Monday, 06 November 2017

Handling Porn Addiction: 3 Easy Steps for Kids and Teens

by GYE (See all authors)

Handling Porn Addiction: 3 Easy Steps for Kids and Teens

Breathing, Counting, and a Memory… This very simple brain exercise has changed my life. I struggled with porn addiction for a very long time, and I use many tools to prevent going back to that life but this is something that never fails me.

Internet porn addiction is arguably one of the most difficult addictions to conquer. That smartphone that we all carry around can become a real problem. Other addictions take planning and action. You have to walk to the liquor store and buy that bottle or even go as far as buying something illegal from a dealer. But porn is always handy on your smartphone, on your tablet, and on your laptop. The internet is all around us. I would equate a porn addict with a smartphone to an alcoholic who always finds a flask in his pocket.

And now this technology is becoming more and more available to our children too. Imagine sending your kids to school with a flask in their pocket!

While that is all quite scary, there is a powerful key to getting over the hurdle of portable temptation. The thought of a scene or an image can quickly tempt an addict and lead him to making a bad choice. But I have made progress however by having a quick-twitch response to this quick-acting addiction. If we teach our children to be ready with this quick-twitch response, they can resist temptation too.

Often, when parents discover their child struggles with pornography addiction, they might feel helpless. But this is a practical tool that is easy to learn and that can actually make a significant difference!

Here is the process, broken into three simple steps:

  1. Walk away. If you are feeling tempted, try not to be any place where you are alone. Your phone is not your friend when you have that sudden temptation. Walk out of your house or your bedroom. Just get a break from it. It is very hard to take this first step, but always keep it in your mind. Always be working on it. Before long you’ll actually be able to walk out of your bedroom, your house, or the bathroom. You will also start to have a feel for when and where the temptation will come. Make a routine of walking away and that routine will turn into a habit that gives you a chance to make a better choice.
  2. Breathe in and out, and count. This very simple tool helps distract you from that scene, or whatever image has popped into your mind and tempted you. Try breathing in and out 5 times and counting to 10 through each step. This seems like such a simple process, but it is an effective technique.
  3. Have a happy memory on file that you use as your go-to in these moments. You walk away, count to ten and breathe, and then you think about this happy moment and it completely takes over the capacity of your brain. This sounds so simple but go ahead a try it for a moment… Focusing on your breath, counting along with those breaths, and recalling a memory. It leaves no room for your brain to think about anything else. I do this over and over again until whatever has been tempting me has left my mind. It usually only takes a minute and no one around knows I’m doing it. The memory I chose also has specific importance. I think about playing catch with my dad. This memory makes me happy. It calms me. And it reminds me of who I really am and who I want to be. And that is simply someone who is now living fully. Think of a happy memory that calms you and reminds you of what’s important in your life. 

As I have practiced this technique, it has changed the way I think. In fact, I don’t just use it to escape the traps of my addiction. I also use it whenever I’m stressed. It helps me calm down and enjoy my life. What a powerful tool to offer our children!

As we teach kids this skill and they commit to do it over and over again, it will become easy. I know from personal experience that it will work, and it will change their life.

For more ideas on how to start talking with your kids about pornography check out our book How to Talk to Your Kids about Pornography, available here. It includes simple discussions and a RUN plan for younger kids and thought-provoking discussions and ideas for older kids.