Continuing the Conversation Blog
Why Should I Talk To My Kids About Porn?
Friday, January 22, 2016
“When should I read your book to my son? He’s eight,” the mama asked. Then she leaned in, “You know, the part about the pornography?”
It was and is a good question, from a wise and concerned mama, and one that I expected when I wrote Bobby Gilliam, Brave and Strong. I’m glad she asked. I understood her fear.
Will telling my child that pornography exists take away his innocence?
I didn’t plan to introduce the concept of pornography in Bobby Gilliam, but my understanding of sexual abuse demanded it. I couldn’t ignore the voices of so many male survivors who shared that their perpetrators used pornography (visual sexual abuse) to groom them for physical sexual abuse.
I know the word pornography is loaded. And for most adults, it conjures up all sorts of memories and images in our minds. We’ve lived many years. We’ve seen many images. We are jaded. Our children aren’t.
But they will be. One day the images they see and their hormones will collide. And that’s hard for a mama or daddy to think about. We want to believe that sweet baby of ours will never be curious, never see porn, and for heaven sakes, never, ever lust. Right?
If our children have eyes, a brain, live in our culture, and have pituitary glands, our illusions of Neverland are just that--illusions.
I know this because I lived there once. I was going to make sure my kids didn’t see the stuff, want to see the stuff, and lust, oh my, that surely wouldn’t happen until they were adults.
I was wrong. And my husband and I had to decide if we were going to let them navigate the road of inappropriate images alone or with support. Knowing isolation breeds shame, we chose to leave Neverland behind. We knew we had to build a bridge of communication with them regarding pornography, as well as sexual abuse.
That was over twenty years ago.
Fast forward. 2016.
We have a new set of kids. Our older four (our Guinea pigs), now adults, are in their twenties. With more than a decade between our firstborn, in our first set of kids, and our firstborn, in our last set, times and technology have changed. And we’ve been given no choice but to step up our conversations and ignore the enticement of Neverland.
Because our children don’t have to look for inappropriate images or stumble upon them, it’s in their faces.
And we have to decide:
Are we going to wait until they see inappropriate images, or tell them that pornography exists?
Do we want them to know what they should do when they see it?
Do we want them to know they can talk to us about it?
Do we want to take the opportunity to instill our values, or leave them alone, or with another child, to discern what is healthy and what is not?
Because Neverland doesn’t exist.
I can’t tell you exactly when your child is ready for you to build the bridge of communication regarding sexual abuse and porn. I can tell you that the average age for molestation is seven and the average age a child sees inappropriate images is the last time you took them to the grocery store.
Knowledge and healthy communication do not destroy innocence. But sexual abuse and images left to be processed in secret and shame will. (click HERE to tweet this)
Learn more about our children’s book,
A Tool for the Prevention of Childhood Sexual Abuse.
A video version of the story will be available to view for free
on our website this Fall 2016!
Carolyn Byers Ruch is the founder of Rise and Shine Movement and author of the children’s books, Ana’s Song (Rise And Shine) and Bobby Gilliam Brave and Strong, both tools for the prevention of childhood sexual abuse. She has spent the past ten years championing the issue of childhood sexual abuse and has received training certificates from some of the leading organizations dedicated to protecting children. A former teacher and mother of seven, her life has been enriched through adoption and foster care.
Would your child keep a
secret from you?
Get our FREE video:
What If? Conversation Starters
or never miss a post!
We're moms, just like you, who want to help parents protect their kids from childhood sexual abuse.
You may also like...
When Your Nothing Is Everything
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Children Know the World Is...
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
“Kissing Cousins:" What Mr. Rogers and Daniel Tiger Taught About Sexual Abuse Prevention
Wednesday, February 5, 2020
So, What About Sleepovers?
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
How to Teach Our Children about Sex While We Are Still Their Heroes
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
How to Protect Our Special Needs Children from Sexual Abuse
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
What If My Child Won’t Talk to Me?
Saturday, June 23, 2018
THANK YOU for donating to Rise and Shine Movement's 5th Annual Stuffed Animal Drive
Thursday, May 24, 2018
One Essential Parenting Decision You Will Never Regret
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Rise and Shine Movement's 5th Annual Stuffed Animal Drive
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Processing the Larry Nassar Childhood Sexual Abuse Case
Thursday, January 25, 2018
Confident Parenting In A "Me, Too" World
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Are You and Your Children Free To Be?
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Three Questions Matt Lauer Should Ask His Children
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
When You Catch Your Child “Playing Doctor”
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Blush-free Family Movie Nights
Friday, July 14, 2017
How You Can Build a Relationship with Your Son by Talking about Porn
Thursday, April 27, 2017
The Day an Innocent Search Turned Up an Image My Son Can’t Erase: 5 Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe
Thursday, April 20, 2017
How to Speak about Porn and Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Child
Thursday, April 13, 2017
How You Can Help Protect Your Son's Innocence By Talking About Pornography
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Will Your Son Know What To Do When Someone Shows Him Porn?
Friday, March 31, 2017
Do Your Children Love Our Stories?
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Why It’s Good for Your Child to Hurt: A Lesson from a Sexual Abuse Survivor
Saturday, January 7, 2017
A New Website, A New Video -- Our gifts to you!
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Two Fearless Questions to Ask Your Child After a Playdate
Thursday, June 23, 2016
4 Things Perpetrators Don't Want Fathers to Know
Monday, June 13, 2016
April Awareness Month Wrap Up
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
2016 Stuffed Animal Drive Underway!
Thursday, March 31, 2016
The Winner Is (Our Bobby Gilliam Book Giveaway)
Monday, February 1, 2016
It's a Bobby Gilliam Book Giveaway!
Monday, January 25, 2016
Prevention Strategies Around the Holidays
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Your Best Defense Against Childhood Sexual Abuse
Friday, September 18, 2015
Could Josh Duggar Be Your Son? Four Things You Need to Know
Friday, May 22, 2015
Measuring Success for CSA Awareness
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Is Your Child's Summer Camp Safe? Three Questions You Should Ask
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
What If Question Four
Monday, April 27, 2015
Bear Drive Huge Success in 2014
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
What If Question Three
Monday, April 20, 2015
What If Question Two
Monday, April 13, 2015
Protecting Our Kids from Sexual Abuse
Thursday, April 9, 2015
What If Question One
Monday, April 6, 2015
What If Conversation Starters
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
How Moms Can Make A Difference
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Children Don't Tell Because They Protect
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Children Don't Tell Because They Trust
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Children Don't Tell Because They Love
Monday, September 29, 2014
When a Story and a Calling Converge
Thursday, September 25, 2014