Helping Your Teen Win The War Against Porn (part 3)
NOTE: If you’ve missed Helping Your Teen Win The War Against Porn (part 1 & 2), I hope you’ll read each before reading this post.
6. Develop a strategy for the future.
It is unrealistic to think that just because you remove sources of temptation from the home your teen will never again be tempted to use porn. So it’s important for you to develop a strategy for your teen, while both inside and outside the home, to help him or her avoid repeating an addictive behavior.
Because each teen’s situation, lifestyle, and personality is unique, there is no one strategy that you must follow. I recommend that you take some time with your spouse (if married) and outline a game plan before discussing this with your teen.
That game plan should include, but is not limited to, a strategy of the following:
Establishing a routine schedule. Your teen needs to see the importance of a disciplined, routine schedule. The key here is not to isolate your teen from his daily activities, hobbies, and interests completely. But setting boundaries on what he or she can and cannot do will help your teen develop a greater sense of security. Work to help your teen’s schedule stay full enough so that his mind remains occupied. Chores, sports, a part-time job, volunteering, and more may be necessary steps.
Approving friendships. One teen told me that his mom and dad found out he was checking out porn at home, so they removed the computer from his room. Then he started checking it out at his best friend’s house.
Remember, your teen’s friends play a huge role in his or her decision making. Choosing friends who are in line with God’s will for your teen’s life is a critical step to overcoming the temptations to check out porn. First Corinthians 15:33 says, “Bad company corrupts good character.” It is essential that your teen choose friends that push him or her toward God rather than ones that pull him or her away. Let your teen know that you will have debriefings about who your teen’s friends are and where he or she spends time.
Killing the lies. Satan often wins the war over porn when he wins the war in your teen’s mind. Communicate to your teen that Satan will work to sell him or her such lies as these:
- “What’s the big deal? It’s just a naked picture. Besides, looking at porn is lot better than sleeping with someone.”
- “I’m so good in every other area of life. This is just my one issue.”
- “No one is going to know. And what harm will really come from it?”
- “I deserve this. I’ve had a really tough week.”
Communicating with your teen. If your teen has been checking out porn for some time, then it is highly possible that he or she will experience setbacks. The evil forces will pull out all their weapons to try to drive harmful desires deeper into your teen’s mind. The best way to control these moments is to have consistent times of communication with your teen. Regularly ask questions such as these:
- “How are you feeling about your struggle?”
- “Have you had any setbacks?”
- “What’s going on in your head?”
Let your teen see that you are serious about fighting with him or her against the Enemy in this area, no matter how long it takes.
Establishing goals. Develop a set of goals your teen strives to achieve. As he or she proves trustworthy, the teen will then be granted more freedom. Use this as an encouragement to help your teen see progress.
7. Get your teen in the Word.
A key to killing the addiction to porn in the heart and mind of your teen rests in the teen’s own commitment to consistently spend time in God’s Word.
Help your teen find Scripture verses to memorize, carry in his or her wallet, or hang on a mirror or locker that will help your teen in a crisis moment. Relying on Scripture when faced with a temptation is exactly what Jesus did when He was tempted (Matthew 4).
Continually encourage your teen to spend time with God, praying and reading the Bible.
8. Pray like crazy.
The greatest strategy that you can implement to protect your teen from Satan’s lies with pornography (and everything else the Enemy throws at him or her) is prayer.
Prayer is your source of strength when the fight takes you into the eleventh round. Prayer is your greatest weapon against Satan’s ploys to get your teen to take a bite of the forbidden fruit. Prayer is the greatest “kaboom” you have against the Enemy.
Applying these eight strategies may not be comfortable for either you or your teen. But this battle is not about comfort. It’s about fighting an enemy whose goal is to steal, kill, and destroy. The fight isn’t always easy. But God is on your side. You are never fighting alone!