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Earlier this season, Nicole Breining spoke about her husband’s pornography addiction that resulted in betrayal trauma and a serious strain on their relationship. But what impact does pornography addiction have on the rest of the family? Do kids experience a similar type of trauma when they learn parents struggle with a problematic sexual behavior? How should parents respond if and when they discover their children are viewing pornography? In this episode of Crosspoint, Dr. John Thorington addresses these questions.
John is a licensed professional counselor and certified sexual recovery therapist, and he has a private practice in Huntsville, Alabama, called Restoring Hearts Counseling. If you haven’t already, listen to his first episode with Crosspoint from its first season, titled “The Theological Implications of Addiction.”
John talks about how parents might navigate a conversation with kids when a parent is struggling with problematic sexual behaviors, how to set boundaries in recovery, and what resources to use in next steps. We then flip the script to talk about how parents can move forward when they learn their child is the one struggling with problematic sexual behaviors, turning to God’s design rather than the world’s during ongoing conversations.
Check out the various resources mentioned throughout this episode:
- Restoring Hearts Counseling, John’s practice that offers competent counseling and treats teen pornography addiction and other compulsive online behaviors with a Christian perspective
- Pure Desire Ministries, which seeks to provide hope, freedom, and healing from sexual brokenness through Jesus Christ
- Be Broken Ministries, which helps men, women, and families move from sexual brokenness to wholeness in Christ and equips others to do the same
- Treading Boldly through a Pornographic World: A Field Guide for Parents by Daniel Weiss and Joshua Glaser, written to help parents navigate conversations with their kids about pornography
- Honest Talk: A New Perspective on Talking to Your Kids About Sex by John Fort, a guide that provides parents a new approach to help children safely navigate today’s hypersexual culture
- The Porn Phenomenon: The Impact of Pornography in the Digital Age, a Barna Report published in partnership with Josh McDowell Ministries
- Focus on the Family, a global Christian ministry dedicated to helping families thrive
- Covenant Eyes: Screen Accountability™
- Sexpectations: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Healthy Relationships by Barb Winters
- Pure Teens: Honoring God, Relationships, and Sex by Dr. John Thorington
As you listen to this conversation with John, here are a few questions to ponder in your personal time, with a small group, or with a mentor:
- What is the value of backing up promises with action when navigating recovery from addiction with your family?
- If you’re a parent finding out that your child is viewing pornography, how can you make sure you respond well so that your relationship is not damaged?
- What can we learn from Jesus’ example as He interacts with the woman at the well in John 4:1-26?
- How can you be proactive in educating your kids about God’s design for sex and sexuality in a world where we often see a rebellion against that design?
- John talks about the potential harm we can do by framing conversations about sex in a negative light. How ought God’s design and His positive view of it shape how we talk about sex?