We often say that most teen boys struggle with anger, lust, and laziness. That’s nothing new. You can read books from hundreds of years ago and see the same struggles in young men of the times. The problem is that times have changed. The same temptations which you needed to seek out, now come looking for you.
Boys are being exposed to internet porn at younger and younger ages. At conferences across the country people bring us heartbreaking stories. Kids are being exposed by searching for words they don’t understand on Google, by looking up websites in the ads of the back of science magazines, by other kids on their iPhones at church, even.
How can we help them??Teach Them Early “The Talk” shouldn’t just be one talk as they enter adolescence, but a bunch of “talks” offering appropriate information at each age. Kids are being exposed at 8, 9, and 10 years old to porn, we can’t wait until puberty to talk about these things.
Put It in Biblical Context Every time we talk about sexuality with our boys, we should put it in the context of commitment, marriage, child-bearing and family life. As Gregg Harris once said, we shouldn’t be talking about sex education, but about marriage education. Surround this topic with the goodness of the way God created it, so when the ungodly stuff shows up, they’ll recognize it for what it is.
Teach Them Practical Ways to Fight Temptation We go into this in more detail in our book, Raising Real Men, but briefly, your boys need to know what to do when tempted. We suggest our boys:
- Leave the situation. Alone? Go where there are others. In the shower? Get out. With friends? Find an adult.
- Pray. Ask God to help you fight the temptation.
- Read the Bible. “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You..” Psalm 119:11
- Sing praise to God. Sometimes singing engages our heart in a way other things don’t.
- Go to your authority. Come talk to your parents when you’re tempted. We’ll pray with you and help you.
Time after time parents tell us, “I’ve been meaning to get protection on the computer, but…” or they have some kind of software on the main computer, but not on their phones or tablets, sometimes not even on their kids’ ipods or devices. That’s just setting your kids up for disaster – like leaving your door wide open so any old criminal can walk in the door. If your son isn’t old enough and mature enough to be dropped off in New York City without supervision, he shouldn’t have un-accountable internet access because all the same things are available online: museums, universities, banks, yes, but also brothels, gambling dens, and gang hangouts. If you aren’t sure what to use, here’s a review and explanation of what our family has used for years.
Since we’ve been researching this topic, we’ve become convinced that this is one of the biggest challenges our sons’ generation will have to face. Over 80% of young men in their twenties are regular users of internet porn. The world doesn’t even know yet what that will cost our culture. Please watch out for your boys and teach them. We don’t want you to be one of those families with the heartbreaking stories when we speak in your area.
Let’s PrayFather, please give us wisdom to know how to talk to our boys about all this and how to protect them from the evil that looks for them. Please protect them from this stuff. Make them and keep them pure and holy, serving you with all their hearts.Study
- What’s one area in which the boys in your life are often tempted?
- What’s one action step you can take to help arm your son against temptation?
- Is there a discussion you need to have with your son(s)? If so, find a friend (or your spouse) to hold you accountable to taking the time to sit your son down and have a chat. There’s no time like the present.
Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys, Christian Small Publishers Book of the Year, talks about this and many more issues crucial to raising godly men. Hal and I are the parents of six sons, three of them grown and this is the book we couldn’t find in raising our boys!
Shining Armor: Your Son’s Battle for Purity is a downloadable conference workshop of ours that deals specifically with teaching sexuality and with internet porn, how to protect your children from it and how to help them if they’ve seen it. One of our most popular workshops.
Yours in the battle for our boys,