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[MUSIC PLAYING] Thanks for tuning in forGospel Solutions for Families on the Mormon Channel. This show is all about offeringpractical, relevant tips for raising children in faith. I’m your host, Amy Iverson. Today we dive into a topic wewish we didn’t have to discuss, but open communication,knowledge, and relying on the Spirit arekey to preventing or dealing with this tough issue. I’m talking about pornography. In October 2010 conference,Elder Boyd K. Packer said: “We raisean alarm and warn members of the Church towake up and understand what is going on. Parents, be alert, ever watchfulthat this wickedness might threaten your family circle.” Joining me today are twowomen who feel strongly about the need totalk about pornography within our families. Sister Linda S. Reeves is theSecond Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency. Her degree is inspecial education, and she has 13 children. She loves to travel andlearn about new cultures. Also joining me is marriage andfamily therapist Angie Cella. She is a sex addictionand trauma therapist, and Angie has four boys. Thank you both for being here. Thank you. Sister Reeves, inyour conference talk where you addressed thisa couple of years ago, you stressed theimportance that part of the reasonwe’re here on earth is to manage our passions. And I think we have totalk to our kids young. And when we do, how importantis that to point out to our kids that these intimatefeelings that they may be having are God-given? I think it makes all thedifference in the world, especially as membersof the Church, for us to know thatHeavenly Father, as you say, has given us these feelings. They are the feelings thatcause us to want to get married and to want to have thatintimate relationship that we can with a spouse that causesyou to bond to each other, to love each other more,and to plan together. And I think the keyword there is manage, so we have to learnhow to manage it. And Angie, you talkedabout, with pornography, even if kids goseeking this out, we have to remember,and treat them as such, that they’re still good kids. Right. Right. I think it gets really easybecause pornography is bad, and pornography is the enemy. It can be easy to sometimespin that on our kids. But we’ve got to keep in mind,our kids are not the enemy; porn is the enemy.

Default free download porn game androidporn is the enemy. Our kids aren’t bad;their natural curiosity is going to come up. They naturally want to knowabout these kinds of things, and what we need to dois help steer them away from that andtowards us so that we can be the one answeringthose questions and help them know they arereally good kids just having normal curiosity comeup, and we’re going to support them through that. It is true. We are all children ofour Heavenly Father. Even those who havemade terrible mistakes are good people and belovedof our Heavenly Father. And thankfully, He’s providedour Savior and His Atonement for us, that we can beclean and good again. Let’s start at the beginning. So we talked about theneed to talk to your kids about this early. We hear, Angie, allthe time, it’s not if but when this will happen. Your children will comeacross it either by accident or searching it out. So when that happens, let’sgive some practical tips here. When that happensthe first time, and either your kid comesto you or you catch them, what do we do as parents? First of all, take a breath. Take a nice deepbreath because you’re going to have some feelingsabout what happened. And so I would even backup a little bit more and say you needto get prepared. You need to know thatit’s not if but when, and so you need to beprepared as much as you can, knowing that that’s going to bestartling for you as a parent. Yeah. Before this everhappens, prepare. Prepare, right? So you find out, youtake that deep breath, and then you say, “Hey, you’vejust seen some pictures. Do you know what that is?” Ask questions. Get curious. That’s the number-one thing thatI tell parents: Get curious. If you’re curious,you’re out of judgment. So get curious, be–learn to becomfortable yourself with being uncomfortable, becauseif you’re uncomfortable, your kids are going to feelit, and it can’t be an open dialogue. If they’re feeling thatyour discomfort–that you’re uncomfortable, they’regoing to want to not say anything to upset you. So if you can go into thatbeing calm and saying, “Let’s have an opendialogue about this,” they’re going to be calm. And now they’re goingto start to talk, and you can ask, “Howare you feeling?” Help them make senseof their feelings, because they’re goingto be having feelings.

1 free download porn game androidbecause they’re goingto be having feelings. Normalize, like you said. “These are God-givenfeelings, and this is the wrong time and the wrongplace and the wrong atmosphere. But one day”–right? “One day this will be abeautiful experience for you, but this isn’t that.” And help them understandthe difference between a healthy, loving sexualrelationship and pornography. They’re not the same thing. And I love the two wordsyou said: “Hug them.” I did. When this happens, hug them. Show them love. And also, those are some greatthings to do–there are some certain things we shouldnot do, certain ways we shouldn’t react. Tell me about those. Well, the dialogue thatyou have is so important. And to overreact, tomake them feel shame, to make them feel like they’redoing a bad thing, I mean, it’s–all of us, we know. We go to the grocery store. No matter where you go all day,you’re going to run into it, it seems. And I think there’s apoint at which children start to recognize,often very young, that there’s something wrong. This does not feel good. And so for them to come toyou, like you’re saying, is a huge plus ifthey do come to you. And I love what you say aboutasking questions, Angie, because that, as you say,also opens up the dialogue, but it helps themto feel that you are interested andconcerned about them. And listening isso important too. Yeah. I think we have to be so carefulnot to react with anger, which can be easy to do,or shock, that shame that you talked about. All of those things. You have to make sure that youare ready when it happens so that you don’t react that way. So those are some greattips for parents, I think. Breathe, hug, don’t judge, love. What about for that kid, though? What do we tell them to do now? Now that we’ve kind of gone overthat hump that everyone’s going to go over, what do–what dowe tell our kids to do next? Well, in my own situationwith my own children, when this has come upat different stages, especially if they’refeeling guilt or shame or embarrassment–and oftenit is not their fault. But in any case, to kneel downand go to their Heavenly Father and plead with Him and ask forHim–His help–is the first thing I have saidto my children. And to do that togetheris a sweet thing as a parent and a child. I like that.

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2 free download porn game androidI like that. I like to do it together. So you’re not just going,”You need to go pray,” but do it with themand guide that. And you also talked abouthaving them kind of examine what happened when it happened. So are they spendingtoo much time alone in their bedroom with theirphone, or things like that too? Well, absolutely. To have themrecognize, “When am I having these feelings,these temptations? Where am I? Who am I with? What am I doing? What are the things that arelikely to bring this on again?” Those are the things that,especially as a child gets older, they can list and reallythink about, and then make a plan. Having a cell phone in thebedroom and a door shut is always a bad idea these days. We used to not have to worryabout that, but you do now. And, if I could say, I lovethe idea of–Elder Ballard gave a wonderful talk in the April2016 general conference where he talked about family councilsand to counsel together with your children andto set boundaries, set rules with them. In fact, the more that they’reinvolved in that, the better. And to have them evenchoose consequences is a wonderful thing, too. Yeah. My children alwayskind of get shocked when I say, “What do you thinkyour consequence should be?” But usually they choosesomething pretty appropriate. And it often iseven harder than– What you would have done? Yes. And Angie, you talkedabout the importance of teaching them to talkto a grown-up about it. So it may not even be you ifthey don’t feel comfortable. Right, right. I mean, you know,there’s a grandparent, there’s maybe anaunt or an uncle, there’s maybe aclose family friend. Someone that you know is goingto give good, solid advice and support. The most importantthing is–you know, I think there’s two–you askedthe question “What do we do now that they’ve seen it?” And I think there’skind of two situations. One is the child who’sjust seen it and is shocked and doesn’t knowwhat to do with it. Right. It pops up from agame or something. And the other is a child who’sbeen viewing it for a while and actually may have aproblem at that point. So I think there’s a littlebit kind of different tactics to take. But in either oneof those situations, we want to helpour kids understand

3 free download porn game androidwe want to helpour kids understand what they’re feeling. So that trustedadult, someone who’s already navigated thecomplexities of understanding feelings and emotionsand problem solving, to have that personto sort of anchor with and ask those importantquestions and problem solve. Because we want to raise kidsto be functioning adults, right? We’re not raisingkids to be kids. So teaching them,asking those questions, “What do you think?”–thatis an amazing life skill. And of course, let’s putit to work on the topic of pornography–anything. We’re going to useit for anything. But helping them makesense and make meaning of what they felt,how confusing it is to feel excited andinterested and curious on one hand and heavy and darkand sick on the other, and they’re feelingit at the same time. And usually it’sgoing to take an adult to help someone who hasn’tnavigated this to get through those murky waters. Let’s talk about those kidswho have been viewing it for a while and they like it,and they don’t–maybe they don’t want to stopat this point. And I have heard kidsask, “Who does it bother?” I’ve heard adults ask this. “Why does it matter? Who does it hurt if I’m just–ifnobody else knows and I’m just doing it?” What do we say tothem, Sister Reeves? Well, the consequences, orthe negative consequences that come from pornographyare wide and broad. First of all, lossof the Spirit is one of the most negativethings that happens. But along with that,our self-esteem suffers, our relationshipswith other people, future relationships,future dating and marriage relationships. People become objects insteadof this loving relationship. Often deceit andlying is involved. [INAUDIBLE] And I think your self-mastery,your ability to control your life, becomes–it justcontinues on a downward spiral. Yeah. I think those are all so clearto us as we’re looking at it. But how do we help our teenagerknow that that is actually true and that that is going to bea problem later in their life? I think our teens are so smart. They really are. They are bright, andthey are curious, and they are–they want answers,and so we need to give them answers. Legitimate answers. We need to be able to sit andbreak it down and say–one of the things thatI would say is, “This is changing thestructure of your brain. This part of your brainthat puts on the brakes, that says ‘Slow down, maybe notright now’–you’re weakening that.” And that’s whatyou just mentioned, their ability to make other lifechoices, to weigh consequences. It’s actually changingthe structure of the brain once an addiction is in place. And that midbrain wherewe feel our emotions, and there’s that impulsivityand the part that says “Yes, go, now,” it hijacksthe whole brain. So I think we need tohelp our kids understand. It’s hard because on one hand,our teenagers–their prefrontal cortex, it’s notdone developing. Right. And that’s theirability to weigh. So we’re talking to themabout weighing options when they are notquite fully developed, but they’re learning. Well, I like that because whilethey may not under–or maybe they don’t value even, atthis point, losing the Spirit, maybe that makes sense to thembecause there are kids who will say, “Oh, I would never do drugsbecause then it takes control of your life,” thatthis is so similar. Well, and I thinkkeeping in mind, it’s not a–it’s nota one or another; it’s not the body or the Spirit. It’s everything. This is impactingyou spiritually, talking about how does thatimpact your spirit, how does this impact youphysically in the brain? And then how does thattranslate into your behaviors and your feelingsand your emotions? Pornography is not somethingthat just impacts one angle; it is impactingevery single angle of a person who isviewing it, from emotions to thoughts to behaviors. So you are aprofessional therapist. How do we know–becauselike we said, every family is going tohave to deal with this. I think that we allknow that at this point. But there is a differencebetween someone who looks at it once andthen done, or even the kid who maybe a couple of timesover a couple of years, and the child who is havingserious problems, or an adult. How do we know when toseek professional help? You know, there’s a few–I get alot of people coming in saying, “I have an addiction,I have an addiction.” And I’m going to do acomplete assessment. And often I say,”Actually you don’t meet an addiction criteria. But what I hearyou telling me is, you’re participatingin things that are against your values system. How do we make that align?” Right? So we do need to make space thatviewing pornography does not necessarily indicate addiction. Addiction, I’m going to belooking for, you’ve tried to stop but you can’t. Your behaviors haveincreased in frequency or in content over time. Maybe you start lookingoff–looking at swimsuits, and pretty soonyou’re into this, and next you’re intohardcore pornography. And so there’s movement; it’sprogressively getting worse. And also there’s sort of,like, a secrecy factor. You’re hiding it. Why? You’re feeling reallycrummy about it. You’re not feeling goodabout yourself, and over time to hold that, it’s going to justaggravate the behaviors even more. You’re going to end up usingmore porn and more porn because it’s goingto numb your brain, and then you don’t haveto feel that shame. So looking atfrequency, how often is the behavior escalating? That’s what I would want. At least seek a professional’scounsel at that point. They may tell you no. “Just do this for now.” Yeah, for now. But at least you’regetting some consultation, and it kind of helps youstabilize and ground. And what aboutapproaching a bishop? Yes. We have so many greatleaders, and a bishop has great leaders around him. It may be that a YoungWomen president or Young Men president couldstep in and help. Confidentiality is hugewith this issue, however, and we recognize that. But bishops do wantto help, and they have a feeling, I think, for”I can’t handle this anymore,” although there are otherpeople within a ward that could be great mentors. Again, that confidentiality,especially with youth, is so, so important. And there are somegreat resources. And I want to make sure wecover resources for parents, but there are also resourcesfor spouses, whole families who are struggling. Sister Reeves? Well, the addiction recoveryprogram is a wonderful program that the Church has. There are physical meetingsthat people can go to. They’re not just for the addictbut for spouses and family, as you’re mentioning. But if a kid isjust too mortified to go to a meeting,what is the next step? And even with our youth,it gets really tricky. We’ve had some pilotprograms for youth, but the confidentiality,again, and laws protecting them, which are wonderfullaws, prohibit us from doing a lotalong those lines. But the Church magazines dohave a lot of great articles. The overcomingpornography.orgwebsite has a lot of wonderful articles. If you check with theFriend and the New Era, there are articles coming ata fairly regular basis that are really helpful. Yeah. And what do you thinkabout the resources? What resources wouldyou suggest, Angie? There are some reallygreat books out. There’s books more for youngerkids, like maybe 12 and under. There’s some booksmore for, like, 12 and above that either teenscan read on their own, or parents and teenscould read together, or just parent read it becauseit’s just great information. There’s wonderful websiteswhere we’re really helping our parents, kids,teens, all of them understand, “Here’s what’s reallyhappening to the brain,” really making meaningand sense out of this. And those are thekind of resources I would be looking for, howto make sense out of it. There’s so much research. Donald L. Hilton, heis a neurosurgeon, and he has written a book calledHe Restoreth My Soul, talking all about the brain,talking about how it’s impacting things. Jill Manning, shewrote a book called What’s the Big Dealabout Pornography Anyway? And she goes to reallyspeak to teens and parents within the book. There’s another book calledGood Pictures Bad Pictures. Excellent book for–I mean,even my 12-year-old can sit down and read that. We’ve read it together,but I can hand it to him and say, “Go ahead.” And it’s safe, and I knowthere’s nothing in there that I wouldn’t feelcomfortable with. And there’s websites. Jill Manning has put togetheran amazing organization to combat pornography, alongwith authors of Good Pictures Bad Pictures. They’ve done the same things. And that PDF, I notice, isavailable online for free. It is. It’s free. They’ve got threedifferent types of PDFs for parents, forkids, for teens. There’s been a lot of researchby a man named Dr. Patrick Carnes. He was kind of thefounding father of treating sex addiction. There is just–if you wantto find it, it’s there. And you should want tofind it, as a parent. Angie, you talked tome about something I thought was so important. And it’s a little morepreventive in a way, but you talked aboutmodeling the way our Savior is to our childrenand how important that is. When we act as a lovingHeavenly Father would or as a loving Saviorwould, they then will be more willing toseek out our Heavenly Father in their struggles. Can you talk about that? Yeah. You know, as we’re tryingto teach our children about Heavenly Father and thisall-powerful, loving Father, what they have to relate that tois these all-powerful parents. So what happensis, as we parent, if we’re the kind of parent thatwe are judging and criticizing and then we say,”Go pray,” they are going to start to formulatethe image that their Heavenly Father is critical andjudging and vindictive. And so as parents, I just lovethe example of Jesus Christ with the woman who wasbrought to Him in adultery. And one of the things I lovedis that when everybody sped up, and you can just imaginethe energy was high and everybody waspicking up stones and they were readyto throw them, He scoops down and draws in thesand, and very quietly says, you know, “Those ofyou who haven’t sinned, cast the first stone.” And people quietly walk away. When everybody spedup, He slowed down. And He didn’t make her feel tinyor small; He didn’t tell her she was bad orundeserving of love. He didn’t say, “Now go prayto your Heavenly Father and ask for forgiveness!” He said, “Whereare thine accusers? Go your way; don’t sin anymore.” I just imagine that beingsuch a loving encounter, and that’s the tactic weneed to take with our kids. And as we model that, they willlearn a loving Heavenly Father. Now, if we don’t modelthat, guess what? They’re resilient, and thereis that loving Heavenly Father, and hopefully they’regoing to find a way to get to know Him as He reallyis at one point in their lives. So there’s alwayshope, no matter what. Yes. I love the idea of hope inevery topic we talk about. And Sister Reeves, if we messedup when our kids were young, we can still change and tellthem, “Oh, I messed up.” And we can say we’resorry and tell our kids we’re going to do better, too. We can. I love this because Iagree so much that we are our children’s imageof our Father in Heaven and our Savior–beautifullysaid, thank you–and yes, that our Father is so loving. He knew when we came to thisearth that we would mess up, and that’s why Heprovided our Savior for us and why our Saviorwas willing to do what He did for us,that we can receive that forgivenessand that healing. And something lovelyyou said, Sister Reeves, is that somethingparents can do, which I feel likegives me power, is pray to help–pray to knowhow we can show our children that we love them. Sometimes we as parentsthink we’re doing it right, but we just needthat extra help. And He will always help us. Well, He will. And you bring to mindthe things that we need to do in our home tohelp to keep the Spirit there and to help the children feelthat love of our Heavenly Father. And certainly ourdaily scripture study and our prayer and having familyhome evening and these things that do bring love in the home,that do cause parents to step back and say, “Hey, are wedoing the important things that will help bring the Spirit inour home and help our children feel this love?” And sometimes,especially when we have kids dabblingin pornography, they don’t want to come. They don’t want to bepart of family prayer; they don’t want to bepart–what do we do then? You continue to haveit, and you continue to invite them with love. Not with coercion,but with love. And I know that aswe do those things, that there is a spiritthat comes into the home. And whether those children feelit today or next week or years from now, it will be theresomewhere in their hearts and in their mindsand draw them back. Angie, you dealwith this every day. What hope is there for parentsand spouses who feel paralyzed, who feel like they don’t knowwhat to do and there’s no hope? Well, I think,start off by knowing that your kids are resilient. They really are. And just like we’ve beenthrough really hard things, they’re going to gothrough hard things and they’re going to learnhow to come out on top. They’re going tohave to wrestle, and they’re goingto have to struggle. And as much as wewant to prevent–boy, do I want to prevent myboys from struggling–we can’t prevent all of it. There are going to be somewrestles they’re going to have, and so we do the verybest that we can, knowing that Someoneelse above knows our kids far better than we do. Someone knows whatto bless them with and when to bless them withwhatever it is that they need. We do the best we canknowing our kids are strong, we’re strong. And if the number-one thingwe put at the priority, always number one,is this relationship, not image managing–“I want tolook like my family is OK”–not fear and anger, but if themost important thing is the relationship between meand my child and doing nothing to damage that while beingfirm and holding fast to what your beliefs are and yourvalues system–years later, it might take years, right? You can’t–it’s the whole plan. Agency, right? But they have something. They have roots to comeback to if they need to. And Sister Reeves,I think also we can take some comfortas parents in knowing that, as you reminded me,Heavenly Father trusted us with these childrenand will help us. He has so much love for usand is so–I am convinced–so anxious to give us theanswers that we need. But it’s not animmediate thing, is it? It’s an ongoing–it’s a lifetimeof effort and seeking that inspiration. But knowing that our HeavenlyFather wants us back, He’s not putting roadblocksin our way on purpose. And we sometimes wonder, whyall this evil at this time? But He has given us solutionsand help, great help. Thank you both so much foryour insights on this today. I appreciate it. We want to thank both of theseladies for their insights on protecting ourfamilies from pornography. Sister Linda S. Reeves is theSecond Counselor in the Relief Society GeneralPresidency, and Angie Cella is a marriage and familytherapist who focuses on sex addiction and therapy. And thank you all for tuning in. Gospel Solutions for Familieson the Mormon Channel. Subscribe to the podcast onmormonchannel.org, the Mormon Channel app, or on iTunes. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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