Being a boys father

General Posted by dewtattoo 5 years, 10 months ago

Hi guys,

Today I want to talk about something that most of our parent didn't have to deal with..... The easy access to porn.

I want to start this thread by mentioning that I am 49-years-old now. I was married for 20-years, but my first wife and I never had any children. I recently got remarried (last August) to a wonderful lady who has 1 son. She and I have been together almost 4-years now, and he really looks up to me. He likes to mimic the things I do, my style of clothing, and the stuff I enjoy.

With that being said, my 12-year-old stepson is now going through puberty. He's getting taller, developing some acne, and dealing with all those goofy changes.

This morning I was getting ready to leave for work and his cellphone alarm started going off. It was barely after 5 am yet his mom doesn't wake him up for school until 6 am, so she tiptoed into his room to turn off the alarm. When she opened his phone to shut off the alarm she was greeted by the photo of a naked lady. Apparently he had been looking at nude women last night and didn't shut down Google when he was done. His mom closed Google by hitting the back button, which scrolled through several more pages of nude ladies before it closed out Google completely.

The boy didn't wake up during any of this, so he doesn't know what his mom has discovered.

How would you guys deal with this?

I told his mom that I would deal with it, and to not mention anything to him. I don't want him feeling shamed. I plan to tell him that I am the one that shut his alarm off while he slept, and that I saw the pictures on his phone. I plan to tell him that looking at those types of photos is okay, but at the same time it is not good to objectify women.
His mother and I don't want him to have an unhealthy obsession with naked women.

I want to approach this subject gracefully without making him feel like he has done something wrong. I remember when I was his age. I had magazines hidden in my room, and I turned out okay. Of course, I didn't have the pornographic cornucopia that is the internet in my greedy little hands when I was his age either.

My stepson has a very close relationship with his mom, so I don't believe he will have an issue objectifying women. All I can do is try my best to explain this stuff to him.

So what do you guys think? I would love to hear from some fathers in this group that may have gone through similar situations with their sons. Or just some general advice from any of you guys. We are all dudes here. We've been through puberty. How do you guys feel I should approach this?

His mom was shocked, but she is not mad at him. She's mostly worried about him having an unhealthy fixation with nude women, and, ironically, she wants me to point out to him that those ladies are not "real", in the sense that most women are not super petite and have breasts the size of ripe watermelons.

On a closing note ....and this might not be very "politically correct", but I am happy to now know that he is straight.

15 replies

  • glen

    I wish I could forget this period of my life, but I remember it surprisingly well.

    I think every kid experiences it differently, and I'm glad I have a few years to think about this more before my kids are this age.

    I think you're definitely on the right track, and that emphasizing that what's on the Web isn't real, and shallow at best. Brett at Art of Manliness did a whole series on the effects of pornography for men, and it's really well done.


    • glen

      I should also add: Good on you for being proactive in the boy's life, even with uncomfortable topics such as this. It's not easy navigating these waters, but he'll thank you when he's older.

      I tip my cap.


    • dewtattoo

      Thanks Glen. I'm going to read that article now.

      For a little follow up on the story. I had a talk with him yesterday, and he wasn't even phased. When I told him that I saw the pics on his phone, his reply was, "oh".

      I told him that looking at those types of pics on his phone is okay, and that lots of guys do it. But I reminded him that those ladies aren't really a good representation of the kind of girl that will be your girlfriend. And I told him that if he's going to look at those pics that he needs to cover his tracks better because he doesn't want his mom seeing that stuff.

      He just kind of shrugged it off, so I told my wife that she better brace herself because she's going to eventually catch him. LOL


  • Chet_Manly

    This is a great topic and we don't discuss this stuff enough. I would like to think about it more and come back with a better response but my first impressions: Like Glenn, I have a couple years before I face this issue with my own kids but I have dealt with it myself for years.

    • It IS addictive.

    • It really can screw with a man's head regarding what a real woman's expectations are in a marriage.

    • The physical aspect of real women not looking like my opinion, that's trivial compared to the lack of understanding of what intimacy with a woman really like.

    • I'm sure some guys can be around it and not be phased at all, I know because of my attraction to it in my youth and premarriage days, I have come to avoid it completely now.

    In college I drank a lot, but stopping that was easy for me. I avoided drugs because though I was around them they never held appeal to me. But stopping myself from accessing porn on the internet has been the toughest thing I've had to do.

    I wouldn't take it lightly. These are his formative years and if you're able to help him find ways to avoid giving in to what may become a need, that could help him.

    I don't have a great solution for you, unfortunately, but I'll share what I've done to help myself.

    I grew up without internet in my house (it was pre-internet in those days anyways) and I learned to just use my mind to shift away from that when my mind would wander to girls. I was his age when I learned to do this. Being able to recognize that when an idea came into my head, I could shift away from it by intentionally thinking about something else has helped me with many other things in life. It's kind of a mental mastery of the situation. I'm trying to teach my kids to do the same thing when they are bored or have issues of some sort. The self-control and solution all starts in the mind. I am grateful that, in 7th grade, I got tired of the constant horniness and decided to try and find a way to do something about it...I was not as self-disciplined as a young adult.

    But if your son isn't bothered by it then I'm not sure how to handle that. I think I'd read all I could about it, then maybe share some of that reading with him...the parts you want him to know. Then, I'd also meditate on how to help him out. I find when I sit down or lay in bed and just think about problems that I don't know how to solve, often, within a few days, I have a direction to go on.

    I wish you luck and would love to hear how things go. If you have some advice for those of us who still have this issue ahead of us, I know I'd appreciate hearing it.


    • dewtattoo

      Thanks for the reply Chet. This is a delicate subject, and not as uncomfortable to approach with my stepson as I thought it was going to be. His unbothered response of "oh" when I told him I saw what was on his phone took me a little by surprise. He just shrugged off everything I told him. I'm sure this is an issue that I am going to have to repeatedly deal with in the near future.

      Until then, I told his mother to always knock before entering his room. He is no longer a little boy.


      • Chet_Manly

        No matter how it goes, you're a good man for taking the timand and caring enough to be engaged. He is a lucky young man to have you there. Even if you don't get an immediate resolution, being there with guidance is something he will eventually appreciate and come to value. I've seen it with plenty of nephews and cousins. Much respect for you in what you're doing.


  • elancaster65

    When my son first found porn on line and his mother, my wife, found out, she flipped.

    Enter Dad.

    The conversation went somewhat along the lines of what's been previously posted. We talked about how Don Henley said it right when he sang, "...don't you know that woman are the only works of art..."

    We talked about objectifying women.

    We talked about the addiction factor and how you want more and more to get and maintain that stimulation.

    We talked about the fact that men are designed to be attracted to women.

    We talked about respect, honor and dignity.

    We talked about how the images were staged and were not reality.

    I ended the talk with something someone told me years ago; imagine that was your sister. Or your cousin. Or your mother. Or any other female relative. Would you want other men (boys who shave) looking at them and fantasizing about what they'd do to them if they had the chance?

    This put it into sharp perspective for me and did so for him.

    My son has a healthy respect for women. He's not perfect and I'm pretty sure he's slipped as has his old man. But in the end he treats women well and with dignity and respect.


  • emtay

    I have a 15 year old son and a soon to be 12 year old daughter. I often joke with my wife that when adults talk about having children, they're only thinking of babies and toddlers. Something little and cozy that they can throw in the air and teach things to and mold into what they think will be a better version of themselves. But then those little rascals become adolescents and this is not what the parents signed up for. When did this happen? All I can say is that it sounds like you handled the situation well. It's natural, check. Don't objectify them, check. Think of how you'd feel if it were someone you love being looked at that way, check. All I would add is to keep him busy around the house and be a good example with his mother of how a man treats a woman right. I understand now, many years later, why my father had me and my brothers pulling weeds on Saturday mornings. Or numerous other chores and projects we hated at the time. We'd of definitely been into something had we not been doing something. My daughter is about to be twelve and I dread that puberty spell way more than I have for my son. I open every car door I can for her. I've told her that when she's thirty and starts to date, that if the guy doesn't open her car door that she is to stand outside the door and wait for him to catch on. I sincerely hope she doesn't have to wait. But continue opening doors for his mother, loving on her in front of him, and even smacking her ass sometimes. Kids are observant and he'll learn well. I've rambled at the end here but it's all good. Keep up the good work.


  • daemon

    I would just leave it alone. You may feel that it is a topic that needs your insight and guidance, but it really doesn't. I could be the odd one out here though, but I still say, leave it alone.


  • This is one of the toughest issues you're going to run across as a father of a son. I think coming from a non-Christian perspective - there are a number of concerns that have been covered - distorted view of women, addiction etc.

    From a Christian perspective you have to come to terms with what Jesus says in Matthew 5:28 - "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." So porn is sin. Now I can't imagine this issue doesn't manifest itself in some way with every heterosexual man. The issue is how to deal with it. I emphatically says it's not through guilt. I don't believe that's how God wants us to live. The Bible also is clear that when we become Christians - he gives us a new heart - that is new motivations. What is that new heart but a desire to honor God with our life because he took our place in paying for our sins.

    I believe the way to address the issue of porn from a Christian perspective is to increasingly appreciate the sacrifice Christ made on our behalf. How do we do that? By reminding ourselves of what Christ has done for us. It is the Christian battle. My 2 cents.


  • BenEspen

    It is probably easy to go overboard, but I think shame can be a powerful motivator, and it shouldn't be off the table. My parents took an easy tack with me, and I wish they hadn't.