Continuing the Conversation Blog
How You Can Build a Relationship with Your Son by Talking about Porn
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Sometimes when my kids were small, they would hide from me when they had done something wrong. I’d see them peeking from behind the living room chair long before I saw the traces of chocolate around their lips and the candy wrappers at their toes. Busted—a piece of Easter candy consumed before lunch.
My teenagers hid too, not for sneaking Halloween candy—their offenses are for them to tell. They didn’t hide physically, but emotionally. They’d pull away from relationship. We could be standing next to each other in the same room, but our conversations were like a bad cell phone connection—choppy sentences and one word answers, frustrating, and confusing. I could feel their distance.
When my son first saw a porn magazine during his pre-teen years, he was no exception. He hadn’t gone looking for porn, but stumbled upon it. He and his friends were exploring in the woods and found it in a crudely build fort—a local teenager hangout. And it wasn’t until a younger child, who was a part of the group, got mad at the older kids that we found out. He told his mother. And she told us. My son’s instinct wasn’t to talk with us. It was to hide, to process it alone.
Shame isolates – whether we’ve done something wrong or whether we’ve been exposed to something wrong.
I’ll never forget the evening we stepped into that hard conversation about porn with our son and how difficult it was to convince him that we weren’t mad at him. And I’m sure we didn’t handle it perfectly. We just wanted him to talk with us, tell us what happened.
I’ll also never forget when my son finally felt safe and spoke.
He burst into tears. “You have no idea what I saw.”
And our hearts, not just our eyes, wept with him. Because we didn’t need to see exactly what he saw to know what he saw. As I mentioned in week 2 of this series, I remember my first exposure to porn. My husband remembers his. And we had no intention of talking to our parents about it.
So where does that leave us as parents? Because porn isn’t going to go away and perpetrators aren’t going to stop using porn to groom boys.
I think it leaves us with choices. A choice to ignore or engage. A choice to speak or be silent.
It also leaves us with opportunities. An opportunity to process pornography with our sons (and daughters) or leave them alone in it. An opportunity for relationship regarding this issue or a choice for isolation.
Because words left unspoken can create distance and produce obstacles in relationships that can become harder to remove with time. And each smaller, awkward conversation can keep the cracks in our relationships with our children from becoming chasms.
And as we said the first week of this blog series —we believe it’s got to be lousy to be a kid and see pornography and not know what to do, and, more importantly, who to talk to.
Carolyn Byers Ruch is the founder of Rise and Shine Movement and author of the children’s books, Ana’s Song 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...
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
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
Why Should I Talk To My Kids About Porn?
Friday, January 22, 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
How Moms Can Make A Difference
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
What If Conversation Starters
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