The best action you can take against pornography is to keep your own eyes and hearts clean.
By Dennis and Barbara Rainey
It is extremely important for you as a parent to discover and disarm the pornography traps that await your child. But the ultimate and best action we can take against pornography is to keep our own eyes and hearts clean. Ultimately, you are the door of much that comes in your home. Will you let in light or darkness?
We need convictions and a personal, proactive plan for taking a stand against pornography in our own lives and in our homes. Here are three core convictions related to the trap of pornography that we believe every parent should hold.
Conviction #1. Pornography is a lie. While offering a fulfillment of fantasy, it actually perverts something beautiful created by God.
Imagine being extremely thirsty. You’ve been lost in the wilderness without water for days. You are wobbly. Your tongue is swollen. You are delirious.
You stumble over the crest of a hill and below you is what you have desperately sought. Water!
Drawing on every remaining bit of strength, you hurl yourself down the slope. At the bottom you are surprised to find two small pools. In one the water is green—a thick crust of slime covers the surface. A rotten odor rises to your nostrils.
Not far away is a second pool. The water is clear, and a small but vigorous stream flows in one end and out the other. No odor there; the pond smells fresh.
Where would you go for a drink?
Sounds simple, right? But when it comes to the topic of sex, our society seems intent on steering us to the polluted pool.
God made sex. It’s good. He designed it as the ultimate means of drawing two people together in the marriage relationship. That’s the good, pure water.
But nonstop, 24-hours-a-day, every day, every year, through much of what we are served in the media, we are asked to believe that the water in the polluted pond is what’s really going to satisfy our thirst.
This is a lie. Pornography twists and perverts the beauty of God’s creation. It leads men and women to look at each other as nothing more than sex objects. It causes them to fantasize about sexual relationships with other people. The focus on sensual pleasure becomes a drug that blots out the rest of their lives.
Conviction #2: We will model integrity before our children by turning away from any form of evil that would pollute our lives and family.
If you want your child to resist the lure of pornography, your first step will be to ponder your own habits. What do you allow to enter through your eyes to find rest in your mind and heart?
Obviously, you need to stay far away from any type of hard-core pornography. But don’t stop there. One mistake many parents make is thinking that pornography is just the horrible, crude, sickening material found online or at the adult bookstore. Increasingly, you will find images in mainstream magazines, television shows, and movies that are not as crude but still sell the same lie that the real water is found in the rancid pond. In fact, our society has become so hardened from the onslaught of sex that we accept as normal what would have been considered pornographic 20-30 years ago.
King David, who struggled with controlling his eyes and thought life, offers this insight: “I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil” (Psalm 101:2-4).
Conviction #3. We will remain prayerfully alert for how this issue may affect our child.
Even though you may do a good job of controlling your child’s access to the internet at home, you must be alert to what other children may be viewing on their smartphones.
Beyond the destructive effects of just looking at pornography on the internet lurks the chilling danger of a child being recruited into sexual activity by a pedophile or other sexual deviant. Our advice: Don’t assume that just because your child hasn’t had a problem, he doesn’t now or won’t in the future.
For the single parent
What if you’re a single mom with a young son? Should you talk to him about pornography? By all means, yes.
This is another situation where love must take action. Use some good resources; learn as much as you can. Because you love your son, plow ahead and trust that God will assist your efforts.
Ideally, if you and the child’s father see eye to eye on this topic, you may be able to present similar content on pornography independently to your son.
If the father does not agree or is uninvolved—or worse, is using pornography himself—what then?
Talk openly to your ex-husband about the dangers and your concern for your son. If he is unresponsive, you can do nothing to change that. But you can reach your son. Share material explaining the effects of pornography with him. Talk about it as long as he will listen, and even sometimes when he won’t.
God knows the circumstances and will orchestrate the outcome. Just be faithful in doing your job to warn your son of the dangers of pornography. Lay out the boundaries in your home and encourage your son to resist the temptations, even if his own father presents them.
If your ex-husband is not supportive, consider prayerfully enlisting a male ally, perhaps a man at your church, who could assist in educating and protecting your son.
If you catch your son with pornography and he’s a member of your church’s youth group, consider pulling together an intervention group led by your son’s youth leader and a couple of other adult men he really respects. As best you can, make sure these men are walking with God and are morally clean themselves. Have them intervene and plead with him, explaining what might happen if he continues to consume this deadly poison.
And of course, never stop praying and asking others to pray, too.
Adapted from Parenting Today’s Adolescent: Helping Your Child Avoid the Traps of the Preteen and Teen Years. Copyright by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers.
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