by Floyd Godfrey, LPC, CSAT candidate
Discovery that your teenage son might be addicted to pornography can be a traumatic experience for many parents. Sometimes you found out by stumbling across the history on his laptop. Other times your son has simply confessed to you that he’s having trouble with watching porn. Reports within the past couple years have been clear… people become addicted to pornography. There are emotional and chemical changes that result from using porn. Most teenagers can be obsessive about many things, especially with raging hormones. But if an obsession with porn becomes compulsive, it may have a tendency to become an addiction.
If your teenage son is addicted to pornography you may not notice the impact right away. He may not be aware that changes are occurring inside his mind until it’s too late. The changes are subtle and progressively grow stronger over time.
How do you know if your teenage son is addicted to porn? The following are some common signs to help you evaluate:
1. Does he feel as though he’s out of control, and simply cannot stop even though he promises that he’s going to stop?
2. Does he keep using pornography even though it’s contrary to his personal values?
3. Does he attempt to hide or lie about what he is doing so that you and others don’t find out?
4. When he isn’t using pornography, does he spend time thinking about his next opportunity to use it?
5. Does your son express any fear about getting caught using pornography at places that are inappropriate like school, the library, or at work?
6. Has he ever used pornography at the expense of important activities like school, work or family time?
7. Have you noticed that he often seems disconnected or have a more difficult time engaging socially?
If your son has developed an addiction to pornography, his whole demeanor will change once he’s freed himself from it. However, it’s not a simple process. It can be discouraging. There is no fast or immediate cure. It will be a lot of hard work over the course of time. Most people who successfully overcome an addiction to pornography seek professional counseling as a part of their recovery program. Make sure that you do not shame your son if he makes attempts to stop, but keeps returning to the porn. This is common. Your son is normal. Shaming him or trying to make him feel worse as a way of stopping the behavior usually has the opposite effect. There is nothing innately wrong with him, but he’s probably addicted. Find someone with special training in pornography addiction to help. Call us for a free 15-minute consultation with one of our therapists trained to work with teenagers addicted to pornography in Mesa, AZ (480) 668-8301.