You cannot be on guard 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Your children will be exposed to things that horrify you…probably not on your watch, but maybe. They may play games in your house that are not OK and you didn’t stop them because you didn’t know. They may try things that make your stomach hurl…things you warned them about even. Occasionally, they may let you down. (But more likely, they will let you down often.) This week alone, three parents contacted me feeling shame that their kids saw pornography. I have some simple advice: Stop It! Seriously, stop feeling shame about things that are out of your control. I know it isn’t easy and we feel guilty when we can’t protect our kids all the time. Of course, the statistics are not in our favor. One in three girls is sexually molested before 18. YUCK! 72% of males, not practicing Christians, are checking out porn monthly ages 13-24. Gross! 41% of males, practicing Christians are monthly checking out porn ages 13-24. This should not be! Thankfully, 25 years and up, the statistics get better. Whew! But our teens need guidance and our littles need warning. Did you know that 56% of kids (ages 13-24) think that people who don’t recycle are sinning while only 32% think that looking at pornography is wrong. WHAT?? The sexual exploitation of women ranks lower than trash! No wonder our world is in trouble. SO, rather than feel shame and guilt, armor your kids. Today we sat in a coffee shop as a family and discussed the moral foundation of our family so that WHEN our kids come up against the ugly world we live in, they have a standard of measure. (Contact me if you are more interested in our discussion and I will send you some tips.) We are not perfect parents but we understand that in this world, the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but we know where Life comes from and we believe in teaching our kids truth. Our ultimate source of truth comes from the Scripture not society or culture. Where does your source of truth come from? Remember, if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.
When your kid gets exposed to pornography accidentally or by someone else, your conversation may go something like this: Mom is so sorry that you had to see those pictures. It is not your fault that you had to see them. I wish I could have protected you from them. Let’s talk about how you feel and what to do in case it happens again. (Teach your kids to walk away; bounce their eyes.)
When my daughter was a toddler she crawled up the stairs and accidentally got her leg stuck between the railings. Then she lost her balance. She fell down the stairs, breaking her tibia and her fibula. My husband was mortified because he turned his back for a split second and it happened. Surprisingly, this sort of fracture is quite common, but it didn’t lessen the sting my husband felt in his heart for her. Night after night, he slept on the floor next to her crib in case she awoke in pain. He felt responsible. He felt negligent. His heart was broken. And yet, it was an accident. When something happens to your child that is out of your control, stop attacking, criticizing or shaming yourself. Instead, get up, dust off your boots and get back on the bull of parenting. Abraham Lincoln said it best, “It’s not the years you live, but the life in your years.” Don’t waste time and years shaming yourself. Because when it’s all said and done, the ride will only feel like 8 seconds!
TIP: Practice no shame parenting. Don’t blink, because kids will be gone before you know it.
Note: Statistics are from the Barna Report, produced in partnership with Josh McDowell Ministry, a Cru ministry.
Posted by AMY in Sex Education, Pornography, Abstinence.