Raising Kids

What To Do When I Discover My Kid Masturbating?

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What do you do when you discover your kid masturbating?

Well… this is one of those extremely awkward situations that neither you nor your teenager (or pre-teen) wants to ever be in.  Chances are, you want to ignore what happened… sweep the event you witnessed under the rug as part of “kids being kids”… I mean, every child experiments a bit with their sexuality, right?

While it’s true that it’s part of the natural “growing up” process for your son or daughter to explore their sexuality to some degree, it’s not true that masturbation necessarily needs to be part of that exploration.  Despite your desire to erase what happened from memory (and despite the fact that your son or daughter likely wants to erase all memory of your discovery as well), it’s up to you to talk to you children about purity and sexuality, especially now.

It’s important that as parents you understand that teenagers (and pre-teens) have a lot of questions about masturbation.  If they are Christians, or they are being raised in the church, they probably want ot know what God has to say about masturbation, and they probably also know what you think about masturbation.

Recognize as well that guys AND girls struggle with masturbation: this is not an issues that is just for boys, and TV shows, teen magazines, movies, porn and even school sex-ed classes can promote masturbation as an important part of self-empowerment and healthy sexual exploration.

Unfortunately, in our work, we haven’t found that masturbation is part of the healthy sexuality that God designed for a number of reasons, and the reasons against masturbation are things that you should definitely talk to your kid about.

346x396-CircleFirst, masturbation often involves fantasy and lust, and as a result, it’s very difficult to honor God while engaging in the act.  Chances are, if your son or daughter are engaged in masturbating, they are also thinking about another person, body parts, or something that they encountered online or in a magazine.

It’s important to talk to them about honoring God with their thoughts and with the content that they allow into their lives.  Have they been viewing pornography?  Have they been watching questionable content online or on TV?  Did one of their friends expose them to some material?

Second, masturbation teaches people to have selfish sex—masturbation teaches us that we don’t need anyone else to have a sexual experience.  God created sex to be a unifying, bonding, demonstrative and sacrificial expression of love between a husband and a wife, but masturbation teaches us to fulfill our own desires for pleasure and arousal, alone.

Masturbation can be extremely addictive, and we’ve worked with many individuals who have struggled to have healthy sexual lives with their spouses because they are so addicted to self-pleasure.  Help your kids to understand that the patterns that they establish in their childhood will extend to their married life.

Third, masturbation can lead to later compromise.  A lot of kids argue that they need to masturbate so they won’t have sex.  Usually, however, masturbation intensifies rather than satisfies our sexual desires.

Since masturbation isn’t the full-bodied sex that God designed us for, it can never fully satisfy our sexual desires, and often sets us up for further sin.  And when we are willing to make sexual compromises when we are all by ourselves, it becomes even more difficult for us to be disciplined when we are alone with someone we care about.

Help your kids understand that you understand what they are going through, and you want to help them.  You don’t think they are gross or weird (even though you might be freaked out)—but that you want to help them get accountability.

Help them to know that you are aware that a lot of people struggle in this area, but that it’s important that they recognize that God’s grace reigns supreme, but that it’s His desire that they walk in purity.  Help them to recognize the “warning signs” that they may struggle—when do they feel tempted?  What is their motivation when they struggle?  Who in their lives can they talk with about this struggle?

Push them to think carefully about the content that they take in, the friends that they spend time with and their ultimate goal in purity and sexuality.

This article was originally published here and is used with permission.

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  • Deborah West

    Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Paul Zunker

    Guys, great articles. However, I don’t understand the need for the somewhat provocative pictures at the top of the stories though. For people that have had the struggle in the past, some of those images can be pretty triggering. I really believe you should go for a more generic picture.