Talking Porn in the Car…

We are in thclipart-heart-clip_art_illustration_of_a_red_heart_with_a_white_swirl_0071-0904-2000-1163_SMUe car a lot these days traveling here and there to sports activities.  Talking with your kids in a car is the bomb!  They can’t go anywhere! So turn off devices, the in-car movie system, and the radio and get talking to your kids. Since you can’t have direct eye contact with your kids, it’s a great opportunity to talk about uncomfortable subjects like pornography or even their changing bodies and here is how you bring it up: Billboards. There are loads of racy billboards out there so use one to jump start the conversation.  Especially with daughters, get them thinking about the way they dress.  “Why do you think dressing provocatively can be dangerous?”  It’s crucial that you talk about sexual exploitation with your daughter and what that means.  Because of TV, movies, concerts, etc…girls fashion trends are less and less modest these days.   Many well-meaning mothers have been caught off guard by the gradual and progressive downturn of culture. (1) We become desensitized to what our girls are wearing and this begins to eliminate the shock factor. Let me give you an example: When the TV show Dancing With the Stars first aired, the costumes were fairly modest, but now several years into the show, the costumes are very racy.  The more you watch the show, the less you notice how racy the costumes become.  We become desensitized.  The same goes for foul language.  If you are not used to hearing it, then you really notice it in a movie, but if you always watch shows with rank language, then you stop hearing the cussing altogether.  Take opportunities to have these conversations especially with your girls.  Don’t make modestly about rules; make it about logic.  “Why would an advertisement use a beautiful model to sell a car?” Dialogue about why big chested girls are used to sell food?” (Because sex sells, but explain why to her.)  Your daughter’s body is a beautiful creation.  Give her loads and loads of confidence so that she learns to show off her heart and mind and not her body.

TIP: Talk, Talk, Talk, to your kids in the car!! Dialogue about the shock factor.

(1) Quote from the book Your Girl, by Vicki Courtney

Posted by Amy in Sex Education and Pornography

 

 

 

Good Pictures, Bad Pictures…Moms Talk Porn

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One of the best resources I have found to teach your kids about the dangers of pornography is

the book Good Pictures Bad Pictures, by Kristen A. Jenson M.A.   You read the book with your kiddos when they are between 6-8 yrs. and then continue to pull it out regularly. Shocking, that we have to start that young but that’s the reality. Most kids are exposed between 8-11 years old.  I taught my kids to look both ways when they cross the street.  I did not wait until they were hit by a car to teach them that rule.  I was pro-active.  Teach your kids about porn before they get exposed so that they know what to do when they do get exposed.  You can link to Good Pictures, Bad Pictures off my print resource page.

In a nutshell, the book explains how human beings have two parts of their brain: a feeling part and a thinking part.   The feeling part includes our emotions like anger, happiness; but it’s also the part of our brain that tells us when we feel hungry, thirsty, tired, sleepy, full, etc.  The feeling part of our brain tells us to eat more cake and ice cream even when we have had enough.  It might tell us to take out revenge on our little brother or eat all of our Halloween candy in one day.  Our feeling brain rewards us by releasing chemicals that make us feel good.  When we see a bad picture, like pornography, it can make our feeling brain feel even better by releasing chemicals (mostly dopamine). This can happen with other addictions too like food, alcohol, smoking, but especially pornography.  Pornography “feeds” the feeling part of our brains and can actually alter how chemicals are released.  The thinking part of our brain is the part which has logic, self control, the ability to memorize and learn facts, and discernment just to name a few.  The thinking part of our brains must overcome the feeling part.  For example, the feeling part might say, “Eat more cake and ice cream.” But the thinking part must be logical and say, “No, you already had two servings; push away from the table.”  The feeling part of your brain might say, “Hit your little brother since he hit you first.” The thinking part must take charge and admonish, “No, you are older, wiser and have self-control. Walk away.”  The feeling part might say, “Look at these pictures of people who are naked.” The thinking part must reprove, “No, these pictures are not edifying, bounce your eyes, close the device, and walk away.”  You get the picture (no pun intended).   Teach your kids that their thinking brain must learn to be in-charge of their feeling brain because there will be loads of times when we don’t feel like doing things (like chores, dishes, laundry) and times when we feel like doing something that we shouldn’t do.  Speaking of dishes, laundry, and chores…time to get my thinking brain in gear!  Grab a copy of the book. Better yet, grab a few and give them away as gifts!

Posted by Amy in Pornography

Moms Talk Porn…

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Maybe the idea of talking about pornography frightens the heebie jeebies right out of you!  Perhaps pornography hits too close to home.  Before I spend some time talking about how to teach your kids the dangers of pornography, I want to help moms work through some possible porn issues.  Tragically, porn affects women too.  Some struggle personally with the temptation of porn while others have been horrifically betrayed by a husband’s or loved one’s addiction to porn.  There are loads of resources out there to help.  On this blog, go to the resource tab and hover over resource websites or print websites for more options.  I had the privilege of meeting Jessica Harris, a woman who has been redeemed from her struggle with pornography.  You can find her at beggarsdaughter.com.  She has a ministry dedicated to women who have an addiction to pornography.  Her testimony is one of grace and mercy and I saw firsthand those qualities overflow from her in a conversation we had.  The female struggle is real.  Here are some stats:

  • 36% of females non practicing Christians struggle with porn age 13-24
  • 17% of females non practicing Christians struggle with porn age 25+
  • 13% of females practicing Christians struggle with porn age 13-24
  • 5% of females practicing Christians struggle with porn age 25+

Jessica has a book called Beggars Daughter, definitely worth the read especially if you have struggles with pornography.  Her fantastic sense of humor shows through its pages.

It’s time to get real.  What are the last two letters in the word SHAME??  M-E.  It’s time to take “me” out of shame.  The most common verse we know in the Bible is John 3:16, but I just love the verse that comes after it. ”For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”  Get some help if you have a porn problem.  Be brave. You can do it.  I believe in you. In fact, I will cheer you on from the sideline and pray over you and with you.  There is no shame with God. None.  No condemnation either.  Just grace, forgiveness, and mercy and all you have to do is ask for it. Jessica says that there are no statistics with God. “Simply: All, None, Anyone.”

I love that.  We are ALL messed up. None can do it alone and Anyone can be healed. Be sure to visit beggarsdaughter.com.

TIP: If you have a porn addiction, there is hope and healing waiting for you.  Take the first step and ask for help.

Posted by Amy in Pornography

**Stats are from The Porn Phenomenon,  A Barna Report Produced in Partnership with Josh McDowell Ministry (a Cru Ministry)

 

NO, You may Not Play on my Phone and Here is Why….

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Here is a sample conversation you can have with your kids regarding cell phones/devices…”I don’t want you developing a habit thinking that my phone or your phone needs to be your entertainment or satisfy your boredom. There are a lot of people who are very distracted by their phones, Mommy included, but it is time that we think about other things to entertain us rather than a phone or device. Someday you will drive and I don’t want you to learn how not to be distracted by your phone.  Phones also have access to lots of pictures and information that your brain and eyes are not ready to be exposed to yet.   In fact, some of the pictures and information that can be accessed on a device can actually be harmful to your brain. Mom needs to teach you how to ‘bounce your eyes’ so that when you see something inappropriate or harmful to your brain and eyes, on a device, you quickly look away. For these reasons, we are taking a break from our devices.  I am going to remind you of this conversation every time you ask to play on my phone.”

I am getting responses left and right from readers whose kids are being exposed to pornography on devices, not just still pictures but videos of people having sex.  Kids are showing other kids at school, on play dates, even at the park.  You may be able to police them at home, but we are not with our kids 24/7 so teach them how to “bounce their eyes”, walk away, and then tell you about it later. If they are exposed by someone else, say to them, “I am sorry you were shown that. It is not your fault.  You should have not been exposed.”  Pray over their minds.   If your child hunts out the porn himself, that is a different conversation and I will address that in later posts.

It took 75 years for the television to reach 50 million users. It took Facebook 3.5  years to have 50 million users.  It took Angry Birds 35 days to have 50 million users.  (rtribe.org)  Approximately 4,000 videos of porn cross the internet every  second .  100 million pages of porn are viewed every 24 hours! (#Set Free Summit)  Just some food for thought….

TIP: Teach your kids to “bounce their eyes.”

Posted by Amy in Pornography

 

Does Dad Have Sperm?

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My son asked me that question out of the blue while he was throwing a ball against the wall in our house.   Now I am totally comfortable talking about this sort of thing, but just because I am doesn’t mean we talk about it all the time, every day.  I said to my son, “Do you mean does dad have sperm right now?” He replied,”yes.”  Just then, the dog went crazy barking at a squirrel which distracted my son so I thought I was off the hook.  I am so glad that my boy is comfortable talking to me about sperm. Really I am.  We want to build relationships with our kids when they are little and weave these sexuality talks into normal life so that when they begin to have questions, they see mom and dad as experts and seek our advice over friends’. A few hours later, he brought it up in the car again.  This time my hubs was in the car too.  Brad said, “Once you get older, your testicles will make sperm all the time.” I was ready to dole out some more info but again my son was distracted by something out the window and the conversation was over.  If you can, answer your kids questions right when they ask them in simple, truthful, correct terms. What they need to catch, they will catch and the rest will go over their heads .We have some big conversations with our kids down the road like sex, pornography, homosexuality, gender diversity.  You have to lay the foundation so you can have these later conversations with your kids. Get comfortable talking about sperm!

TIP: Your kids need to see mom and dad as the experts in sexuality conversations. (If you are a single mom with an un-involved dad, then your kids need to see you as the expert!)  If the blind lead the blind, they will fall into a ditch.  The same goes with ignorant kids talking to ignorant kids about sexuality.

Posted by Amy in Sex Education

Mom, Can I Play on Your Cell Phone??

Soccer kids texting

Soccer kids texting

You sick of hearing that?? Yeah, me too.  So I am doing something about it and for some really good reasons and logic. The largest group of pornography users are kids between ages 13-24.  (74% non practicing Christian males, and 41% practicing Christian males,)  That is a whole lot of young people using pornography. Do you know the average age kids are exposed? Between 8-11 years old! They aren’t looking at it on computers either…kids discover porn generally accidentally, on phones, tablets, kindles, IPads and other small devices.   If you are guilty like me, you give your phone to your kids when they need a distraction and you need a break. We give our phones to our kids when we are at an appointment and they are bored and are annoying us.  Consider this: Every time we hand our kids our phones/devices when they need a distraction or when they are bored, we are essentially training them to use a device to satisfy boredom, curiosity, distractions.  But here is some logic to consider….When/Why do you check Facebook?   I usually check it in the morning when I am drinking my coffee or on the can or at night when I need some downtime or during the day when I am bored or just plain curious about the social media world.  Know when people go looking for porn? When they are bored, curious, need some down time or need a distraction or outlet from life.   See the connection yet? We don’t want to train our kids to think that a device is a healthy way to settle boredom, distraction, curiosity especially when 4,000 porn images move through the internet every second.  So the next time your kid asks to play on your phone, tell him what your mom told you, “Go outside and play!”

TIP: Start training your kids that devices are not used to entertain us every time we are bored, tired, curious, or need a distraction.

*Statistics are from The Porn Phenomenon, Barna Group.

Posted by Amy in Pornography, Sex Education

Pools, Parks, and Predators

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It is important to rehearse predator situations with your kiddos.  Here is one my sister rehearsed with my nephews when they were young:  “If someone brings a puppy to the park and lets you pet it and then they tell you that they have more puppies in their car and to follow them to their car, would you go?”  My nephew answered, “Well, maybe just for a little bit but then I would come right back.”  WRONG!  I tried a similar scenario with my son: “If someone at a park or at Water World offered you a piece of candy and then told you that they had more candy in their car for you, would you go with them?” My son answered, “Maybe I would go, but just for a few pieces like one or two.”    My son totally missed the boat!  He thought the trick was the amount of candy, never getting that the person might swipe him from the park!!  Before you head out to the park or public pool or even on an airplane, be sure to cover bathroom situations too, especially now that anyone can use any bathroom.  (We will talk more about that in later posts.)  Protectyoungminds.org is a fabulous website that goes through several scenarios that you can discuss with your kids.  You need to go over these scenarios with your middle school kids for certain.  The author of the article, Kimberly King discusses 3 big red flags and gives examples of each.  You need to visit the site for yourself but here is a quick recap….#1 Bribes: “If you show me your private parts, I will give you money.”  #2 Threats: “If you tell, nobody will believe you.” #3 Normalizing Abuse: “It’s just a game that feels good.” Or “All the cool kids do this. It’s no big deal.”   A friend of mine was coming out our local King Soopers grocery store when a stranger approached her kids and tried to convince them to go with him to see a goose sitting on the road. She nearly opened a can of you know what on him.   Make sure you have a plan in place which is especially important when you have a several little duckies in tow and you don’t have a hand for each kid. Strangers tend to approach a mom with several kids where one might have fallen behind. Have conversations with your kids about predators.  Use every opportunity.

TIP:  Practice scenarios with your kids. Warn your kids of creepy men who might try to show them a goose on the road!  Visit protectyoungminds.org !  (They are same authors of the book Good Pictures Bad Pictures, a book on teaching your kids about pornography which we will cover the end of the month on the blog.)

By Amy, Posted in Sex Education

More on Predation..

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Discuss sexual predators often.  Every month or so, casually ask, “Remember when we talked about how no one is supposed to touch you on parts that are covered up by your swimsuit? Has anyone touched you there?” Play it cool.  They will likely say, “Nope, Mom” and move right along. A natural time for this is at bath/shower time.  My kids are 11 and 8.  I still pop into the bathroom randomly and just ask the question.  I try to make it funny and comfortable with my 11 year old daughter.  “Hey girl, since you are nude right now, I just want to remind you that private parts are private and off limits to everyone.  Has anyone approached you?”  She is behind the shower curtain and always pops her head out with a “Seriously, Mom, you are going to ask me right now?!” Unashamed, I relentlessly say, “Of course!”  I have also been known to randomly bring up menstruation in the tampon isle at Costco.  Weave all of these conversations into your daily life.  Revisit all boundaries before sleepovers or even before staying with family.   We didn’t do very many sleepovers but when we had friends keep our kids so my husband and I could do special occasion overnights, we continually told our kids that only the mom in the house can help you in the bathroom.  Most of your friends are safe, but kids think that anyone who knows them by name must be safe.  Predators know your kids by name too. Our pediatrician frequently reminds our kids even before he “doctors” them, that no one touches them, even the doctor, without Mom or Dad in the room.  Sexual predators prey on the ignorant so continue to teach your kiddos the correct scientific names of their special private parts.  Most importantly, remind them over and over, to tell you if somebody does touch them and that they won’t be in trouble for telling.  You will be proud of them for telling you.  My husband says, “And Daddy will help that person understand that touching you was wrong.”

TIP-Discuss sexual predators every month or so. Remind your kids to tell you if they are touched inappropriately.

Swimsuits and Predation

Swimsuit Kids

Yup.  Swimsuits and predation in the same sentence.  Why? Because when your kiddos stick on their swimsuits, that is a perfect opportunity to remind them that nobody touches the body parts that their swimsuits cover.The Swimsuit Lesson is a fabulous book written by a Colorado police officer, Jon Holsten about sexual abuse on children.  In short, a mom calls her kids in for a lemonade break on a day when they are playing in the sprinklers. She explains to the kiddos that no one is allowed to touch them anywhere their swim suit covers their bodies.  With colorful water-color painted pictures, the mama guides her kids in conversation about perpetrators.  I highly recommend this book.  Grab one off Amazon. You can link to it off my resource page, or click the title above.  We teach our kids about holding hands across streets, but do you talk to them about sex offenders?  Remember,  1 in 3 girls is sexually abused before age 18. My children and your children are not immune. Perversion doesn’t lack creativity and the only person who benefits from ignorance is the perpetrator. Unfortunately the person most likely to abuse your child is someone you know because the perp is looking for children who will trust them and most kids are taught not to talk to strangers.  It is imperative that you are alert to your child’s relationships.  The back of the book has a parent’s guide to talking to your kids.  Please don’t be out of touch.  Our world is broken.  We don’t want your child to be another travesty.

TIP:  No one should touch boys or girls on parts of their body where their swim suit covers. Teach this to your kids. Often.