Guidance for Parents

We must provide PREVENTIONPROTECTION, and a PLAN to help our teens overcome the plague of pornography

  • Become aware of the reality of the plague of pornography. We can’t afford to be naïve or in denial. The pervasiveness of this issue is alarming—but confronting the reality of it allows us to effectively help our children. We shouldn’t fall for the belief of “my kid would never do that”. The plague of pornography and sexual misbehavior is affecting GOOD kids—and it’s affecting MOST kids, to one degree or another. Parents must realize that the harm of pornography is not only in the moments of viewing it, but in the many moments afterwards (hours, days, weeks, and months afterwards) when images and lust replay over in the mind. Pornography use has long-term effects on our children’s attitudes, emotions, beliefs, actions, and thought patterns.

  • Realize that this plague is entrapping young men and young women. This is not just a “boy problem”. Both young men and young women usually have deep shame about this issue, which often causes them to hide it at all costs. We need to realize that we might not be able to detect it easily. We must be aware that they might not be fully honest with us about the extent of their pornography use.

  • Have ongoing and open conversations about this topic with your children. Regular talks and check-ins are crucial. The more we talk with them in loving and realistic ways, the better chance they will confide and trust in us to help them.

  • Be calm and show understanding when your child’s problem comes to light. If we shame, get angry, or show extreme emotional reactions, it will cause them to not confide in us. Be encouraging and loving but at the same time firm with boundaries, rules, and protection. We must teach them the truth about the serious and harmful consequences of their behavior without shaming them.

  • Don’t assume your child can “just stop” viewing pornography without a plan. Telling our kids “just don’t watch it anymore” or “just pray and read your scriptures more” is not effective, realistic, nor fair to them. They need a firm, detailed plan of action that guides them to change not only their behaviors but also their thoughts. The Hope for Latter-day Saint Teens workbook is one such resource that contains a take-action spiritual plan.

  • Create and implement boundaries and consequences with the right motivation. The right motivations for creating boundaries and consequences are safety, prevention, protection, and peace. Our motivation should not be to punish our children or to show anger. Implementing firm but loving consequences helps teach our children what is inappropriate and unhealthy. It teaches them the importance of obeying God’s ways versus giving in to Satan’s ways.

  • Refrain from rescuing your children from the consequences of their actions. Experiencing consequences is an important way that children learn and grow. We must resist the urge to “save” them from the difficult effects of their choices. If we save them from consequences, we deter their spiritual and emotional responsibility and progress.

  • Be very careful with all types of media. We must analyze the safety and cleanliness of the content that is being viewed on our TVs, computers, music, tablets, magazines, books, and phones. Media is often triggering for teens, whether they admit it or not. As parents we must remove our own desensitization so we are better able to protect our children within the walls of our own homes.

  • Implement rules and protection for all devices. Helping our children not use devices behind closed doors or in private is an important rule that will greatly help with prevention. Installing a protection program on devices is also an effective tool. We must become aware of the apps and the specific ways our children access pornography—then we must take action to either delete the triggering apps or set up strong restrictions on them. At first, our children might be upset about our new restrictions. But over time their thinking will clear, and they will feel grateful that we care enough to protect them from Satan’s traps.

  • Help your children learn that God, Christ, and the Atonement should be the foundation of their healing. It is essential that our children learn to access the power of the Atonement. They must learn to rely on God and Christ and to trust in Them. Sharing our testimonies and own experiences of the Savior’s healing power will have a great impact on our children.

  • Understand that full recovery and healing takes time. It takes consistency, commitment, and some sacrifice. One month—or even a few months—of not viewing pornography does not necessarily mean that our children’s brains and hearts are recovered. Parents must understand that lust in the mind and in the desires of the heart is the root of the issue. Inward thoughts, beliefs, and patterns must change in order to have lasting, real change in outward behavior. Finding recovery isn’t enough—our children must learn how to stay in recovery.

  • Help your children understand the importance of proper confession. Teach them that talking to a bishop is not a punishment—it is a blessing and gift that brings relief, peace, support, guidance, and complete repentance.

  • Help your child to receive support from others. Our children cannot fully recover in secret on their own without any outside help. Safe and appropriate support is essential. Help them to receive support from: parent(s), a bishop, church leaders, therapists/counselors, mature siblings, and supportive relatives or friends.

  • Recommended support groups/programs for teens:  “Daughters of Light” group and “Sons of Helaman” group at lifechangingservices.org  /  joinfortify.com (by Fight the New Drug)

  • Recommended reading/listening for parents:  Let’s Talk About the Elephant in the Room: How LDS Women Can Protect Families from Pornography (Audio CD) by Dr. Jill Manning / It Starts With Us by Joy D. Jones, 2018 Keynote Address for Utah Coalition Against Pornography Conference / He Restoreth My Soul by Dr. Donald Hilton  / Overcoming Pandemics and Pornography by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, 2020 Keynote Address for Utah Coalition Against Pornography Rally 

  • Recommended support meetings/groups for parents: “Mothers Who Know” group at lifechangingservices.org / LDS Family Support Meetings found at addictionrecovery.churchofjesuschrist.org 

  • Recommended websites: protectyoungminds.org / parentguidance.org /  utahcoalition.org / churchofjesuschrist.org :  “Living Life” then “Life Help”

Parents & Teens: 
Listen!

5 min. audio of a young woman's story of healing from the trap of pornography

Disclaimer: The content of this website and the views expressed herein are the opinions of Destroy the Plague, and should not be construed as professional advice. 

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