I often get questions from parents asking what to do when their kids disagree with them about sexual boundaries, pornography use and home rules. First, make sure that you have been clear with your kids about what you consider appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Help them to understand the repercussions of their actions and why you don’t support certain behaviors (for help, check out our resource “The Talk”).
Once you’ve established those rules and had an honest conversation with your kids about sex, remember: you are the parent, and you are in charge. If you’ve bought your kids a phone, and they are using that phone to look at pornography online or send sext messages, then take the phone back.
If they are looking at pornography on their computer or engaging in cybersex online, then set up filters, parental controls and family rules such that you allow your kids to only use the computer in the family room or under close supervision. If they break your house rules, then follow through with discipline.
So many parents that I talk with are so embarrassed or uncomfortable with what their kids are doing, that they turn a deaf ear to their behavior. Remember, it’s up to you to raise, encourage and discipline your child. Do you really want the best for their future? Then address the issue with maturity and do your best to help them avoid making larger life mistakes.
Third, talk with other parents. Help the parents of your kids’ friends understand your house rules and the importance of using filters and parental controls on all Internet-enabled devices. If your son or daughter is dating someone, talk to that boy or girl’s parents and let them know your standards.
Fourth, remember that you can only do so much. If you’re engaging in regular conversations with your kids about sex, and if you’ve established clear rules and safe-guards, and if you’re setting a good example yourself, then trust that you are doing the best you can do to protect them from making bad decisions.
Ultimately, if your kids want to look at pornography, they will probably find someway of accessing explicit content. If they are dead-set at having sex, then, chances are they will find a way to do it. Do your best, pray for your kids and be available to help provide guidance and wisdom to them when they need help.
Trust that ultimately, they are the ones that will need to take responsibility for their life actions and their sexual choices; at some point, if they are pursuing an unhealthy lifestyle, they will probably start to feel the impact. Hopefully, with God’s help and grace and your support they will turn around and begin to get on the right track.