When To Talk to Your Kids About Porn: It’s Earlier Than You Think


Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 1.54.20 PM

Every child will see pornography. After years of studying the impact of pornography on children and its widespread availability, I am convinced of this. Still, most parents optimistically hold to the “not my child” belief. But that’s not what the stats tell us. And with perpetual technological advances, the numbers will only increase. As parents, we must prepare ourselves and we must prepare our children for the moment(s) of early pornography exposure.

You may be asking yourself at what age the conversations about pornography should begin. The answer is alarming and uncomfortable: younger than you think. In the Parents & Caregivers section of her book Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr, author Kristen Jenson shares the following:

“Experts in child abuse prevention and pornography addiction recovery advise parents to begin educating kids about online dangers as soon as they have access to the internet. This includes access from mobile devices owned by friends, family members, teachers, fellow students and babysitters.” 

Do your young children have access to the internet? If so, then it’s time to start taking this topic seriously on behalf of your children….even your very young children.

My children have internet access through various devices and I began educating both of my boys about the dangers of pornography at young ages (girls are also at risk). I read the book Good Pictures Bad Pictures to my oldest son when he was around 6 years old. He memorized the CAN DO plan that prepares children for what to do when they see pornography. Then, when Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr came out, I read it to my 3 year old, teaching him the Turn, Run, & Tell plan. As a parent who is acutely aware of the impact of pornography on children, I cannot tell you how grateful I am so have these books as resources for my children. While I cannot fully prevent my kids from exposure to pornography, I can prepare them to know what to do when it happens, which is vitally important.

Many parents might cringe at the idea of introducing the topic of pornography to their children. They might worry that such conversations could ruin their children’s innocence but this simply is not true. What will spoil their innocence is exposure to pornography that they are not prepared for. As Jenson shares, “parents who arm their young children against the dangers of pornography are not destroying their children’s innocence: They’re protecting it!”

Certainly, talking about pornography with our children in the wrong way would harm them. That is one reason why I love the Good Pictures Bad Pictures books. They present this difficult topic in an age-appropriate way. They do not give children ideas, they give them tools, helping them see pornography as a poison to their brains.

If you are a parent, I recommend the following books preparing to talk with children about pornography (click here for additional resources):

I admit, even thinking about these kinds of conversations can be difficult for parents. Regardless of how uncomfortable this is for us, I believe we owe our children the best shot at responding wisely to early exposure to pornography. There are many challenges our children will experience growing up in this day and age. Let’s prepare them for one of them.

 

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, Clinical Director of LifeSTAR of the Central Valley and author of Life After Lust. If you benefited from this article, please “follow” us on this blog and on Twitter, “like” us on Facebook, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!
Advertisements
Posted in Parents, Teens | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How to Know if a Sex Addict is Really in Recovery (A Podcast Interview)


He Says He's In Recovery, But is it True?
Partners of sex addicts are on heart-breaking and hard journey. One of the many challenges they face is seeking emotional safety within their relationship, which is a difficult skill to master. In many cases, an addict will make promises of change (certainly, they usually want to change). But, based on their history of misusing  words, they often create a situation where words mean nothing and action with the right attitude means everything.
In my recent interview with Betrayal Trauma Recovery, I talked about what constitutes good recovery for an addict and what partners can look for as signs of progress. If you’re a partner of a sex or pornography addict, I encourage you to listen to this podcast (here) and seek the help you deserve. We at LifeSTAR of the Central Valley have served partners for many years and we are here to serve you.
Wishing all partners strength, hope, and healing.
*** For additional partner resources click here
Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, Clinical Director of LifeSTAR of the Central Valley and author of Life After Lust. If you benefited from this article, please “follow” us on this blog and on Twitter, “like” us on Facebook, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!

 

Posted in Addiction, Partner of Sexual Addict, Recovery, Sexual Addiction, trauma | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Fighting Lust With Love: How to Honor, Not Objectify (VLOG)


Fighting Lust with love

Lust is my drug of choice. This has been true for me since adolescence. It helped me cope with life’s challenges but in the end brought many more. Now that I’m in recovery, fighting lust is a daily ideal. Some days are better than others, but I continue to aim for this attainable achievement.

A few days ago I took on a personal challenge, practicing a technique that boosted my ability to fight lust through actively honoring others. I told this story and explained the technique in more detail in my newest VLOG called “Fighting Lust with Love: How to Honor, Not Objectify.”  Click here to watch it and learn more about this powerful tool.

These efforts will all be worth it. As I wrote in my book, “For those ready for recovery, it is time to abandon life under the influence of lust. It is time to lay down our cheap coping mechanisms, taking up strategies that strengthen us. As we leave lust behind, we begin to see ahead the hopeful makings of a new life. We begin to taste the unrivaled satisfaction of life after lust” (Benedict, 2017).

Thank you for reading, watching, and joining me in this life-changing adventure.

 

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, Clinical Director of LifeSTAR of the Central Valley and author of Life After Lust. If you benefited from this article, please “follow” us on this blog and on Twitter, “like” us on Facebook, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!
Posted in Addiction, Female Sexual Addiction, Recovery, Sexual Addiction | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How I Made History Today (A Resource for Partners)


How i made history today_ A podcast interview-2

Today I enjoyed the privilege of being interviewed on the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Podcast. As Anne introduced me, she shared that I was their first male guest in the history of the podcast, an honor I do not take lightly. Our episode will go public in a couple of weeks (I’ll definitely share it here). To be one of the first to listen, you can subscribe to their podcast. Listening to past episodes, I realized the BTR podcast is a goldmine for those seeking help with healing from betrayal trauma.

Today’s episode will provide hope and inspiration to all recovering partners.* I look forward to sharing this historic interview with you all very soon!

*If you’re a partner seeking healing, we are here to help! Click here for additional partner resources.

 

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, Clinical Director of LifeSTAR of the Central Valley and author of Life After Lust. If you benefited from this article, please “follow” us on this blog and on Twitter, “like” us on Facebook, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!
Posted in Partner of Sexual Addict, Recovery, Sexual Addiction, trauma | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding Calm in the Chaos: Facing Fires, Storms, and Suffering


Pursuing Peace

I’ll admit, this week’s been a tough one for me. With friends and family facing unpredictable fires, I have felt concerned and helpless. This morning as I sought my own inner peace amidst these circumstances, I realized I have something to offer those suffering. This piece from my book came to mind. It is all about finding inner calm when facing outer chaos. May this help you manage the fears that come along with being human in a broken world. Peace to you.

Chapter 20

Pursuing Peace When the World’s at War*

Skill to Master #19: Seeking and sustaining inner peace

Our world is in a frenzy of fear. Stories splash across our screens of both global and local terrorist attacks. We witness our world at war. Tragedies, in the forms of accidents and health risks, plague us. We witness a continual stream of messages that scream why we are unsafe in this world.

While we cannot change the uncertainty of the future, our response to this reality will either help or hurt humanity.

When external chaos breeds internal turmoil, we humans can make destructive decisions rooted in our mismanaged fears. In the words of Kristen Neff, “Oftentimes our reactions to these feelings are the most harmful, not the feelings themselves.” Avoiding the escalation of hatred and violence in the world will necessitate the effective management of our fears. I believe this begins with our personal pursuit of peace.

A climactic scene from the movie Kung Fu Panda 2 reflects the power of finding peace in the midst of scary situations. Po the Panda found himself in a frightening situation, standing alone on a rock, surrounded by water, with a powerful cannon pointed directly at him. As his enemy prepared to finish him, Po prepared his heart. He grounded himself. Po tapped into something deeper, something greater. When Po finally found his inner peace, he was empowered to endure the impossible. When the cannon balls boomed, he stood in his strength. The metal spheres made impact. Yet, instead of meeting his end, Po skillfully sent them back to sender. Po’s surprising victory was rooted in the visceral calm he connected with. Similarly, when we experience internal peace, we too can stand our ground amidst the barrage of trials and temptations that torpedo toward us.

The pursuit of inner peace is particularly important for those of us recovering from addiction. We have a history of searching for peace in all the wrong places. We are skilled at calming ourselves by counterfeit means. We know how to numb. But in recovery, we learn to reach for what is real. We learn that peace that is packaged like pornography and decorated like drugs is illegitimate and illusory. Abandoning false paths to peace, we pursue authentic ones.

Peace Quote

May all who long for peace in the midst of life’s terrors and temptations consider the following avenues:

1. Practice Gratitude – In his helpful book This is Your Brain On Joy, Dr. Earl Henslin shares that according to the research “it is impossible to be grateful and loving while also being fearful and angry.” When every day is Thanksgiving, we experience increased freedom from fear.

2. Cultivate Self-Compassion – In managing my own anxiety and working with clients, I have found Kristen Neff’s Self-Compassion Break to be a potent passageway to peace (See Chapter 19 for a description of this exercise). When stress soars, investing in a few moments of self-compassion increases oxytocin, decreases cortisol, and helps us feel both soothed and safe.

3. Create Connection – It is a true treasure when we find others who will respond to our distress in caring ways. Flores writes “regardless of our age or emotional development, we will always require some degree of emotional regulation from others. The denial of the need for others is what leads individuals to seek gratification (e.g., drugs, alcohol, food, sex, gambling, etc.) outside the realm of interpersonal relationships.” When we are frozen in our fears, we can be warmed by the comfort of others.

4. Strengthen the Soul – Nothing calms fear quite like love. This is one reason why spiritual connection is a potent source of peace. When we allow our hearts to be held, anxiety can decrease. Prayer, visualization, music, time in nature, and meditation aimed at strengthening attachment with a Higher Power in times of stress and distress can deepen a peaceful sense of security despite outward circumstances. For many, spirituality also provides hope, strength, courage, and clarity.

As we individually pursue inner peace, our choices will change. Regardless of our political, cultural, and religious backgrounds, our responses to the worries of this world will prove more beneficial to everyone when grounded in calmness, courage, and connection.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with us.**

 

* Copyrighted material. Used with permission.
**From the song “Let There Be Peace on Earth” by Jill Jackson and Sy Miller. Copyright 1955, 1983 by Jan-Lee Music (ASCAP.) Used by Permission; all rights reserved.
Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, Clinical Director of LifeSTAR of the Central Valley and author of Life After Lust. If you benefited from this article, please “follow” us on this blog and on Twitter, “like” us on Facebook, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!
Posted in Inspiration, Recovery, Self-Compassion | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Ethics of Sex: Fresno Bee Article & Radio Interview


Fresno Bee Hustler Article (crop)
This week I had two great opportunities to share my professional and personal perspectives on the local radio and newspaper. I’m grateful for these opportunities and and would love to share them with you.

If you’ve read my book Life After Lust, you’re aware that one component of the book is inviting people to stand against the porn-industry as they recover, learning to connect with their values. The following two resources reflect my response to Hustler’s move into my city. My hope is that this will inspire others to live in alignment with their highest values, whether standing against the porn-industry or doing other meaningful work in the world.

Check out the following two resources:

The Trevor Carey Radio Show (Note: My participation in this show does not mean I or LifeSTAR endorse its political views)

The Fresno Bee (in print too) – The ethics of sex: Hefner & Hustler had them half right  (potential photo trigger warning), based on this well-read article which received over 650 views

May these resources encourage you as you recover from life’s hurts and learn to live in alignment with your values. Please share with anyone who would benefit.

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, Clinical Director of LifeSTAR of the Central Valley and author of Life After Lust. If you benefited from this article, please “follow” us on this blog and on Twitter, “like” us on Facebook, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!

 

 

 

Posted in Anti-Porn Movement, Recovery, Sexual Addiction | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Porn Pandemic


“None of us are protected from the pull of pornography…This is a pandemic. Our world is saturated with sexual addiction.” p 7

Share if you agree.

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, Clinical Director of LifeSTAR of the Central Valley and author of Life After Lust. If you benefited from this article, please “follow” us on this blog and on Twitter, “like” us on Facebook, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!

 

Posted in Addiction, Sexual Addiction | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment