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Your Conversation Blueprint

How do you tell your parent or parents about your struggle with porn? Should you tell them? What do you say? The truth is, we don’t know how your parents will respond, but we do know that one of the best ways to get help is to turn to someone who you can trust. Opening up to your parents about your struggle with porn can be one of the first steps toward overcoming it, and helping to get rid of some of the burden that comes with carrying this isolating issue. We hope this information helps you start a healthy and productive conversation with your parents about your struggle with porn. Remember, you’re not alone! We’re here rooting for you, and once you talk to your parents they’ll be able to support you, too.

What To Do

Start the conversation.

Before we get too far, give yourself a high five for being willing to have this conversation in the first place. Honesty is an important first step, and no matter what happens, taking this step is a win for your life. Research shows just how harmful porn can be, so this shows that you’re moving forward in a healthy direction, and we think that’s awesome. So don’t worry. We’ll help guide you through as much as we can. And we’ll help you figure out exactly how to start this conversation later on, so stay tuned!

Be mentally and emotionally ready.

As much as possible, you’ll want to be mentally and emotionally ready to share. This doesn’t mean you have to have everything figured out or solved, but being in a place where you can talk about your fight without it causing more pain and/or shame can help you truly start to break the cycle. There’s never a completely “easy” or “convenient” time to bring this up, but opening up sooner rather than later will help you begin the recovery journey in a better mind. Set yourself up as much as possible for a win by being aware of where and how you are in all aspects. Know that, ultimately, opening up to your parents can be one of the best things you can do to help overcome your struggle.

Consider a pre-disclosure, disclosure.

“Disclosure” describes the process of telling the secrets you have been keeping. This can sometimes be a difficult process and often happens in stages. If this is your first time talking about this openly, it’s good to start by talking with someone who you know is safe, who you trust, and who can keep things confidential. For a lot of people, parents can be those people. But if you don’t feel quite ready to talk to them yet, consider talking to a school counselor or therapist, or trusted friend first. If anything, it’ll give you some good practice to figure out what to say, how to say it, and how to move forward.

Allow your parents to react.

Remember, even though you’ve been digesting and preparing for this conversation for a while, your parents are hearing this for the first time. Allow them to react, even if their reaction is difficult for you, or not what you hoped for or expected. Maybe they’ll need to revisit this conversation after the initial shock passes, and that’s totally fine. Whatever it is, try to respect what they need, and understand that this might be difficult for them, too.

Recognize that change is possible.

Porn can change and rewire the brain, but the good news is, neuroplasticity works both ways. If porn pathways aren’t reinforced, they’ll eventually disappear, which means recovery is possible. Porn-wired brains can be rewired. Addictive behaviors can be overcome. Do you believe that? Are you looking to change, for real? Or is it a nice idea you’re considering? Consider the science and research that show how much hope there truly is, and remember—you CAN change. You can do this.

Have a plan.

Work together with your parent or parents to make a plan that will help you move forward. Establish helpful boundaries and set goals for recovery. If you’re looking to quit porn, we have just the thing that will help you start to kick this. Fortify is a free, online, video-based recovery resource that helps break the cycle of going back to porn. We highly recommend checking it out!

What Not To Do

Don’t forget to breathe.

Don’t panic. This fight is a marathon, not a sprint. Slow down, focus, and pace yourself. Prepare the best you can for the conversation and then work through things as they come up. Just take things one step at a time, one day at a time. Take a deep breath. We know you can do this, but do you believe you can?

Don’t assume anything.

You’re sharing a lot of information with your parents, and you can’t control how they are going to react. Try not to assume you know exactly how they’ll respond, or pressure them to respond in any specific way. Regardless of how they respond, it’s important that you have a clear understanding of what level of involvement in your recovery works best for all of you. Do you want them to be your accountability partner? How often do you want them to check in with you?

Don’t rationalize.

Porn is exaggerated, unrealistic, and dishonest, and consuming porn can warp ideas about sex. In fact, research shows that porn can become addictive and can even lead to erectile dysfunction. Similarly, research shows that porn consumers are less committed, less intimate, and less satisfied in their relationships. And that’s all aside from the fact that porn fuels the demand for sex trafficking and can increase rates of sexual assault. These are just facts. This might make it seem scary to disclose, and it might be easy to think that not telling anyone might sound like a great idea. But if you’re serious about recovery, opening up is the first step. After all, as Benjamin Franklin said, “Honesty is the best policy,” and he was a pretty smart guy.

Don't shirk responsibility.

It’s important that you decide to kick your porn habit, first, without external pressure as your primary motivation. Even if your parents are totally and completely willing to help and support you through your recovery journey, recognize that it is up to you to choose to give up porn. Don’t blame your parents or place the responsibility of recovery on their shoulders—that won’t be helpful for any of you. Who are you fighting for, first? Where is your motivation coming from?

Don’t do it alone.

No matter what, you don’t have to fight this alone. In addition to the support of your parents, there are many resources out there that can help you. Fortify is an online, video-based recovery resource that connects you with a community that is also fighting, as well as allows you to create your own personal “Battle Strategy,” monitors progress, and helps stop the cycle of going back to porn. It’s free to use, so you can sign up today and start getting the help you need at your own pace. Utilize resources available to you, and know FTND is fighting alongside you. You’re not alone. Do you believe it?

Don’t tear yourself down.

If you don’t hear anything good today, hear this: consuming porn does not make you a bad person. Take the fight hour by hour. Looking ahead can be daunting, so break it down into bite-sized pieces and celebrate every victory, large and small. Everyone’s battle is unique. Try to keep in mind that setbacks are often a part of the recovery process. Take it step by step, and don’t beat yourself up when you don’t meet your own expectations. Remember that shame isn’t productive and can actually slow your progress. So get back up again, and keep fighting for love! We’re right there with you.

Success Stories

They supported me like I know so many parents out there wouldn’t have. They made sure I knew they weren’t angry with me, they told me the extreme dangers of pornography, and that they would be there to help me at any time no matter what.

T

I finally told my parents about my pornography addiction last night... I thought my parents were going to be disappointed or angry with me, but they were actually really proud of me for coming to them with this... I couldn’t forgive myself until I told someone and accepted that I had a problem.

K
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