Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Good Pictures Bad Pictures

I don't claim to be an expert in parenting. I realize that my experience is very limited. My situation is unique, and what my family and I experience can be very different from what other families experience. But when I find something really great that works for our family, that is a solution to a problem that we (and others might) face, I can't help but pass it on.

Like you, maybe, I have wanted to talk to my children about the dangers of pornography for a long time, but I wasn't sure how to go about it. It can be such an uncomfortable subject. I was nervous. I didn't think they were ready. I didn't want to shatter their innocence by talking about something so yucky. The truth is, I was always able to come up with a hundred excuses to put it off a little longer.

On the recommendation of a friend, I purchased the book Good Pictures Bad Pictures. And then it sat under my bed for a few months, gathering dust. But on the heels of a really great Relief Society lesson last Sunday, I felt prompted to share it with my kids now. I couldn't put it off any longer. The risk is too great. Did you know that 100% of teenagers will be exposed to pornography by the time they are 18? 100%! It's actually not that shocking to me. Pornography is everywhere. On every newsstand, on many billboards, definitely all over the internet and so, so easily accessible. I believe that it is Satan's number one tool for destroying families these days. I wasn't willing to risk mine for one more minute.

So on Monday night, after we had fun at the park, we piled onto the couch and read Good Pictures Bad Pictures together as a family. And then we talked about it! And it wasn't awkward! Oh! I can't speak highly enough about this book. It explains pornogrpahy in a way that even my Stella could understand. It teaches about addiction, and how an addiction to pornography can change your brain and damage your ability to have meaningful relationships later in life. It tells kids about their "feeling brain" and their "thinking brain" and how those two brains work together to keep them safe. And it puts it all in such a way that they can understand and then act on what they have learned. One of my favorite parts is the plan of action it describes in case they are ever exposed to pornography. It teaches them to look away, to alert an adult, how to distract themselves from the memory of the harmful images, and how to put their "thinking brain" in charge so that they don't become susceptible to addiction.

Reading this book together started the conversation. It made it comfortable and easy. And now I feel confident to continue the conversation with my children, because it really is something that needs to be ongoing.

If this is something you are worried about, I can't recommend this book highly enough.

This talk by Sister Reeves, Protection from Pornography - A Christ-Focused Home, from our last General Conference and this article from the Ensign, Healing Hidden Wounds, are good references on the subject, too.


  1. Thank you for sharing this!!!! We were just talking about this with my 11 yr old son. Have been using "How to talk to your kids about sex" By Linda and Richard Eyre. (they are members) WONDERFUL book that covers so many topics that need discussing between 8 yrs and 18 yrs! This book look likes a great compliant I am ordering it today!

  2. I just bought this book too, it came in the mail last week. I haven't read it with my kids yet, but I did read it myself, and thought it did a beautiful job of explaining not only what should be done but why. I think it will be helpful for my kids. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. that sounds awesome. and i do think you're an expert, steph!

  4. thank you for such valuable parenting information. this is why i love your blog so much.

  5. Good to know. Thanks for sharing. I agree, I don't ever know where to start with things like this. I want them to know about it, but I don't want them dwelling on it, ya know? And I agree that it can never be too early to teach our kids.

  6. fantastic! Thanks for the recommendation!!

  7. Steph do not put yourself down because you are an expert and give very good information too others, The way you handled the subject was great and I am sure others will do the same after reading your blog. Hugs

  8. This book sounds really interesting. The illustrations are lovely.

    As Pope John Paul II so wisely said in his brilliant 'Theology of the Body', "The problem with pornography is not that it reveals too much, but that it reveals too little." (About the truth and beauty of the human person - made in the image and likeness of God and therefore innately good! - and the true meaning of the sexual act.)

    We need to teach our children that there is a person behind pornographic images: a person who, just like all of us, is made in God's image and likeness and who hungers for love and acceptance! Somebody's son or daughter! We need to help our young people understand the hurt and pain that comes from the pornography industry and how it exploits both the subjects and the viewers.

    Like you say, it's everywhere and it's hard not to see - on billboards, lining up at the supermarket, etc. Something we can encourage our children to do immediately if they see such images is to pray for that person.

  9. We are right now in the middle of reading this book as a family, with children ranging from Elementary through High School age. This is a great book with easy to understand explanations that are clear, yet not uncomfortable to talk about. I found myself talking to one of my children concerning a choice his friend was making and when we put it in the "thinking brain vs. feeling brain" perspective, it made it very clear to him. Great way to look at things other than pornography as well. I would recommend this book!

  10. That is a great idea! Do you guys do any kind of blocking software that you like? My oldest is only 10, so she really hasn't had any unsupervised time on the computer, but I think maybe it's time but have no idea where to start???

    1. hi beth. we use something called open dns. it is a filter on our router, so no device that is using our wifi is able to access garbage. i know there are a lot of things like this out there, but we really what we have!

  11. What a great book! I've been very refreshed recently at the attitude around pornography among my peers. People are finally getting how harmful it is. Education is power.


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