Steps You Can Take Now
Preventing a problem with pornography is easier than trying to recover from an addiction. Parents are key in preventing pornography use in the family.
- Teach. Help family members understand the desensitization process that occurs from repeated exposure to immoral images and behaviors found in books, magazines, and popular television programs (see 2 Nephi 4:31, D&C 1:31).
- Love. Develop a loving, open, and influential relationship with your children, teaching them proper values and healthy attitudes toward sexuality.
- Protect. Safeguard the home. As a family, discuss and implement healthy media habits such as limiting television and computer time, installing Internet filters, and placing televisions and computers in high-use areas where the screens are visible to others.
- Warn. Warn family members about pornography's ability to enslave and spiritually destroy them.
- Exemplify. Immediately turn away from suggestive images and teach your children to do the same.
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.
- Emotional Behaviors. Keep in mind that some emotional behaviors may be just a normal stage of life, particularly with adolescents.
- Physical Behaviors. Does your child quickly change the computer screen or turn off the computer when you walk by or enter the room?
- Spiritual Behaviors. Does your child seem less interested than before in spiritual things?
Parents can be a great help to a son or daughter involved with pornography. The following steps might assist you to best help your child:
- Express Your Love. Express your love and your desire for your child to have a happy, successful life, and share your concern that involvement in pornography can jeopardize your child's future happiness and well-being, causing spiritual death and eternal disappointment.
- Teach. Teach your child how pornography distorts sexuality, causes users to view others as sexual objects, leads to various forms of immorality, and addicts its users.
- Follow Up. Once the problem has been acknowledged, keep the lines of communication open. Sexual transgressions thrive in secrecy but are less likely to recur when talked about in a sensitive, caring way.
- Respond Calmly. Avoid responding with shock and anger. Instead, be genuinely concerned and talk with your child in a respectful way.
- Learn. Ask how the problem got started, how long it has been going on, and how extensively the child is involved with pornography.
- Involve Leaders. Encourage your child to talk with the bishop and to get professional help if needed.
- Admonish Tenderly. Rather than preaching, threatening, or condemning, appeal to your child's better judgment. Admonish him or her "with all the feeling of a tender parent" to listen to your counsel (see 1 Nephi 8:37).
- Communicate. Find out how the child feels about his or her involvement and whether he or she plans to continue that involvement.
- Help. Provide help and encouragement as the child strives to overcome the problem.
As addicts work to apply the steps of recovery, seeking necessary support from others, they will benefit from the sources listed below.
- Ecclesiastical Support. Never forget or underestimate the power of ecclesiastical stewardship.
- Professional Counselors. When selecting professional help, it is important to select someone who is supportive of gospel principles and treatment standards consistent with those found in the Addiction Recovery Program.
- A Support Person. A support person helps those in recovery put their “lives into perspective and avoid exaggerating or minimizing [their] accountability” (Guide, 29).
- Recovery Meetings. In these meetings, newcomers hear participants describe how they apply recovery principles and practices in daily living.
- Family Members. Family members can most effectively be a source of support by offering love and acceptance and by applying the same treatment steps to their own lives.