Scott Kedersha Parenting

After sharing my story of How Porn Nearly Ruined My Life, a friend asked this question and made a request:

I would love a blog about your plan as parents of 4 boys of (1) how you plan or if you have already started talking to your boys about it (pornography) !!! (2) What do you think would have helped you grasp the severity of this problem as a kid / teenager, Scott? Anything?

As a mom of boys I think about this a lot and pray a lot! So I would love to hear your thoughts as a father to his sons (insert smiley face emoticon here).

While we are far from experts in this as parents, I loved the question, and thought it would be helpful to share what we have done, are doing, and will do to help lead our four boys when it comes to purity and pornography. Hopefully these thoughts will help prevent some young boy from ever starting a pornography addiction.

1. How do we plan to discuss pornography with our boys and what have we already done/discussed with them?

Rather than solely focusing on how we talked to our boys about porn, my thoughts below focus more on how we addressed purity in general as well as pornography. All of our discussions are based in the fact that sex is a gift from a great God to His people. There is nothing inherently wrong with sex when lived out in the context of marriage. Our kids will never hear from us that sex is dirty, wrong or gross. They will hear God’s design and His ideal, and will always be challenged to live obediently.

  • I have been very fortunate to hang out with guys four-five years down the road from me, so I have had the privilege of watching them lead their own sons.
  • One of the first lessons I learned is that there is no such thing as “The Talk.” The talk is really a series of talks that take place over the course of many years.
  • Our first talk came when our twins were probably five. We talked about the fact that God gave boys a special part (called the penis) that is different from what He gave girls. We are careful about language as well – it’s called a penis, not a package, unit or member.
  • We also told our boys that if anyone other than their doctor ever touched them or asked to see their privates, that they were to say no and tell mom and dad as soon as possible. We don’t show our privates in school (or anywhere for that matter).
  • We also tried/try to emphasize that our boys are not in trouble if something ever happens to them. We want to create a safe place for them to share with their parents.
  • As our boys age, we fill in more and more of the details every year (and will continue to do so). One piece that has been clear is that we have continually emphasized the inappropriate nature of seeing someone naked.
  • They know their dad made a lot of bad choices around purity growing up, and that we care about them and don’t want them to experience the sin and hurt their dad walked through over the years.
  • Probably every six months or so we ask our boys if they have seen or done anything inappropriate. Again, we are trying to keep lines of communication open.
  • Some kids will respond to face to face conversations at the kitchen table, while others will respond better to a conversation on a walk, while playing catch or shooting hoops. Know your child and how they will best interact with you.
  • A few practical suggestions:
    • We don’t allow internet access on any of our kid’s devices. Everything is password protected.
    • No computers in private spaces. The family computer is in one of our common rooms.
    • We don’t have any channels with nudity on cable.
    • We do need to be more cautious of things like Netflix and YouTube. The boys know what we allow and don’t allow, but I believe we still need to be more cautious.
  • Some additional suggestions from my friend Beau:
    • Set-up open DNS on your home network – it’s free and allows you to restrict website access.
    • For you Apple peeps out there: Have all of your stuff on the same account. This allows you to monitor what content your kids view or add to their devices.
    • Screen and monitor your kid’s browsers on a regular basis.
    • Big emphasis on living in the light in all areas. They want their kids to know that the parents are never mad if they confess or ask questions. They want to keep the door open so that they’re not afraid to confess or ask for help!

We never freak out about this stuff as parents, but we are diligent to protect them as much as we can, while also reminding them that life is found in holiness and purity, not in sexual immorality. Are the conversations uncomfortable for them and partly for us as well? You bet they are! But, I would much rather walk through some uncomfortable conversations now than have my kids get wrecked by porn. We are accountable for how we raise and shepherd our children.

Our passion for our children’s purity is largely birthed out of my sin struggles and purity challenges. One of the equalizers with porn is that affects anyone who sees it. I recently heard someone say porn is now affordable (free), available and anonymous. I don’t live under the illusion that just because our kids go to a good public school, that they are protected. Porn affects home school, private school and public school kids. We believe this is a ‘when’ situation, not an ‘if.’ At some point, they will almost certainly each see porn. Yet, we fight for their purity, hope for later rather than sooner and seek to protect them from porn.

2. What do you think would have helped you grasp the severity of this problem as a kid/teenager?

I don’t know the answer to this one… I know apart from a relationship with Jesus and a clear concept of my sin/depravity, I honestly believe I would have been hopeless in any battle against porn. Sexual sin was celebrated by me and my friends. We sought out pornography and did whatever we could to find it. I am certain that accountability and good Christian friends would have helped!

At the same time, I always knew deep down that pornography was wrong. I hid my behaviors from most friends and definitely from my parents. I ‘felt’ guilt and shame when I indulged, but I believe this was worldly sorry, not godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10). I think I knew the severity of the problem, but was too addicted to quit without God’s Word, Spirit and people.

We hope our boys have a much clearer concept of holiness and that God is not trying to hold back from them or rip them off. We believe God’s way is always better, and we hope our kids will trust what God says and how they can best honor Him with their eyes, bodies and thoughts.

Next Steps:

I know much more can be said on this topic (see the Your Turn questions below). I thought it would be helpful to share a few specific resources that we have walked through or plan on walking through with our kids. I will feature many more resources on Saturday in Stuff I Like Saturday: I Hate Porn Edition (note: Amazon links below are affiliate links).

Your Turn:

I would like to hear from any parents anything else you have done to help lead your boys (and girls) when it comes to purity. What you already done? What else would you recommend? I know we can learn from one another here.

Recap: