3 Things You Don't Know About Your Children and Sex

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There are more students compulsively looking at pornography at younger ages and with greater frequency than ever before.

Dear Parents,

Please allow me a quick moment to introduce myself before we go much further. My name is Anne Marie Miller. I’m thirty-three years old. I’m newly married to a wonderful man named Tim. We don’t have any children yet, but we plan to.

For the purpose of this letter, you need to know I’m a recovering addict. Pornography was my drug of choice.

I grew up in the church—the daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher man with a passion for learning the Bible. I was the honors student; the athlete; the girl who got along with everyone from the weird kids to the popular ones.

It was a good life. I was raised in a good home.

It was 1996, I was sixteen and the Internet was new. After my family moved from a sheltered, conservative life in west Texas to the ethnically and sexually diverse culture of Dallas/Fort Worth, I found myself lonely, curious and confused.

Because of the volatile combination of life circumstances: the drastic change of scenery when we moved, my dad’s depression, and a youth pastor who sexually abused me during my junior year of high school, I turned to the Internet for education. I didn’t know what certain words meant or if what the youth pastor was doing to me was good or bad, and I was too afraid to ask.

What started as an innocent pursuit of knowledge quickly escalated into a coping mechanism.

When I looked at pornography, I felt a feeling of love and safety—at least for a brief moment. But those brief moments of relief disappeared and I was left even more ashamed and confused than when I started. Pornography provided me both an emotional and a sexual release.

For five years I carried this secret. I was twenty-one when I finally opened up to a friend only because she opened up to me first about her struggle with sexual sin.

We began a path of healing in 2001, and for the last 12 years, although not a perfect journey, I can say with great confidence that God has set me free from that addiction and from the shame that followed. I returned to school to study the science behind addiction and family dynamics.

Over the last six years, I’ve had the opportunity to share my story in a variety of venues: thousands of college students, men, women and teens. This summer, I was invited to speak at several camps to both junior high and high school students, and it’s without exaggeration that I tell you with each year I counsel students, the numbers and the stories shock me more and more.

There are more students compulsively looking at pornography at younger ages and with greater frequency than ever before.

Anne Marie Miller Anne Marie Miller lives with her husband, Tim Miller, in Franklin, Tennessee, where she learns and plays and writes.

More from Anne Marie Miller or visit Anne Marie at http://www.annemariemiller.com

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  • Jane H

    Thank you for publishing this – and world wide this needs to become a conversation – we need to stop burying our heads in the sand.

  • Witheld

    From a pastor who was abused as a child and suffers from this ongoing malady…finally a voice of compassion and sensibility. Everything in this article is spot on. We risk losing so many if we do not heed its warnings and boldly step into maturity and rescue those Jesus intensely cares for. Truly a lightning strike into the kingdom of darkness.

  • Kweku

    Sharing quality time with the kids is the only sensible way. In normal scheme of things the person we often chat with, is the one we often share our deepest secrets, fears, dreams, etc. This is the reality of life. If we spend quality time with our kids on a regular basis, and in normal conversations, these ‘secrets’ will eventually be shared even as we also share some of ours. God bless.

    • http://napadofoundation.com/ Donald G.

      You made a great point. In our society today, many parents are not involved very much in their children’s lives. I am amazed at how many families do not even sit down to one meal a week together. Meals are often eaten in front of TV. Everyone is very “busy” with other things. As a parent I know how difficult it is when there are so many distractions with work and second jobs and school and activities both church related and secular. But our priority must be our family and children and we must be involved in their lives in order to know what is of concern to them and in communicating with them. They also need to know that they can come to us with questions and get answers. In our “me first” amoral society, there are a lot of wrong influences and wrong answers. On the other hand, unfortunately as Ann Miller points out in this article, there are far too many instances of predators within churches as well including church staff. Very few churches do background checks on people working with children and when “indiscretions” are discovered or reported to church leadership they are often “disposed of quietly” so as to avoid “bringing reproach on the church” when the Bible clearly says they need to be rebuked publicly (I Peter 5:20) so as to put fear in the hearts of other perpetrators.

  • anonymous

    Pornography is like a cancer that consumes the mind…..im talking from experience mind you…was addicted for 15 years but praise God I was supernaturally set free. Tried everything from net nanny to online courses but always ended back on the same websites. lets just say what the enemy meant for evil, God used it to break this addiction.

  • LDonald

    Does anyone know of a good/safe site to go to or take my kids to where we can search topically? There’s Focus on the Family but they’re maybe more broad in their scope …

  • Gatkuoth Malual

    sister you have made not just a point but a blessing to many parents who will take this into consideration. surely many children are exposed to this without parent through phones and memory cards. many young people today even go to church even with those blue movies in their phones.

  • Jeremy

    Great article!!! Especially the point about your kid not being the exception. How many parents think their kids are the exception, but are dealing with this stuff. Their parents ignorance often leads to an environment that makes a child’s willingness to talk about their experience dwindle. I’ve seen it for years working with teenagers.

  • dldake

    Great article and I could not agree more. I see the problem from a male perspective as I was a porn addict at 12 years old. Grew up in a Christian home but was not allowed to talk about such things, or felt that i wasn’t. I battled the issue for 23 of my now 28 year marriage. I speak and counsel on the topic as much as I can and try to help other people break the cycle of addiction. Thanks again for writing it..

  • pst jk

    the article is great and touching,may GOD help us

  • Living Loved

    Thank you so much for this article!
    I’m looking for a good video to show to my teenage girls in our youth group about sexual immorality. Any suggestion?

  • Ojaoba Joseph Adedayo

    This is one of the best article I think I have come across over the year, you have done justice in your article and its very touching. I think we parents needs a lot to do as per this sex issue, many of us shy away in letting our children know the right and even those that found themselves in such cases are afraid to relay their experiences,am so glad for courage you too Anne Miller,keep up the good work.

  • Random_acct

    Pornography is an epidemic in this country and around the world. It is destroying lives and families. It is joked about in some circles as harmless, but it is anything but harmless. With God’s help, everyone can overcome it, but it will be a tough battle. First, admit the problem. Then seek the Lord’s help every day.

  • Concerned Parent

    Very good article and I agree with the things you have said. Additionally, I have been concerned for years about television commercials which are nothing short of pornography; too much sexual overtone in commercials. My wife and I started talking and cautioning our 2 daughters about sex before they were in their teens. People grow up and decide what they want to do, but we taught them the rights and wrongs.

  • Jonathan Hughes

    They hide it feeling guilty. That is why it is called sexual sin. They have a varied life not focused on one activity. I do not see Jesus in the unseen giving impressions of heavy guilt. The division of Clothed not pornographic unclothed pornographic created the imbalance of nude sex not nude no sex. Furry animation can do whatever the immaginaton inspires you to have them do showing those two balls huddled close to each other or in two small spheres side by side like in bat genitalia. People have such an aversion to them people are not even aware what they look like to even reproduce them artistically. Satan wants the characters to be one dimensional all of the time without any character traits being seen. Scenario’s can occur that do not have to end with sex either.

  • Charley Bazzell

    Great article, Anne. You are a brave woman, putting yourself out in front like this so everyone can see. May God bless you and use you in His kingdom to help others who struggle with this addiction. May the comfort you’ve received from Him be used to comfort others in their pain. Be blessed.

  • Abraham Biu

    A serious eye opener. May God bless you and use you more to set many free.
    We have hope because light is stronger than darkness.

  • sincerely

    How would you approach a child who is in late teens and just discovered porn and been raised Christian and they are too embarrasses to talk to you as a parent?

  • Paul DeCamp

    As a school teacher, I’ve seen things that I was mandated to report, such as sexting, and molestation. I wanted to do more to help, but honestly didn’t know how. I’m 57, and never saw such things until the ubiquity of smartphones. I’m childless, but I wouldn’t let my child own one of those things if I were a parent.

  • Curtis Cornell

    For those listing comments, I recommend Covenant Eyes which will work as an accountability reporting system, or you can get the filter as well. It is the best system I have used, and there is no bypassing it once it’s set up. You can get it for your child’s phone too, especially if they are teens and have a smart phone. Hope that helps.

  • Doricad

    Thank you for this eye opener! May the Almighty bless you in your work.

  • Helen

    I’m a teacher of 11-13 year old students and we are currently learning about Sexuality – as a Christian I’m totally torn because I’m meant to teach my kids how to masterbate, exactly what sex is etc and I don’t agree with sex outside of marriage let alone exploring one’s sexuality. I’m constantly praying about how to navigate my way through this unit of work. Some of my kids definitely turn to Google for answers – but how am I meant to answer tricky questions when it is systematically destroying what innocence is left in their lives.

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