What happened when I said my 10-year-old son watched porn.

Last week, this mum wrote a post about her 10 year old son watching porn. It was a frank article and included the rules that she set him. You can read that post here. There was a massive reaction to that story. Here she talks about what that was like – and why she stands by her decision to not ban porn sites in her house.

I’m proud of the fact my son knows he can talk to me about anything. If I had punished him, he’d have secrets, and I can’t parent like that.

A week ago I wrote an honest and confronting article about discovering my son was watching porn, and how I attempted to handle it. Since then I have been accused of child abuse, threatened with arrest and shamed for failing to protect his identity.

Basically, I’ve been told I am a terrible person, and mother.

Author, Jo Abi.

Once again I'd gotten myself into strife by being too open, too honest and too real. Then, I tried to take a step back. I asked myself two important questions:

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  1. Looking back, do I wish I had handled the discovery that my young son was watching porn differently? No.
  2. Should I have protected his identity? Maybe.

I feel I need to better explain myself, not defend myself. I think this is an important conversation to have. I'd like to think that we can discuss this with open minds and open hearts, however I wonder if that's possible when it comes to some certain issues such as this. Pornography is one of those things that divides us. The problem is it is everywhere, and in this digital age parents are being forced to deal with it much sooner than we want to.

My son began watching porn when he was 10. I found out about it and dealt with it as best I could. Now he is older, and no longer watches it much at all, which makes me feel that I handled it well. One of my goals in not over-reacting to the discovery was to prevent him feeling shame for watching it. He had obviously stumbled upon it on his smart phone, despite the fact I thought I had set up parental controls. The parental controls I had set up only restricted the kinds of YouTube videos he could play. They didn't stop him from typing in a website he'd been told about by a friend and viewing pornography there. By the time I realised what was going on, he'd been watching it, feeling conflicted over the fact he was watching it, and was clearly discussing it with his friends.

Watch the opening scene of American Pie below, where Jason Biggs is caught by his mother masturbating to porn. Post continues after video.

Instead of screaming and yelling and punishing him for watching it, I chose to use the opportunity to educate him about pornography, about sex, about online material and about anything else he wanted to discuss as a result of what he had viewed.

Not once did I feel like I was endangering him or ruining him. I saw it as a golden opportunity to become part of an important conversation he'd clearly been having without me.

I talked to him about sex when he was nine, and it was a topic of conversation between he and I for several weeks. I talked to him about pornography when he was ten, and it was a topic of conversation between he and I for several weeks.

Now we've moved on from that. I feel I handled it well.

He's back to watching gaming videos and visiting sites that teach him how to program (because he wants to be a programmer and a cosmologist) and I can go back to figuring out what to cook for dinner and how to best help him with his maths homework.

I'm proud of the fact my son knows he can talk to me about anything. If I had punished him, he'd have secrets, and I can't parent like that.

Many people felt I'd made the wrong choice. They felt the discovery should have been dealt with similar to any other misbehaviour. I should have taken his phone from him, banned him from technology and punished him so he knew it was wrong. However, I felt this would have been a mistake. I was raised to feel shame over sex, masturbation, my body, desire and all those things and it caused issues for me. I never had anyone I could talk to about things like masturbation and pornography so I made many mistakes I could have avoided if I had one person to help me through it instead of telling me I was naughty and disgusting, that what I was doing was against God, and that I was a terrible little girl.

I want my son to have a healthy relationship with his body. I want my son to know about the good and the bad in the world. I want him to know he can talk to me about anything - sex, drugs, porn - and I will sit down calmly and listen to him, advise him and be there for him.

There's nobody else in his life (aside from boys his own age) who he can talk to about such things and that worries me because I have overheard so many conversations between boys that age and they use words they don't understand in joking ways, they discuss topics they can't grasp and they have no idea they are misusing those words, that they appear to be disrespectful, that the topics they are choosing to talk about aren't funny at all.

Then there's my son who has spoken to me about all these things, who knows which words to use and avoid, which topics to joke about and those he should avoid, and maybe he'll say something to his friends about things they are saying, doing and watching and be a good influence.

His younger brother and sister are in good hands, despite the fact many of you feel they are some how in danger by bad influences in my home. I am playing the role of confidant to my son, he'll do it for his brother, and my daughter will talk to her brothers or to me and the end result will be that each of my children have someone they can talk to about anything, without fear of consequences.

Am I happy my son is watching pornography? Absolutely not. Do I watch porn? Only ever accidentally.

Do I feel that I am ruining my son by "allowing" him to watch pornography? Absolutely not.

I thank everyone for their feedback. It was truly interesting. I understand that there are those going through the same thing, some who understand my choices and others who feel I was wrong. I know many of you are outraged at what you see as my approval that my son was watching pornography. I don't approve, but this was how I chose to handle it because I felt it was the best way to help him eventually lose interest. I don't think I deserve to be arrested, I don't think what I have done constitutes child abuse and I feel I am a good mother.

I am simply doing my best to deal with confronting issues as they arise, and I choose to write about them so we can discuss them in exactly this way. I take the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to the stories I choose to share and I have no regrets about sharing them.

I will always write about issues I am dealing with and I will never hold back. We are all going through things like this. It's just that I choose to write about them and discuss them openly, in an effort to help others dealing with similar issues.

I've become so used to writing about whatever I wanted when they were younger that I forgot there would be a day when I'd have to be more careful and more considerate of my son and the information I chose to share about him. I knew this day would come and in all honestly, it came about a year ago. I started avoiding writing about certain things, knowing he was at an impressionable age.

From now on I will make sure to only write about topics he is comfortable with sharing.

I will still find a way to discuss all the issues I want to discuss. I feel it's important that parents continue to share our stories for growth and learning and support.

I thank you all for your participation in this conversation and look forward to reading your feedback as we continue this difficult and complicated parenting journey.

You can read the original article here.

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