Helping Your Teen Win The War Against Porn (part 2)
If your teen is into porn, you don’t have time to waste. With every day, every look, and every image, your teen is going deeper and deeper into darkness. The Enemy wants you to hurt. He wants you to feel guilty. He wants you to question how this could have happened to your teen. He will work overtime to convince you that you have failed miserably. He wants to knock you down in the first round so you will crawl back to your corner, give up, and be defeated before you even decide to fight.
But Satan is a liar. Regardless of what has transpired to get you to this point, this battle can be won. Your teen doesn’t have to continue down this dark, degrading path. First John 4:4 (msg) says, “My dear children, you come from God and belong to God. You have already won a big victory over those false teachers, for the Spirit in you is far stronger than anything in the world.” The One in you is greater than the deceiver in this world, and God can bring your son or daughter out of this place of darkness.
I have yet to counsel a teen struggling with porn who desired to continue struggling. Nobody wants to be enslaved to sin and remain on the road to destruction. Yet many who desire to escape from the bondage under which they are living have little knowledge of how to overcome its grip.
If your teen is struggling with porn, he or she will need you to fight alongside him or her. Here are the first five of eight vital steps to help your teen find freedom from the darkness.
1. Get to the facts.
It is essential that you talk with your teen about porn. If you don’t, who will? Many parents talk about porn and sexuality with their teen but do it only indirectly. Don’t dance around the issue. Get right to the point. Be specific. Share with your teen the effects porn will have on his or her life.
Even if you do not suspect your teen to be involved in porn, don’t wait until you do to have such a talk. Remember, if your teen spends time online, then it is inevitable at some point that he or she will be exposed to the raw, filthy, multibillion-dollar-a-year business of porn. If you have caught your teen in the act, at first your teen may deny that the struggle exists or try to minimize its effects on his or her life. It is critical that you explain to your teen that Satan is out to get him or her hooked. What an awesome moment this can be to strengthen your relationship with your teen and help your teen see you as someone who longs to protect him or her from this damaging darkness!
2. Love the teen, hate the sin.
As you implement each of the following steps in your fight to defeat this darkness in his or her life, your teen will need to constantly be reminded that your love has not and will not change. Your teen needs to know that, though you disagree with his or her actions, your ultimate desire is to help your child defeat this addiction and be restored to a pure life. Every day, communicate to your teen that the sin is the thing you hate, not your teen.
3. Realize that a promise isn’t enough.
When a teen has been caught in the act, his or her first response may be to quickly apologize, plead for your forgiveness, and promise to never do it again. And yet, though your teen’s desire to repent may be genuine, it may be only a matter of time before the addiction wins him or her over.
For a teen struggling with porn, a promise to change isn’t enough. Just because he or she is caught, that doesn’t mean the teen will really change. You need to help your teen make the promise a reality.
4. Encourage confession and submission.
Your son or daughter’s involvement in the world of sex, lies, and porn may by a shock to you. But it is not to God. God is aware of every filthy image that has ever been downloaded into your teen’s mind. And the best part is that He still loves your teen and has an incredible plan for his or her life in spite of it!
Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that the Lord has a plan for each of us, a plan to prosper us and to give us hope and a future. The future of this plan often begins with confession (1 John 1:9). Lead your teen through a time of confession with God. Encourage your teen to be honest with God as he or she confesses mistakes and receives God’s forgiveness.
Your teen not only needs your consistent involvement, support, and accountability, but he or she also must be willing to submit future choices, actions, and thoughts to God. This could mean that for a while your teen commits to completely avoiding any access to the computer, Internet, TV, movies, and any form of entertainment that may tempt him or her to check out porn again.
God desires to be in complete control of your teen’s life. This can happen only as your teen chooses to submit to God each day. Temptation will be a daily battle for your teen. And so daily submission to God is the key to winning the battle.
Of course, you also have to take some practical steps to protect your teen from porn.
5. Take inventory and destroy.
Consider the types of media outlets your teen has access to in the home: movies, satellite and cable TV, videos, music, the Internet. Consider what your teen watches and listens to. What influences do these media messages have, or have the potential to have, on your teen?
If you suspect or know that your teen is struggling with porn, remove the source from the home immediately. If this is a computer, it must go. If the source is a TV, it must go. If the source is magazines, they must go. No questions, no rationalizing—whatever it is, it must go!
This sounds strong, but remember, this is war. You cannot expect to defeat the enemy if the enemy still has access to your home. Of course, this purging of your home will not eliminate access to all the porn in the world. But by removing the immediate sources, you will be sending a strong message to your teen that you are prepared to take extreme measures to break the bondage under which he or she is living.
NOTE: I will share the following three points in my next blogpost.