9 Tips to Tell Your Parents About Your Porn Problem

A Hopeful Mom on Her Son’s Porn Addiction and Recovery

I am a mom of four beautiful children. They each have their positive and negative traits. Each has made me laugh and feel pride at their accomplishments, and each has disappointed me and fallen short of my expectations. While I have high hopes for them, I realize they are regular people struggling to make it in the world. They have ups and downs, highs and lows. They have raging hormones and friends who influence them. And it’s my desire, as a parent, to be there for them, to show them love, no matter what.

When I found out my then-14-year-old son had been watching pornography behind my back for years, I felt sick and spent several days trying to comprehend the enormity of the situation. I was in denial, partially because he was my "good" son. He was the one who never lied to me. He was the one who made me laugh and told me secrets. We had lengthy conversations about right and wrong, good and evil. So, I felt confused and betrayed by this difficult news. But I was also thankful for the opportunity to help him.

A New Perspective

As a parent, I was clueless. I had no idea my son’s iPod connected to the internet and he could watch pornography on it. I knew porn existed, but I didn’t know how easily accessible it was—or how curious preteens and teens are. I trusted my son. I taught him right from wrong. He grew up in a Bible-believing home, and I thought that was enough. But I was wrong. 

It’s possible your parent doesn’t understand the prevalence of pornography in today’s society. It’s possible your caregiver hasn’t protected your devices with filters because they don’t know they need to. 

As I researched pornography’s effects, I learned of its pervasiveness. I learned middle schoolers and high schoolers send nudes on a regular basis and believe this is normal and natural. I also learned even though children who struggle with a porn problem feel shame and guilt, they are reluctant to tell their parents because they are afraid to disappoint them. Or they don’t want to get in trouble.

Statistics Don’t Lie

If you are a teen or young adult, chances are you’ve been exposed to pornography, whether you sought it deliberately or stumbled across it accidentally. Some watch once and never go back. But some, like my son, are pulled in time and again, until they are hooked.

If you think about porn often, can’t sleep at night without it, feel shame or guilt because you can’t stop or are hiding your behavior from your parents/caregiver, you may have a problem. Give your parents a chance to help you. Or find a trusted adult to confide in—a friend’s parent, a teacher, a counselor, or a pastor. 

My Experience

I was shocked and dumbfounded when I first learned of my son’s porn habit. But I also listened and told him we were on his side. We did not punish him. Rather, we put boundaries in place to protect him. We added filters and checked in with him regularly. 

Unfortunately, he continued his behavior. Thankfully, my son eventually responded to a presentation at youth group. A youth leader, openly and honestly elaborated about his exposure to pornography and how it affected his life. He described how porn ruined his parents’ marriage and other relationships in the family. David absorbed this information and recognized how his behavior could wreck his future. It was at this point he confessed to us for the second time.

I am thankful our son trusted us and felt comfortable coming to us. As a parent, it was not easy to hear of my son’s transgressions. I wanted to scream and yell, and some parents may. But after the shock wore off, my mama bear instincts kicked in, and I went to work helping my son kick his habit.

We added more filters—to both the Wi-Fi router and each device. We set up parental controls on his device and only allowed electronics in shared spaces. At my son’s request, we put his phone in our master bathroom every night. We also set him up with a program to help him learn more about brain science and its connection to pornography, keep track of his progress, and help him be accountable. 

Our goal was to listen to our son, be available to him, and support him in his endeavors. We did our best not to judge him when he faltered, and we encouraged him when he felt tempted.  His recovery was slow with some stops and starts, but he now walks in freedom from his addiction. That’s my hope for all teens and young adults trapped in the grip of pornography. 

I can’t predict how your parents will respond when you disclose your problem to them. However, the effects of porn addiction are far more destructive than coming clean with your parents or a trusted adult. 

Here are 9 tips for talking with your parents:  

  1. Tell them when they are most receptive. Wait until they are not hungry or tired and tell them in private.
  2. Be truthful. Disclose all pertinent information without going into details. Answer their questions.
  3. Give them space to process. Your parents may not understand why looking at porn is a problem (everyone does it), or they may be shocked their child would even think to look at porn. Whatever reaction you encounter, be patient with them. Let them express their feelings (assuming they aren’t abusive).
  4. Seek forgiveness. Own up to the ways you have hurt them, lied to them, and betrayed their trust.
  5. Ask for help. Most parents want to help their child. If they see your desire to get healthy, they should help you through the process.
  6. Offer advice. I didn’t understand porn’s effects, and I had no idea how to help my son. He knew what he needed better than I did. I listened to his suggestions and implemented his ideas.
  7. Educate. Your parents, like me, may not understand porn’s effects. Point them toward hopefulmom.net for resources, support, and encouragement.
  8. Be patient. Remember, your parents feel betrayed, and it's hard to trust again. It may take time and reassurance on your part. Be patient when they question your actions and motives repeatedly. Be willing to answer them over and over.
  9. Keep them informed. Check-in with them regularly and give them updates on your progress. 
    Over time, my son and I reconciled and restored our relationship. Through baby steps, I learned to trust him again. We are now closer than we’ve ever been. I look up to him as a hero. I respect his determination and perseverance to quit his addiction. And I admire the man he has become. That’s my hope for you.

About the Author: 
Barb Winters lives in FL, is a wife and parent of four children, and loves writing, photography, playing games with her family, and going to the beach. She helps parents of children struggling with pornography. Contact Barb at hopefulmom619@gmail.com or visit her website at Difficult Conversations

Start Your Hope Journey Now!
Step 1:  Choose a topic
Step 2: Explore our resources
Step 3: Chat with a hope coach

More Like This

Subscribe Now

Opt-In for Texts(Required)

We will not share your information and we will only send you stuff that matters!
Quick Links

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Tired of The Problem?  Try the Solution.

Privacy Policy / Terms of Use
© 2022 TheHopeLine, Inc. Registered 501(c)(3). EIN: 20-1198064
© 2021 core.oxyninja.com. Powered by OxyNinja Core
magnifiercrosschevron-down