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Posted by on Dec 31, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Who Can I Go to for Help with My Child’s Porn Problem?

This month, we’re talking about how to help parents talk to their kids about porn. Today’s question is, “Who can I go to for help with my child who might be looking at porn?”

As parents, and perhaps especially as Christian parents, we want to pretend that we have it all together. We might not go looking for help because it might mean being honest about what’s really going on.

So you’ve got to get over that first.

If it’s any consolation, I guarantee you that there are other parents asking the same questions that you are. The problem is, we’re just not talking about it.

Once, at my son’s soccer game, a mom asked me, “How do I check to see if there are nude photos on a DM?” So, I went through what felt like a whole lesson, and these moms started talking about their concerns and how they were (or weren’t) dealing with them. They were actually talking about it and learning from one another.

If your kids are just going through life unchecked – if no one’s ever going to ask – then no one’s ever going to look at their phones. Left to their own devices, our kids simply aren’t going to make the best decisions (after all… did you?).

As a parent, I would implore you to get as comfortable as you can with your children so you can talk to them about it.

Don’t shame them.

Don’t threaten them or take their stuff away. If you do that then they won’t open up.

Your kids are learning – just like all of us – and grace goes a long way. Even if there is a problem, the scriptures say that “it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.” So, show them His kindness.

Also, as a parent, you really need some other parents in your life. When you go out with your friends, try to talk about something more than football and shopping. Ask questions – real questions.

“Hey, have you found porn on your kid’s phone? Hey, are people sending your daughter dink pics yet?”

Have real conversations with your friends. They don’t need to be “off limits.” This whole, weird aura of unapproachable subjects related to sex and pornography doesn’t have to be so weird.

Find out what they’re doing and what they’re not doing, and use what you learn to begin implementing some “best practices” of your own. And whatever you do: don’t do nothing. The worst thing that you can do is nothing.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS PODCAST EPISODE

  • As parents, and perhaps especially as Christian parents, we often want to pretend that we have it all together. We might not go looking for help because it might mean being honest about what’s really going on.
  • I guarantee you that there are other parents asking the same questions that you are. The problem is, we’re just not talking about it.
  • If your kids are just going through life unchecked – if no one’s ever going to ask – then no one’s ever going to look at their phones. Left to their own devices, our kids simply aren’t going to make the best decisions (after all… did you?).
  • As a parent, I would implore you to get as comfortable as you can with your children so you can talk to them about it.
  • As we heard in the first Whiteboard video we did, the entirety of your teen’s brain is not fully developed… so help them protect that development – that precious part of themselves – and love them in the ways that only you can.
  • You – as a parent – need other parents in your life.
  • You’ve got to have real conversations.
  • The worst thing that you can do is do nothing.


LISTEN TO THE AUDIO

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Posted by on Dec 24, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

How to Protect Your Kids in an Online World

I was recently in Phoenix, where I had the opportunity to talk with Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) about helping parents protect their kids in our “online” world.

I thought I’d do the same, here, as well. If you’re a parent who is wondering how you can talk to your kids… here’s what I would tell you:

First, you are not primarily your kids’ friend. You’re their parent. So you should parent them. 

Second, you can’t be a passive parent. If you don’t know what apps your kids are using (or what sites they’re going to), then how could you ever know what boundaries might be necessary to set in place for your son or daughter?

Do the work. Find out what apps your kids are using. Your busyness is not an excuse for failing to figure out how to best protect your kids from pornography.

Third, have the hard conversations. Talk with your spouse, partner, or co-parent about setting boundaries. Should we get our 13-year-old a phone? Do you think it would be a problem? These questions are great starting points… so ask them.

And talk to your kid.

And don’t wait until high school, either. Children discover pornography at an unbelievably young age, and that age has – and is only – getting earlier and earlier. For the first conversation, moms talk to girls, and dads talk to boys.

You don’t need to overthink it. Just ask questions and get your kids talking. And use everyday opportunities to continue the conversations.

Your kids can Google their questions or they can come to you, and if you can provide a sense of safety and security when those questions arise, then you might just become their go-to encyclopedia. No questions should be off limits, and no questions should be “bad.”

If anything, and especially when these kinds of conversations become natural (which they do, if you’re having them!), your mutual trust in one another will only grow.

Lastly, be proactive and prepare for these conversations. If you’re prepared, you’ll be calmer when the time comes (instead of feeling like the whole world is falling apart).

MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS PODCAST EPISODE

  • If you’re a parent, whatever you think porn is isn’t likely to be what your child thinks it is. The pornography that our kids are into and watching is on a whole different level than anything we grew up with.
  • You bought the phone. You control the TV. You control the Internet. You set the boundaries in your house.
  • If your kids are spending two to four to six hours in front of a device, they’re going to find things that you’re don’t want them looking at. If they have limited time, there’s less of a chance that they’re going to be exposed to things that you don’t want them seeing.
  • Don’t just talk to your kids about porn. You need to talk to your spouse about porn too. It can’t be off the table.
  • The “one and done” sex-talk days are over with – and they should never have existed in the first place. The sex/porn talk must be a continuous conversation that we have with our kids.
  • You don’t need to overthink it. Just ask questions and get your kid talking.
  • Your kids know that they can either Google the answers to their questions, or they can come to you. I think that if you can provide safety and security… hey, you know what? No questions are bad.

  • LISTEN TO THE AUDIO

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Posted by on Dec 17, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

How Do I Monitor My Kid’s Social Media?

This week’s Panic Button Podcast question is a fun one: “How do I monitor my kid’s social media?”

There’s a bigger conversation here than just porn.

Take Instagram, for instance… even though the platform doesn’t technically allow porn, it does slip through. And regardless of technicalities, there is still more risqué stuff to swipe through than anything that was easily available to me as a kid.

As a parent, you can never forget that your responsibility as a parent is… to parent. So, you might be trying to monitor something for your child that shouldn’t even be an option right now. Personally, I think that – if you’re not old enough to begin to understand or know who you are – you’re not old enough to post on social media.

We, as humans, seem not only to love bad things, but also to love to bring attention to them. We’re living in a world where our kids are going to be praised for bad behavior. Frankly? They’re going to be rewarded for posting slutty photos.

Oftentimes, our kids simply aren’t prepared or responsible enough to use the things we put in front of them… like a phone that’s also a pocket-computer with the entire world available at the click of a button. If you’re worried about what your kid is doing on social media, don’t forget that you’re the parent. You still have the ability to monitor – or completely restrict – their use of it.

At this point, it’s not enough to excuse your absence in this conversation simply because you don’t understand something like Instagram or Snapchat. That’s a problem. Start understanding what this stuff is. Be involved. Talk about it. Use these learning opportunities for both you and your children. And sometimes… if it comes to it, you just have to put your foot down and say no. That’s okay.

Get involved, pay attention, and – sometimes – say “no” to your kids.

But also, tell them why you’re saying no.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS PODCAST EPISODE

  • As a parent, you can never forget that your responsibility as a parent is… to parent.
  • You might be trying to monitor something for your children that shouldn’t even be an option yet. I would ask myself, “Should we even be allowing this right now?”
  • We, as humans, seem not only to love bad things, but also to love to bring attention to them.
  • We’re living in a world where our kids are going to be praised for bad behavior. Frankly? They’re going to be rewarded for posting slutty photos.
  • Social media has given us the ability to be people we are not.
  • Some people just want attention. The Westboro Baptist “God Hates Fags” people would all go away if we just stopped responding to them.
  • My son at 15 says, “Dad, I get it now.” He sees the things his friends post on Instagram and he gets now why we’ve held back on giving our kids access to social media.
  • Get involved, pay attention, and say no to your kids sometimes. But tell them why you’re saying no.


LISTEN TO THE AUDIO

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Posted by on Dec 10, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

My Daughter Is Posting Inappropriate Photos of Herself Online, What Do I Do?

 

About This Episode

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On my podcast The Panic Button, I get a lot of questions from people who are, well… in a panic. Oftentimes, when you’re in a panic, it’s in response to something.

I don’t get many preventative questions like, “Hey, my daughter’s about to turn 13 and we’re considering letting her on Instagram. What are some concerns that I should be aware of – or precautions or boundaries I should place on my 13-year-old –before I allow her on Instagram?”

Wouldn’t that be a good question? I never get that one.

I get questions like, “My daughter’s posting inappropriate things on social media. What do I do?!?”

The real issue this question boils down to is boundaries.

Are we teaching our kids boundaries and responsibility when we hand them an $800 phone or are we letting them go wild? As a parent, I am shocked that we give our kids these devices but fail to teach them how to use them responsibly.

Here’s what I’d tell this person: you’re the parent, she’s the child.

I don’t care if you’re best friends. I don’t care if you have a best-friend necklace or best friend tattoos.

You’re still the parent. You’re in control.

Your daughter has a curfew. She probably has to get passing grades. Heck, she might even have to do the dishes or be nice to her brother. I mean, there are certain rules we have for our kids because we’re the parents and they’re the children.

So, there are responsibilities that come with giving your kid an $800 toy (like a phone).

It’s not just a kid toy.

In this episode, I share a few rules that I have for my kids about phones and some ideas about how to use those phones to build relationships instead of wasting time and posting things they’ll come to regret.

Kids will be up to no good, not because they’re awful human beings, but they’re kids and they don’t know what we should know as adults. Ease them into this stuff and don’t just give them a device and let them run free. Don’t make them learn the hard way. 

Our Favorite Quotes From This Episode

  • You’re the parent, she’s the child. I don’t care if you’re best friends. I don’t care if you have a best-friend necklace or a best-friend tattoo. You’re still the parent. You’re in control.
  • I think when we give our kids a phone, the first thing I want to teach them is: this is a tool for me to be able to get ahold of you.
  • I’ve seen a lot of families use their iPad as a babysitter at a restaurant, and then their kids don’t know how to look up from the screen for one second to order their food. They don’t know how to communicate, let alone have a conversation or relationship with somebody.
  • Our kids are gonna grow up and be out of the house one day and have to make bigger decisions and choices than what app to download. Help them learn to make healthy choices now, so that they can keep making them, then.
  • I want you to think twice about what you send to somebody, what you share, and what you post publicly because it’s going to live on the internet forever.
  • Don’t feel bad for parenting. You’re the parent and you know what your kids need (and what you need).
  • Kids will be up to no good, not because they’re awful human beings, but they’re kids and they don’t know what we should know as adults. Don’t make them learn the hard way.

 

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Posted by on Dec 3, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

How Does Viewing Porn as a Child Impact Future Behavior and the Brain?

 

About This Episode

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In today’s Whiteboard Session, Steven Luff, a licensed MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist) in the state of CA, co-author of Pure Eyes: a Man’s Guide to Sexual Integrity and creator of the X3Pure on-line recovery program, answers a question we get often from parents: what is porn doing to my kid’s brain? How is looking at porn during puberty impacting their future behavior?

In this video, Steve shares how the pathways to the brain are majorly shaped two times in our lives: before the age of 5 and during puberty. When teens the age of 11 or 12 or 13 use porn or drugs or alcohol, they’re reshaping the pathways of pleasure to the brain and create a dependence on whatever substance brought them that pleasure. Not only that, but they aren’t learning how to manage their emotions and communicate with the people around them.

Parents, you’ve gotta have open conversations with your kids about porn. Don’t shame them but tell them that porn isn’t a choice that’s going to make them develop into a healthier person. What kids need instead are opportunities for them to be challenged and make mistakes and to learn.

Sometimes kids turn to porn because their parents are too restrictive and don’t allow them to make mistakes. Porn is super easy, but it doesn’t build any strength. It doesn’t build any resolve. It doesn’t build any character. If I want a relationship, if I want marriage, it doesn’t just land on my lap like porn does. It’s not freaking pancakes and syrup.

Parents, to help your kids develop healthy habits give them just enough challenges that it’s a little frustrating but not so frustrating that your child can’t accomplish it. And know when to step in and when not to step in. And with adolescents in this, when to step in is to tell them “We don’t use porn.”

Also, don’t forget to check out X3christmas.com to get your free access to the Resentment video series.

Our Favorite Quotes From This Episode

  • More kids today think not recycling is a bigger deal than looking at porn.
  • We humans are in a very elegantly designed body with a lot of parts and systems. Sometimes these systems can get off track. And Porn is certainly one way to get your systems off track.
  • Physiologically speaking, porn is not good.
  • Porn affects our emotional lives. It affects how we go through the world. It affects how we feel about ourselves. It affects a lot of things and I don’t recommend.
  • There are plenty of wonderful things in life and porn is just not one of them.
  • Sex is about connection. It’s not about an object. Once sex becomes about objectifying something, that’s when sex becomes a substance of abuse.
  • Parents, give your kids spaces and opportunities for them to be challenged.
  • Sometimes kids turn to porn because their parents are too restrictive and don’t allow their child to make mistakes.
  • Porn is super easy, but it doesn’t build any strength. It doesn’t build any resolve. It doesn’t build any character.
  • If I want a relationship, if I want marriage, it doesn’t land on my lap like porn does. It’s not freaking pancakes and syrup.

 

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