Some helpful tips on having that awkward conversation with your children.
Whether we like it or not, at some point our children are going to come across some form of pornography.
Of course, no parent wants their child to come across pornography before they’re ready. This is why it’s important to talk with your child about pornography, especially when they start exploring the online world where it can be so easily accessible.
That being said, it’s not the easiest chat to have, for you or your child. Talking about pornography can feel embarrassing and awkward but it’s important to fight through those feelings.
There are many more benefits to having a conversation than avoiding the topic altogether.
Broaching the topic
You might want to wait to discuss pornography with your child until you have ‘the talk’. However, studies have shown that children as young as 8 or 9 have encountered pornography on the Internet. The best way to handle this is to broach the topic of sex and pornography before they come across it themselves.
Choose a private, quiet time to talk, like a car ride or during an activity together. To start the conversation, be direct and say something like, ‘I know it can be awkward to talk about pornography, but there are some really important things I want you to know.’
From there you can explain how it’s natural to be curious about sex, especially online, but that you have some rules. These can be set to something that you deem appropriate for your child but remember to avoid any sort of shaming or blaming. Almost everyone has some type of curiosity about sex.
Breaking the fantasy
One of the most important things to talk to your child about is the fantasy element of pornography. When you’re young, it’s easy to believe that what you see in pornography is what sex is supposed to be like in real life. Remind your child that the people in adult films aren’t meant to look real and that you should not expect to look like them. This is particularly important for girls who may feel pressure to look more like the women pornographic films.
As well as that, highlighting that sex in pornography is not realistic is very important. Furthermore to instill in them that there is a lot more to a healthy relationship than having sex. Pornography doesn’t show this side of relationships and sex, in general, doesn’t look or sound like it is depicted in pornographic films.
Consent is the foundation on which a healthy sexual relationship is built. Ensure your child understands the concept of consent and that no person should be touched without their permission. It can also be helpful to tell them that people are not sexual objects and, therefore, should not be treated as such.
As awkward as the conversation might be, open dialogue with your child is the best way for them to develop healthy ideas of relationships and sex.
Remember, there is no shame in being curious about sex or pornography so try to remain non-judgemental about any questions they may have and if you can’t answer a question right away, look it up!
Points to Consider
- Broach the topic of sex and pornography before a child comes across it themselves.
- Choose a private, quiet time to talk, like a car ride or during an activity together.
- Be direct and say something like ‘I know it can be awkward to talk about pornography, but there are some really important things I want you to know.’
- Remind your child that the people in pornographic films aren’t meant to look real and that you should not expect to look like them.
- Tell them that sex, in general, doesn’t tend to look or sound like it is depicted in pornography.
- Ensure your child understands the basis of consent and that no person should be touched without their consent.
- Remember, there is no shame in being curious about sex or pornography so try to remain non-judgemental about any questions that they may have and if you can’t answer a question right away, look it up!