Porn Proof Your Kids – Part 2

Thom DickFeatured, ParentingLeave a Comment

For the past few months we have been in a message series on marriage and sexuality at Southland which has led to some inevitable and interesting conversations. Interesting, but not necessarily encouraging. For all our genuine efforts, both spiritual and practical, there is still an epidemic of impurity and lust and sexual addiction among our young people. On one hand I understand, our culture is so hyper-sexualized that unless you have a mindset of ironclad chastity you are going to face temptation. On the other hand, I have been grappling to understand why we seem to be so impotent to stand against temptation.

Temptation is common to all human beings. Think about it; temptation was even a reality for Adam and Eve in their unfallen state! Temptation is just there – and it must be – or we will not be offered a genuine choice between obedience and rebellion. However, our children’s ability to stand against temptation seems to be seriously impeded these days and it is driving me nuts.

For goodness sake, twice in Matthew Jesus tells us to gouge out our eyes if they cause us to sin (Mt 5:29, 18:9), so you would think that we would understand that if a phone causes you to fall prey to pornography that you would smash that sucker on the closest stone wall. But who has the actual audacity to take sin that seriously? Who actually walks out of movie theatre when the film goes off the moral tracks?

As parents we understand the deadly trap lust and porn is and we need do everything possible to ensure our kids have the tools to avoid the trap. Now, I’m not an advocate for isolationism or unrealistic (and unhealthy) prudishness. I happen to enjoy movies and playing video games and the reality is that you can’t drive through the city, or watch TV without some ad appearing with some scantily clad person. No, the temptation will always be there. But how can we teach our children to handle the temptation and say “NO!” to what their flesh will deceive them into believing?

How about this, beginning when your kids are very, very young, learn to say “No” to your children.

Sometimes when I look at everything we give our kids I wonder how they will have the capacity to say no to anything let alone a lustful temptation. If we don’t teach our children to say no to things they want but don’t need now, they will not be conditioned to say no to things their sinful nature wants, but does not need, later in life.

What I am suggesting is that our perspective on porn-proofing our kids needs to change. It doesn’t help to lock their devices when they are hormonal teenagers and can’t stop surfing for porn. They are far too smart for that and when their vices start to infiltrate their thoughts they will find a way around most digital barriers. Plus, they are being given laptops to use in school now, their friends’ parents haven’t locked their kids’ devices and chances are good if they have seen something already it is already replaying in their minds.

No, if we want to give our kids a hope of being able to overcome temptation when they are teenagers and young adults, we need to start when they are very, very young saying no to the things they want but don’t need.

I like those videos of the dogs who patiently sit cross-eyed with a piece of sausage on their nose waiting for their master to say the word and then they do a little flip and inhale their valuable treat. Without meaning to offend, that is the kind of discipline our children need. They need to be able to see something they want and to resist the urge to bite until their Master says the word.

So what can you do? Give them milk instead of chocolate milk. Make them eat their vegetables at risk of forfeiting dessert. Make them save for the games and toys they want instead of just buying it for them. Limit how much you spend on presents and special occasions, and explain the budget and rationale for the budget to your kids. When they break something they have loved don’t replace it. Teach them the value of discipline by sticking to bedtime, and quiet time with God, and praying before meals… and GOOD MANNERS while you’re at it!

And for goodness sake, demonstrate some restraint in your own life. Say no to things that you want but don’t need. Even things you can afford! Say no to them to. Simply your life a little bit and tell your kids what you are doing and why.

If we don’t condition our children from a very young age to withstand temptation, by helping them say no and demonstrating the value of saying no, they will be at a disadvantage to say no to the far greater lusts of the flesh later in their lives.

P.S. It’s never to late to start. Don’t worry if your kids are older already and possibly facing the great traps of lust and porn, just start now, where you are, with what you have.

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About the Author
Thom Dick

Thom Dick

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Thom is the Family Pastor at Southland and has worked with children and youth for 15 years. He and his wife, Tara, have 3 kids, 2 boys, and a daughter, as well as several foster children. The kids are spread across 20 years too, so that gives him plenty of experimental material to write about! He's on Instagram as @thomaswdick.


 

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