I have a seventeen‑year‑old son, and I have tried to protect him from bad influences. However, there was a time in my marriage when I did not have the desire to have marital relations with my husband, and one of my husband’s reactions was to get pornographic videos and bring them into our bedroom. I didn’t know it at the time, but my son found them in our room and took them, not knowing what they were.

What’s worse is that I only found out a year later. My son says he didn’t watch the videos, but his attitude changed. I was devastated!…

How can I explain to my son why we had those videos in the house?

Dear Friend,

Oh what lessons we learn when it is too late! Hopefully your story will be a warning for other parents and an encouragement to them to rid their houses and cars and offices of any materials to which they would not want their children to be exposed.

In your case, there are two separate issues that we must consider. First, of course your son is old enough to understand that it is normal and good for husbands and wives to have sexual intimacy. That intimacy is not something that is shared with the entire family, but it is also nothing to be ashamed of. It falls into the category of private, but not a secret.

On the other hand, the videos were a secret. The way that you asked your question makes it clear that you understand the destructive nature of pornography and why it is not only dangerous for your son, but also embarrassing for him to know that your husband would have the videos.

The best solution would be for your husband to have a private man‑to‑man talk with your son. He would not talk about your private intimate life as husband and wife, but he would confide in your son that he gave in to temptation during a difficult period of his life, and brought the videos into your home. He now regrets his actions and has determined to never fall into that temptation again. We assure you that at seventeen years of age your son is already well acquainted with sexual temptation, and he would understand what his father was saying. Then your husband would have the opportunity to talk to your son about the dangers of pornography and how it can become an addiction that has the power to destroy normal, healthy relationships. Your husband could also take the opportunity to discuss your son’s sexual purity and the healthy role of sex within the marriage relationship.

Our children know we are not perfect. So they respect us more when we admit our mistakes and use the opportunity to share with them the lessons that we have learned from those mistakes. If, instead, our embarrassment or shame causes us to lie to them, our children will eventually lose some of the respect that they had for us before.

Make the most of this opportunity to communicate with your son and teach him moral values!

Linda and Charles