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What are you telling your kids about porn?

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Now that my oldest is 9, I am starting to think about this. I'm not sure how to approach it. Does anyone have resources? I would like to say just stay away from it, but I have heard most people don't stay away. Ideas?

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I have been honest with my kids that I think it's a terrible habit because it gives people ideas about se#uality that are not realistic in any way, and those ideas are very damaging to some people. I probably should have talked about it more, considering how pervasive it is, but my kids always seemed like good church kids and it didn't seem like a big deal.

 

I just realized that my youngest thinks ALL boys view porn, and it is making her not like boys at all. I'm not sure how to address this with her, but I am going to have to. She isn't being judgy about it, she just thinks that there is no point in liking a boy that is more interested in porn than regular girls, and so she is being rude to all boys who like her because she thinks they all watch porn.

 

 

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Now that my oldest is 9, I am starting to think about this. I'm not sure how to approach it. Does anyone have resources? I would like to say just stay away from it, but I have heard most people don't stay away. Ideas?

Around 9 was my kid's first exposure, when a neighborhood kid brought out an unsecured IPad and was happy to share what he had found out in the yard. So beware.

 

I tell them that it changes who they are and their future relationships, because it does.  I told them that those women are someone's daughter or mother and a beloved creation of God, and how would they like other men ogling their sister or mother in that way?  I have made sure that there is no access in this house, by locking everything down, but that won't help out in the world where everyone unwisely "trusts" their kid. 

 

The locker room at age 11 was a horrendous place, one of mine has told me. Every kid had a completely unlocked smart phone (except mine) and was pulling out that crap all the time and the coaches and parents who went in did NOTHING. 

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I have been honest with my kids that I think it's a terrible habit because it gives people ideas about se#uality that are not realistic in any way, and those ideas are very damaging to some people. I probably should have talked about it more, considering how pervasive it is, but my kids always seemed like good church kids and it didn't seem like a big deal.

 

I just realized that my youngest thinks ALL boys view porn, and it is making her not like boys at all. I'm not sure how to address this with her, but I am going to have to. She isn't being judgy about it, she just thinks that there is no point in liking a boy that is more interested in porn than regular girls, and so she is being rude to all boys who like her because she thinks they all watch porn.

That is really sad.

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And a follow up..what do you do to make sure they don't look at it. My kids have idevices that they listen to audiobooks on at night. Dh thinks eventually we won't want them to have ithings in their rooms. I don't want to go overboard, but I don't want to be naive.

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Interesting that this should come up today, because my kids just came home from school and told me about some things.  One, a boy was showing them a magazine photo and saying things my kids considered inappropriate.  The photo was a shirtless man, which I have repeatedly explained is not "naked," but the comments were kind of R-rated.  They told the teacher (yes, I have tattle-tales in my brood).  Also they were googling Equestria Princess or something on the internet at school, and they said it brought up a picture of a character with no underwear on.  I told them they need to be more careful about how they use the internet.  But yeah, we probably need to have a "talk" soon.  :/

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We talked about it in a matter-of-fact way, that some people post pictures of n*ked bodies online.

 

We taught them not to try to "click" away from the screen as it can open up other screens/photos. We told them to close the laptop or walk away from the computer immediately (and they wouldn't get into trouble). We talked about telling friends to put it away, but haven't run into that yet. We talked about how we use filters. All kinds of things we shouldn't ever have to talk about. Sigh.

Edited by Jaz
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I bought this book and read it. I need to pull it out for my 10 year old. Actually for all my kids. A while back my 7 year old was googling images for "birthday bike" because he wanted a bike for his birthday. Among the images was a bunch of women riding their bikes in their birthday suits! Doh! He was quite confused about why anyone would put a picture like that on the internet. *sigh*

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That book looks like something I should read.  We have our home computer -- which is right in the middle of the first floor -- locked down tight and the boys do not have access to any devices, but their friends are a different story.  

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First, sex is not a taboo topic in our house. Each of the kids has their age range of this series: http://www.amazon.com/Its-Perfectly-Normal-Changing-Growing/dp/0763668729/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

When Punk ran across some porn online he was very disturbed. So we talked about that the images he saw weren't what sex is really like. Then we talked about the problem with porn isn't just that it isn't real, because there are lots of great things that are purely in the realm of fantasy, but that it treats people as things. And there is no situation where people are stripped of their humanity, of the fact that they are individually of value and worth, that is a good thing.

 

We also discuss it as an issue of addiction, with all the other things that fall in that category. 

Edited by *Lulu*
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This--

it treats people as things

 

 

Often, the people on camera are given drugs (esp the girls), too. Not always, but the industry is known for it.

 

I wish I'd done more for my kids re equipping them and making it appalling to them. It's treated so cavalierly on TV.

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And a follow up..what do you do to make sure they don't look at it. My kids have idevices that they listen to audiobooks on at night. Dh thinks eventually we won't want them to have ithings in their rooms. I don't want to go overboard, but I don't want to be naive.

I use OpenDNS Family for my wifi and Qustodio as well. The combination together works VERY well. My children don't have smartphones, though, and DH and I keep our idevices locked.

 

We haven't discussed it too much yet with our kids because they're mostly young. I wasn't told much at all, other than to avoid it, but it really wasn't a big issue when I was a kid. It didn't interest me, and my parents didn't keep it around, and I just don't recall it ever being an issue with my friends. DH says that his dad told him that real women, real s*x, and real love don't look like they do in p*rn, so that's what he'd teach our kids. He also says that he'd tell them that the real thing is way better than any fantasies or anything he could watch.

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This--

 

Often, the people on camera are given drugs (esp the girls), too. Not always, but the industry is known for it.

 

I wish I'd done more for my kids re equipping them and making it appalling to them. It's treated so cavalierly on TV.

 

Yes! Porn is a cheap punchline for so many mainstream sitcoms: Friends, Big Bang Theory, etc. I saw a preview for some new show where a teen boy said he was going to teach his young friend about sex through internet porn (cue the laugh track).

 

I fear for the kids whose parents aren't having these conversations; our culture has largely accepted it and promotes it as normal, funny, enjoyable, and expected as part of the human experience. 

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Interesting that this should come up today, because my kids just came home from school and told me about some things.  One, a boy was showing them a magazine photo and saying things my kids considered inappropriate.  The photo was a shirtless man, which I have repeatedly explained is not "naked," but the comments were kind of R-rated.  They told the teacher (yes, I have tattle-tales in my brood).  Also they were googling Equestria Princess or something on the internet at school, and they said it brought up a picture of a character with no underwear on.  I told them they need to be more careful about how they use the internet.  But yeah, we probably need to have a "talk" soon.  :/

 

A bit OT but doesn't the school have filters on their computers?

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A bit OT but doesn't the school have filters on their computers?

 

I assume so, but I assume they don't catch everything.

 

Then again, it is possible that my kids were confused.  Or maybe they were looking at someone's personal device.

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I'm going to tell them it isn't real. Like reality tv, professional wrestling and The Truman Show, porn is staged pseudo-reality.

 

I'm going to tell them it can be addictive. Like with gambling, alcohol, prescription pain medications, etc, I will take steps to safeguard them as minors, but once they are adults they will need to self-monitor and decide if and to what extent they can responsibly partake.

 

I'm going to tell them that as with all products and activities, they need to keep their eyes wide open and abide by their moral compass. Question, research, take the high road. Consuming porn can support subjugation and unsafe working conditions...so can buying jeans made in Cambodia.

 

I'm going to tell them that if they ever "happen to" see or read pornography that I will answer any questions they have without censure. Just because something occurs in pornography does not make it good/normal/expected, but it also doesn't necessarily make it bad/abnormal/unacceptable.

 

I'm going to tell them viewing porn, either accidentally or on purpose, does not inherently make a person bad, wrong, unhealthy, damaged or doomed. We are not defined by the images we see or the words we read.

 

Wendy

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And a follow up..what do you do to make sure they don't look at it. My kids have idevices that they listen to audiobooks on at night. Dh thinks eventually we won't want them to have ithings in their rooms. I don't want to go overboard, but I don't want to be naive.

iPods etc can be locked onto one app using the Guided Access feature. So at the very simplest level you could lock devices onto the audiobook app before they went to bed and unlock in the mornings.

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I just read a really disturbing article yesterday out of Australia. It just makes me sad....for the girls...for the boys....for everybody involved.

 

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2016/03/07/4420147.htm

Yes I was looking for this link to post. I think maybe the daughter might have a point about the boys.

 

I'm looking for answers as ds is also 9 and friends with several slightly older kids and I can see this being an issue in the near future.

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Among many considerations for how I frame this topic is the cold hard fact that much of the pornography available is exploitative. It's next to impossible to distinguish materials online featuring people who are well paid and fully consenting with the not-at-all rare instances of exploitation, sex trafficking and also of videos and pictures posted without the person's knowledge (ie "revenge porn"). I make no bones about my feelings on the ethics of creating a demand for such materials. Additionally, some of the dynamics portrayed and unrealistic standards in porn are often not healthy for sexual development.

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And a follow up..what do you do to make sure they don't look at it. My kids have idevices that they listen to audiobooks on at night. Dh thinks eventually we won't want them to have ithings in their rooms. I don't want to go overboard, but I don't want to be naive.

No electronics in their rooms. Don't kid yourself. Seriously make this a rule. I touch was the devil in this house.....I thought it was just for music.

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Along with what others have said, Rule 34. If it exists, there's porn for it. I've explicitly told my DD not to go to fan or art pages until I've checked them out. In practice, that usually means only things that are actually run by or monitored by whoever owns the copyrights for the characters. Because, yeah, there's a lot of strange stuff out there tagged with "My Little Pony".

 

I've also had to warn her that by putting her blog/webcomic out there, it is highly likely that eventually some sick person will use her characters in ways she does not intend, and to be prepared for it.

 

Also, if you have kids who like writing/reading fan fiction, make sure they know what slash is and what some of those initials mean (and that if they're on a story, best to avoid it). Even the best, most kid-friendly, monitored sites sometimes have stuff slip through, often reposted from sites which are decidedly not innocent, and often such drive-by posters don't bother to trim the header.

 

And, finally, if you do get into something by accident, it happens. Get out of there, tell us (or, if it happens elsewhere, a trusted adult), and run a virus scan on your computer. The same applies if someone shows you something. You are not at fault, but disengage, change the topic, and let an adult know.

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Kindles, not fires but straight readers, are good for reading at night. I believe some of them will do audiobooks, too.

 

My DD does a summer program which is device free, but does allow straight Kindles and MP3 players.

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i need to talk about it with my kids. I like some of the comments others have made about telling them that it isn't reality and that it can be addictive and change who they are. I just installed NetNanny on all the devices my kids have access to. It does a good job blocking porn. It also has a nice scheduling feature where you can schedule in certain times your kids can be on the internet or you can pick a certain amount of time they can have per day or per week.

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I just read a really disturbing article yesterday out of Australia. It just makes me sad....for the girls...for the boys....for everybody involved.

 

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2016/03/07/4420147.htm

While this is totally disturbing, sexual harassment in schools isn't anything new. It was very bad at the middle school I walked out of (so, when I was all of 12 years old). It was also super common at the first high school I briefly attended. At the high school where I transferred to/graduated it was less common but this was a very progressive environment and people would call it out when it happened, shaming the harasser rather than the target. Unusual school. Edited by LucyStoner

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We watched this video with our kids and found it to be a great way to get the discussion going.

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_x_ijWnjcOY&feature=youtu.be

 

It is religious...but I think it offers some great explanations, so it may be worth a look to see if it would help with your family.

I watched this last night with my 9 and 10 yos. We had a good conversation about it.

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I tell them it's yucky don't do that and don't look at that. 

 

I'm half kidding.  It is very difficult to talk about.  I am not even sure how I feel about it.  On the one hand I value freedom of expression.  And I don't think sex (including stuff I find weird or yucky) is inherently immoral.  But, on the other hand, I sometimes feel repulsed at the idea.  And I'm disgusted that not more is being done to protect people from being mistreated and from being unable to avoid it.  Even here on this board I've seen pornographic images.  I put the blame not on the board owner(s), but on the fact jerks on the Internet do this.  If one wants to see this stuff then fine go and see this stuff.  Don't force me to see it and don't make it so easy for kids to access it.  And if I'm seeing it, my kids are seeing it.  Even if they never had any intention of looking for it.  I mean for crying out loud they bleep out swears on TV (which I think is really stupid).  So we feel the need to protect what we hear on TV, but not against this?  I'm sure there are people who do speak out about it and try to change things, but it doesn't seem like much is being done about it. 

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My concern for my children is early exposure. The earlier the exposure, the greater impact physiologically in the brain and an increased likelihood of developing an addiction.

 

After that, my concerns are:

 

1) the porn industry itself is vile - abusive, exploitive

2) most commercially produced and a significant amount of amateur porn is misogynistic

4) use of under age performers is rampant; use of other persons not able to give authentic consent is rampant

3) overuse of porn has risks to relationships, sexual functioning, intimacy

 

That said, I am not against porn in theory but I don't believe it will ever be produced and offered in a manner that I can be okay with.

 

And I tell my kids - often and in many contexts - what addiction looks like. (Which also includes people like me, their baseball coach, teacher, and the attorney down the street.)

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We watched this video with our kids and found it to be a great way to get the discussion going.

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_x_ijWnjcOY&feature=youtu.be

 

It is religious...but I think it offers some great explanations, so it may be worth a look to see if it would help with your family.

 

 

 

Just wanted to say thanks to both of these posters.  We ordered the book Maize recommended and will be watching the video cougarmom4 recommended.  (I watched it myself yesterday, and the fact that it's an LDS video doesn't bother me.  I can work with that. :))

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My concern for my children is early exposure. The earlier the exposure, the greater impact physiologically in the brain and an increased likelihood of developing an addiction.

 

After that, my concerns are:

 

1) the porn industry itself is vile - abusive, exploitive

2) most commercially produced and a significant amount of amateur porn is misogynistic

4) use of under age performers is rampant; use of other persons not able to give authentic consent is rampant

3) overuse of porn has risks to relationships, sexual functioning, intimacy

 

That said, I am not against porn in theory but I don't believe it will ever be produced and offered in a manner that I can be okay with.

 

And I tell my kids - often and in many contexts - what addiction looks like. (Which also includes people like me, their baseball coach, teacher, and the attorney down the street.)

 

My thoughts almost to the letter. Even when I tried to see what the big deal was about, I couldn't watch it. Like going to the circus and seeing the elephants. I don't care if they look like they're fine with it. I just know too much about how the industry works.

 

Babeland has couples-porn and porn made by and for women by consenting couples. I won't link to it, but if you are okay with sex / porn IN THEORY but like Joanne and I have issues with the reality of that industry, google Babeland (obviously don't Google if you are not of that mind!).

 

An article that discusses the potential for feminist porn is:

 

What Does Feminist Porn Look Like? by pseudonym Russell O'Connor (radical Christian and feminist).

 

​There are also suggestions for feminist, pro-woman, pro-man, pro-human sex-heavy cinematography, i.e. porn.

 

This is clearly  not for someone who views porn as adultery, because it's still looking at another. But if that's not the issue you have with porn and you don't want to present it as a clear "sex is with wife only, end of story, any porn is bad porn", then the article is worth a read.

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My thoughts almost to the letter. Even when I tried to see what the big deal was about, I couldn't watch it. Like going to the circus and seeing the elephants. I don't care if they look like they're fine with it. I just know too much about how the industry works.

 

 

I think this is the bend I will take with this and discussing it with my kids.  I can't tell them it's against my religion or that it is immoral because I don't believe that.  But I really hate the idea that people are being forced and mistreated. 

 

Some here have commented that it is not real.  I can understand saying it is not realistic, but what about it is not real?  (Or do they mean not realistic and I'm just splitting hairs?)  Are they saying that it's completely fake, bodies are touched up, they aren't doing what they appear to be doing?  I do know certainly videos can be faked and fixed. 

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My concern for my children is early exposure. The earlier the exposure, the greater impact physiologically in the brain and an increased likelihood of developing an addiction.

 

After that, my concerns are:

 

1) the porn industry itself is vile - abusive, exploitive

2) most commercially produced and a significant amount of amateur porn is misogynistic

4) use of under age performers is rampant; use of other persons not able to give authentic consent is rampant

3) overuse of porn has risks to relationships, sexual functioning, intimacy

 

That said, I am not against porn in theory but I don't believe it will ever be produced and offered in a manner that I can be okay with.

 

And I tell my kids - often and in many contexts - what addiction looks like. (Which also includes people like me, their baseball coach, teacher, and the attorney down the street.)

How early is early to you?

 

I got to the situation in the yard as quick as it came to my attention but we are still talking about a 9 year old in that case. 

 

I AM against porn in theory.  All things you should not be doing can become entrenched habits.  I don't care what they are. Donuts.  Porn. Shopping. Alcohol. Random sex. 

Have you ever noticed we don't have any salad addicts? 

Edited by TranquilMind

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How early is early to you?

 

I got to the situation in the yard as quick as it came to my attention but we are still talking about a 9 year old in that case.

 

I AM against porn in theory. All things you should not be doing can become entrenched habits. I don't care what they are. Donuts. Porn. Shopping. Alcohol. Random sex.

Have you ever noticed we don't have any salad addicts?

We aren't supposed to shop, eat donuts, or drink wine?

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We aren't supposed to shop, eat donuts, or drink wine?

Not to the point where it is affecting your life.  If it is, then for you, it is a problem to be eliminated. 

 

Porn has no upside.  No one needs it and if you do, you have bigger problems.  No one needs donuts either, for that matter, but it is not a problem for some people who could not care less if they ever have one or not. 

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How early is early to you?

 

I got to the situation in the yard as quick as it came to my attention but we are still talking about a 9 year old in that case. 

 

I AM against porn in theory.  All things you should not be doing can become entrenched habits.  I don't care what they are. Donuts.  Porn. Shopping. Alcohol. Random sex. 

Have you ever noticed we don't have any salad addicts? 

 

 

Definitely before 14, and still impactful physiologically as the brain develops to 25(ish).

 

The rest of your post is a non sequitur to my position.

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Have you ever noticed we don't have any salad addicts? 

 

I think you're looking at it backwards.

 

Doing too much of something is what is wrong, not that whatever is wrong, we do too much of.

 

There are dieting addicts. Many of them become anorexic and die of it.

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Not to the point where it is affecting your life.  If it is, then for you, it is a problem to be eliminated. 

 

Porn has no upside.  No one needs it and if you do, you have bigger problems.  No one needs donuts either, for that matter, but it is not a problem for some people who could not care less if they ever have one or not. 

 

 

You do realize this is opinion, not fact, right?

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Definitely before 14, and still impactful physiologically as the brain develops to 25(ish).

 

The rest of your post is a non sequitur to my position.

I understand.  It is my position.

But thanks.  I was hoping you would say earlier than that!  Eww. 

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You do realize this is opinion, not fact, right?

You are really poised to argue that porn has value?

 

No, not conceding that it is an opinion.

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You are really poised to argue that porn has value?

 

No, not conceding that it is an opinion.

 

I'm not going to debate the specific merits of pornography in this forum.

 

But I think that video and print media that focus on the pleasure of observing the sex act itself (versus a story in which sex appears), i.e. porn, have value. I also view some sub-genres of romance novels as porn, frankly, and I do think they have value.

 

I also think chocolate covered caramel, while inferior to "real food", has value. As does chewing gum, and I'm not opposed to a Coca-Cola once in awhile, either. So I would say many things that should be enjoyed only in moderation, which can harm us if we have too much, have value, yes.

 

That said I think that Joanne and I both believe--based on what she wrote--that the current porn industry does not give the value that could be there, due to the abuse of humans in the production of porn.

 

Edit to add: I believe that the reason the industry is so abusive is the fact that it is illicit. Like the legalization of coffee and alcohol and recently marijuana, while these things are addictive, certainly keeping them regulated and out in the open is preferable to keeping them all black market. One would hope that the legalization of pornography would allow more law-abiding, decent people to participate in ways that respect their own bodies. And as a matter of fact, file sharing and easy video production have allowed married couples to share videos between one another on mutual sharing networks, without abusing anyone's financial or social desperation. That porn would presumably not be available to a young teen but it highlights the fact that removing a taboo or illegality of something can create conditions for legal and positive trade of that thing. "If porn is criminal, only criminals make porn" type of thing. And those running that show have often been found to have blatant disregard for the human rights of the actors. But removing that constraint allows for a very different type of person to participate.

Edited by Tsuga
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But thanks.  I was hoping you would say earlier than that!  Eww. 

 

 

I'm not sure I understand this comment. My answer to your question was anything earlier than 14 is of *greater* concern.

 

Help me understand your comment before I respond?

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Well I was on a raw broccoli kick once and overdid it.

I once snacked on carrots so much that my breast milk turned orange. Seeing that in the freezer sure did freak out dh.

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Joanne's post sums up a lot of reasons why to be concerned.

I just want to add that a group of psychologists has published a resource called "Every Young Man's Battle." There is also one titled "Every Man's Battle" geared for adults.

I am not sure if 9yo is too young for 'Every Young Man's Battle." I would check it out or call New Life to see what they recommend. Because of the principles represented in "New Life" this resource is likely based on some biblical guidelines (I have never seen an actual copy) just so you know.

There is likely a lot more out there. If anyone else knows of some other resources, post them here. This is an important topic.

 

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