emphasize that sex, should be sacred and beautiful and something reserved for marriage. When they experience those feelings, and we all have at some point in our childhood, being able to have a safe environment in talking with parents about it is essential. Parents will then be able to guide & help them redirect their thoughts and behaviors.

Michelle Catherine Walker said...

Nice post, Cheryl. It's never, ever comfortable or easy to talk about these things with our kids, but it's SO important! Thanks for the reminder. :)

Laci said...

The New Era this month also has a great article (although it took me a sec to be ok that it was in there)on this subject. I was shocked at first and then have since realized that it's the reality of the world we live in.....and Satan's strength. BE OPEN with your kids. It's our only hope to help them make it....they will fail on their own for sure!! Thanks for the reminder!

Dorri said...

Wow, thanks for the link. After reading some of those stories it really hit home that I'm not doing enough to teach my children about the dangers or p@rn. Honestly it's not something that had crossed my mind that I needed to talk with my children at this young of an age. But I realize that I do. I see a family home evening lesson coming next Monday.

michelle said...

I have been so inspired as I have read and listened to these stories. There are more to come so be sure to read through the end of the week.

I've been honestly shocked to see how young some of the exposure was. Our bishop talked to us about this a while ago and it made me want to do all I could to be more educated about this topic, so I have been studying more about it and trying to learn from people who have walked this path. I really feel that if we all do our part, we can help stem the tide of the terrible effects of this plague. Truth is power.

So we are deliberate about trying to be open with our children and talking enough about these topics so that they are less uncomfy. I'm also amazed at how when I stay open to opportunties, the Spirit helps me find those little snatches of interactions where another building block of truth can be placed in their arsenal.

I think I feel my power as a mom most strongly when I am teaching my kids about sexuality and chastity.

Thanks for this post, Cheryl. We need more discussions like this.

Anne Marie said...

Thanks for the links.

By the way, have you noticed a difference in your family's health during cold and flu season....with all the raw, nourishing stuff you guys have been eating? Just wondering.

Cardalls said...

I am pretty passionate about this topic so forgive me if I go off for a minute....

The average age children are exposed to pornography is age 8. So if you think your children aren't seeing it, you are probably wrong (average meaning some see it earlier, some see it much later).

We must prepare our children for it, not just protect them. They will deal with it at some point, TEACH them beforehand how to do so.

Make talking about it not taboo. Bring it up, define it, explain what might happen to their bodies if they see it. Open up a dialogue
about it.

I have 4 sons, to think I can protect them from it and that it won't happen to us is very naive.

Educate yourself, follow the prophets counsel about computers, technology etc. don't bury your head in the sand.

Dont give your kids data plans or even picture option on their cell phones, this is Satan's latest tool to snag kids into pornography, it is HUGE and there are not filters on cell phones.

Cardalls said...

Forgot...teach the doctrine of the sacredness of the body.

Study Elder Packer's talk, "Cleansing the Inner Vessel". It tells us to wake up and be alert! There are multiple warnings to us as parents. I dont know about you but when a prophet of God issues that kind of talk...I'd better listen!