BY: CHASE J. MAKIN
If your teenager struggles with an addiction to pornography don't worry. Here are 5 steps that we at Bear Creek Recovery have found helpful when addressing this addiction with teenagers.
First let’s define pornography addiction. We have heard many say that pornography use is a “bad habit.” It rolls over into addiction when the behavior becomes compulsive and it is no different than using any other form of drug. Learn more about that here.
Be there for your teenager
Teenagers that struggle with this addition, tend to act out when they become stressed or hurt. As parents you can be there for your teenager and help them navigate life. Find out what is causing them stress, whether it be bullies, school, or just life in general. Kids are born and look up to their parents as protectors and leaders. You as parents are the key to helping your kids. If you are always on your phone, focused on image, he will be too. Be who you want him to be.
Implement safety blockers and restrictions on your child's phone
Implementing safety blockers or restrictions on your child’s phone is a great way to stop your child from acting out. If you want to make sure your child is safe online implementing safety blockers such as restrictions, and screen time. It may feel like policing, but as a teenager, he needs more support than he may let on. And it’s embarrassing to look different than peers but to be different, you may have to look different. So normalizing healthy behaviors with technology is key too.
Create an open dialogue
Becoming open to talking about subjects such as addiction and pornography is imperative. It’s vital that parents don’t become detectives, but also offer support. There is a difference between enabling your teen and supporting him. Support means to ask your teen how you, as parents, can show up for him. Enabling him means doing for him that which he is able to do for himself.
Feelings of shame are the hallmark of pornography addiction. It’s a tough thing for a teenager to talk about, especially with his parents. It’s important that you, as parents, understand the difference between the moral implications of pornography use and educating your son about addiction, pornography use and the impact that it has on his mind. Especially in Utah, we mix up sexual morality with sexual education. Make sure your teenager has a safe place to ask questions about sex so that they don’t go to the internet. No teenage boy can ever win by asking Google instead of his parents.
When your teenager lets you know that he has sobriety under his belt, believe him and celebrate him. Don’t ask him a million questions. Instead, help him to deeply understand that you have his back and are here to celebrate not only his highlights, but also lowlights. Even when you hear that your son has relapsed (and you will), let him know how proud you are of him for being honest. No strings. Period.