Sunday, 10 July 2016

Keeping Kids Safe

Part 3/3 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)
Protecting children from pornography exposure

by Cath Hakanson (See all authors)

How to keep the conversation going.

Talking to your kids about pornography is a conversation that you need to keep having – a once off chat isn’t enough. Like most things, you can’t cover everything that your child needs to know in one conversation. They will either forget about it or may not fully understand what you have said.

There are a number of ways that you can keep the porn conversation going. Not all kids will ask you questions, so it is important to find ways to initiate conversations without it feeling like a lecture – most kids will stop listening if it turns into a lecture!

  • Repeat the conversation.

You can’t possibly cover everything that your child needs to know about pornography in one big talk (even if you think you have covered everything). It is about lots of small, frequent conversations over a long period of time. Remember it shouldn’t be a lecture or your child will instantly stop listening!

  • Keep it simple.

You need to use simple straightforward language when talking to kids about pornography. Clear language at a level that is age appropriate helps your child avoid misunderstanding and confusion.

  • Answer their questions.

If they are old enough to ask a question, they are old enough to know the answer. Be honest and if you don’t know the answer, tell them that you will get back to them with the answer (and make sure that you do).

Try asking your child what they think before you answer a question. This way you can regain your composure, discover what they already know and work out what exactly it is that they are wanting to know.

  • Watch out for teachable moments.

Start looking for everyday moments that you can turn into an opportunity to talk to your child about pornography. Once you start looking you can find many opportunities to talk in a way that feels more casual. For example:

>> You may both be watching a show on TV, and you hear a reference to pornography in it.

>> You are both driving somewhere and you pass a billboard with a scantily clad woman on it.

>> You notice your child clicking out of websites when you walk past the computer.

>> You hear a story from another parent about how big a problem sexting has become at your child’s school.

These are all opportunities that you can use to start a conversation about pornography.

  • Plan a conversation.

Sometimes, it can be easier to talk about a tough topic when you plan ahead for it. Work out what information or facts that you want to share and how you plan to start the conversation. Having the words can help you feel more confident, be clearer and quicker!

And finally…

The first conversation that you have with your child about pornography will be the hardest.

The hardest part is knowing what words to use. To make life much easier, you can download my age appropriate scripts about pornography that will help you to start talking with your kids about sex.

And I will share one last tip that made my first talk to my kids about porn much easier – write the words (that you want to say) on a post-it note that you can refer to during the chat. It won’t feel as clumsy and you won’t have to stress about whether you are saying it right!

Best of luck, and hey… if you can talk to your kids about pornography, then I think that you can pretty much talk to them about anything!