Child or Teen Disturbed by Exposure to Pornography

teen with head on arms
My dad left dirty magazines lying around the living room — and I saw the pictures of naked women. Should I ever go back?

My parents are divorced. But I have a close relationship with my father and spend every other weekend at his house. Well, I did have a close relationship. I’m angry that now I know my dad looks at porn. Even worse, after seeing it myself, I don’t want to go back to his house anymore. How should I handle this?



We’re so sorry you were exposed to pornography in your own dad’s home. That’s a place where you should feel secure and protected. It sounds like you’re disappointed and confused — and you might even wonder about the future of your relationship with your dad.

You obviously care about decency and mental purity. These values will serve you well in the future if you let them guide your choices and actions. But those values also mean it’s not surprising that what happened at your dad’s house upset you. In fact, your reaction isn’t unusual. A lot of young people who accidentally stumble onto pornography are very upset by the exposure.

With all that in mind, any feelings and questions you have are normal. At the same time, we’d gently encourage you to remember that your connection with your dad is important. So try not to make any final decisions about whether to spend time at his house until you’ve had a chance to think, pray, and talk things over with your mom.

Ask your mom to get help for you and your dad

If you haven’t already, let your mom know what you saw. It might feel awkward, but it’s important to tell her or another trusted adult about this traumatic experience. Visual images like the ones you saw have a way of getting stuck in the mind; you won’t be able to erase them effectively without help.

Another area of concern is what seems like a sudden appearance of pornography in your dad’s home — and why he left it out where you were likely to see it. A professional Christian counselor can give insight on these and other issues.

With this in mind, we encourage you or your mom to contact our Counseling department for a free over-the-phone consultation. One of our licensed Christian counselors would be glad to talk and pray with you. They can also give you referrals to qualified therapists in your area for ongoing support. (In the meantime, you and your mom may find the resources below helpful.)

Don’t feel pressured to go back to your dad’s house yet

You shouldn’t be expected to spend weekends with your dad until this problem has been addressed.

Your mom needs to confront him about the incident and be sure it won’t happen again. If your dad isn’t willing to make that commitment, your mom may want to seek reliable legal advice or contact the local Child Protective Services agency. It will probably be uncomfortable for you to be caught in the middle. But it’s necessary to confront this situation so that it doesn’t continue.

We pray that the Lord will provide healing grace as He frees your heart and mind from memories of the disturbing pictures you saw. God created you and loves you with a love so deep, so real, and so powerful that it is beyond human understanding. No matter what happens, He has promised never to leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).



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