It is not always easy to recognize the warning signs that a child may be viewing pornography or involved in other compulsive sexual behaviors. It is wise to know some of the warning signs, but remember that there may be other reasons for your child's behavioral changes that are unrelated to pornography use. The Spirit can and will guide you as you prayerfully seek help. What do you know and what have you observed about your child's behaviors?
- Does your child spend time on the computer after everyone else is in bed?
- Is your child spending more and more time on the computer?
- Does your child quickly change the computer screen or turn off the computer when you walk by or enter the room?
- Does your child have a lot of unaccounted-for time?
- Does your child seem tired or worn out?
- When you ask your child about being tired or worn out, what is the response?
- Keep in mind that some of these emotional behaviors may be just a normal stage of life, particularly with adolescents.
- Is your child more withdrawn?
- Does your child seem emotionally disconnected?
- Does your child spend less time with the family?
- Is your child more irritable and “on the edge”?
- Does your child become angry over little things?
- Does your child blame others for what is going wrong?
- Does your child seem less interested in spiritual things?
- Does your child make negative remarks about people in the Church or Church leaders?
- Is your child attending church, reading the scriptures, and having personal prayers?
Try to make a distinction between what you assume is going on with your child and whether or not there is pornography use. What is the evidence? Are there unusual phone bills, Internet sites, website addresses, e-mails, or phone calls from third parties? Have you found printed material that is pornographic? Has he or she confessed? It is important to stick with the facts but also to listen to the Spirit as you determine what to do next. If the preceding questions or your intuitions leave you feeling concerned, try talking to your child about your concerns. You may also want to speak with your bishop or a professional counselor.
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