Title: What's the best way to warn my kids about the dangers of pornography?
00:00:00 Speaker 1
It's. So there you are watching a superhero movie with your nine year old daughter, and then
she turns to you and says, what is porn? Well, instead of flipping over the bowl of popcorn and
screaming at the top of your lungs, what did you say? Is there a better way to handle that? I think
there is. Let's talk about that today on Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed
man, marriage and family therapist, and I specialize in helping kids, teens and families live
happier lives. I lead two organizations teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501 c three organization,
child and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills, California. And every Wednesday at
noon, I jump onto Facebook Live to answer your parenting questions. Let's talk about today's.
I made the mistake of watching a PG 13 movie with my nine year old daughter the other day. It was
a Marvel movie and I was watching it with her, so I thought we'd be pretty safe in the movie. However,
one of the characters makes reference
00:01:02 Speaker 1
to watching porn, and my daughter asked what it is. I was able to say it's just an adult joke. She
seemed satisfied, but I regretted that it came up. I don't want to lie to her and I want to make
sure she's prepared, but it caught me off guard. I don't want to stumble on a pornography. I don't
want her to stumble onto pornography herself. How do I have this conversation with her? Thank
you for your question. I think this resonates with a lot of people. I think this is going to be
a conversation you're going to be having with your child throughout her entire childhood and
maybe even to adulthood. Now, I think talks and conversations about sex should be had with your
children at all ages. Now, the conversation you have with your four year old may be different
than your nine year old and may also be different than your 16 year old, but those are all important
conversations to have. The first and foremost thing is you get to control how you talk about
this. You get to control the environment.
00:02:01 Speaker 1
You can control your tone, which is really important. Are you coming at it from a place of anxiety
and fear and discomfort? Or is your tone calm, curious, respectful, confident? That's going
to help lead your daughter or your son or your child, whoever that may be, into feeling to following
your lead? Even if they are uncomfortable, even if you're uncomfortable, it's important that
you get comfortable, because if you can't get comfortable, they definitely won't be comfortable
and then they're not going to talk to you. It's important that you have some comfort, because
ultimately, and I've say this many times in our videos, when your kid is 16, you want her to be
able to talk to you in a way that she feels safe. To talk to you about sex because she may be in way
over her head and you don't want her leaning on her six year old friends. You want her leaning
on you, the safe place, because you're hopefully the safest place for her to be. So have the conversation
about sex, and sex is a very
00:02:57 Speaker 1
wide topic. It's not just the biology, it's not just the anatomy. It's also about respect and
dignity and consent and trust and all those things. And those are things that I think are really
important to talk about. In regards to talking to your nine year old about porn, it's important
to if your kid is on the internet, they are likely to stumble onto porn on accident. Now, again,
I encourage you to have safety restrictions on all the devices phones, computers, iPads, everything.
But even just if they're on Xbox and they're playing a game, there's going to be people who are
saying things that are inappropriate. It's just the nature of online gaming. And you'll say,
but it's Minecraft. Yes, on minecraft. But there are little kids. I know, but other little kids
have older siblings and they're exposed to it. So your kid is going to be exposed whether you
like it or not. Now, you can limit the exposure, and I encourage you to limit the exposure, but
also arm your child with information of what
00:03:57 Speaker 1
porn is. Porn is an exaggerated display of what sex is in real life. It's, you know, there's special
effects, there's, there's photoshopping, there's makeup, there's, you know, it's it's not
real. It's like superhero movies are not real, but superhero movies generally are not going
to have a negative impact on your kid's self esteem, how they see the world. It's like a scary
movie. If your child saw a really scary movie before, they already see a scary movie. That could
be really traumatizing. But if they were older, they'd be more prepared for it. So I think it's
really important that you talk to your children about what sex is, what your values are, what
you want your child's values to be. Being open to have a conversation and also acknowledging
that sexual curiosity is normal even for a nine year old. It is normal for a nine year old to be
curious about sex. It's everywhere. You drive down Ventura Boulevard and almost every other
billboard or bus sign is some model or actor who's being
00:05:01 Speaker 1
objectified sexually. So they're being exposed to it. They're going to be exposed to it at school,
online. The more we talk about it in a safe, comfortable, curious way, I think is beneficial.
Also, I think it's important to provide your children what you believe are going to be age appropriate
and value appropriate material about sex and a developing body and consent and dignity and
all those things. It's normal to be curious about what genitalia is and what it feels like. There's
a lot of little kids who grab themselves, don't even realize they're doing it that is normal.
And if they're going into later elementary years and they're going to have questions and curiosity.
So it's really important, again, talk to your kids. Be the safe place. You don't have to do it
perfectly. You don't have to know every answer. You can always say, you know what? I don't have
an answer for that right now. Let me look into this and I'll get back to you, and then get back to
them. Follow through on your word.
00:05:57 Speaker 1
It's really uncomfortable to talk about this stuff, especially if you didn't get to talk to
your parents about this and you weren't taught how to talk about this in a comfortable, safe
way. But you can do it. Talk to other people who have done it. Talk to a therapist. Read books,
read online articles. There's a lot of information about this very topic. So forewarned or
forearmed is forewarned or wherever that phrase is. But make sure your kids are educated. Again,
last thing, the more real education your kids have on sex and all the things around sex, the more
likely they will be to make healthier and more cautious decisions about their sex life as they
go into their adolescence and adulthood. Anyways, that's our question for today. Thank you
so much again. My name is Kent Toussaint with Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen Counseling.
If you have a question you'd like me to answer here on Tips on teens, email us at tipsonTeens@teentherapycenter.com
or direct messages right here on Facebook.
00:06:57 Speaker 1
You can also catch us on YouTube and Instagram. Thanks, guys. I'll see you next Wednesday at
How Do You Talk To Your Kids About Porn?
If your kid is on the internet it is likely they will stumble onto pornography in some form. This is true even if you have parental controls in place. The best thing you can do to prepare you kid for the dangers of pornography is to arm them with information. Make sure they know what porn is: an exaggerated display of what sex is. It’s normal for a child to be curious about sex. It’s important to provide your children with age appropriate and value appropriate information.
Talk About It Now So They’ll Rely On You Later
Having conversations with your kids about sex and the dangers of pornography is something you can do at all ages. The kind of conversation you have about it will vary depending on their age. The most important thing is to approach the topic calmly and confidently. If you can’t get comfortable talking about, then they won’t be able to either. And you want them to be comfortable talking to you about it so that when the issues come up later they know they can lean on you.
There’s a lot to say about it, and we embrace the topic in this Tips on Teens:
“I made the mistake of watching a PG-13 movie with my 9 year old daughter the other day. It was a Marvel movie, and I was watching it with her, so I thought we’d be pretty safe. In the movie however one of the characters makes reference to watching porn, and my daughter asked what it is. I was able to say ‘it’s just an adult joke.’ She seemed satisfied, but I regretted that it came up. I don’t want to lie to her and I want to make sure she’s prepared, but it caught me off guard. I don’t want her to stumble onto pornography herself. How do I have this conversation with her?”
Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com. We love to hear from you!
Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE! Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/
If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.