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Teen Is Reading Porn

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: Our 15-year-old son has been exploring adult sites on the Internet and we're not sure how to approach him. We don't know if we should punish him or just try to talk to him about sex and protection. What's your advice?

A: Don't be alarmed that your boy is doing anything other than following his raging hormones. Your discovery of his sex-surfing on the Internet provides a good opportunity to let him know your thoughts about sex. While I think you should be open with him, be sure you don't give an "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask" speech. It's important to make sure you don't embarrass or alienate your son by discussing these issues.

Express your concern for him and explain your opinions of these materials that contain portrayals of sex, sexuality, relationships, love, and women as sex objects. The goal is to explain your family's values on this issue without making him feel like a pervert.

Tell your son that you won't try to prevent him from viewing these materials, but that you don't want him doing it in the family home (provided this is your opinion). Tell him that you could buy software to block materials your family finds offensive, but that you're giving him the chance to prove himself. If he continues to use your computer to view pornography, forbid him from using it entirely. He has to respect your disapproval of the messages this material sends and this approach shows that you have faith that he will do the right thing. Good luck.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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