How do I talk to my son about the pornography I know he saw?

Last updated on October 6, 2020


I am the proud father of an awesome son who is 12 years old. I found your site via my son’s web history. I think your site is very informative, and obviously, my son has questions. He normally has only school and sports-related history, so I assume he forgot to delete the search history. Among the search history, there were also some porn sites. I would like for him to actually ask me for advice. Do I tell him that I know he has questions, and should I even mention the pornography and masturbation? I ask for your guidance and prayer.



It is wonderful that you are keeping an eye on your son.

One of the reasons the Growing Up in the Lord sites are popular is the simple reason that the boys don’t know me. They can ask embarrassing questions and not have to see me later. Also, the lack of familiarity leads to the understanding that I won’t be biased in my answers since I don’t have any history with them.

I think it is great that you want to discuss these issues with your son, but also be conscious that he will find the topics as embarrassing as he is curious about them. If you tell him that saw his search history first, he is going to shut down even if you don’t scold him. All he will be thinking about is how embarrassed he is to have been caught. Likely he will become more cautious about hiding what he is doing from you.

Instead, I would like you to approach this from a different direction. Tell him that he is getting old enough that you and he need to talk about sexual issues. You can use the material from the book on the site as a guideline for the topics that should be covered. Tell him about your experiences, but avoid telling him details about anything you might have done wrong — you want him to imitate your good qualities and not see your faults as permission to do wrong himself. Use simple, direct language because that will come across as being honest. Indirect language is seen as hiding something. Pick one topic per discussion and let him have time to absorb what you told him.

In the process of discussing these things, he will start telling you about some of the things he’s been doing. Likely the first one or two things are mild things, in which case he is “testing the waters” to see how you will react.

Most importantly, spend some private time with your son where it is just the two of you doing something. Often it is during these times that he’ll tell you something that is really bothering him, seemingly out of the blue.

If he asks something that you never considered before, don’t give him an off-the-cuff answer. Tell him that it is a good question and you need to do some research on the topic. Then find the answer and tell him what you learned later.

Somewhere along the line, he is going to admit that he looked at pornography. By that time he will know that you will tell him the best way to deal with this problem because you helped him solve other problems in the past.