I don’t have a teenager. I have only been a parent for 2 years now. I have 0 qualifications when it comes to giving advice to others. But I feel like I can understand where these girls are coming from, and maybe help some of you decide how to go about dealing with this situation.
Even if you don’t give your kid a cell phone, they can still end up giving away photos online somehow so don’t sit back and relax just yet. Chances are you don’t know your teens as well as you think you do. That’s at no fault to you, they’re teenagers and they are more secretive about some things because they don’t want their parents to know-good or bad stuff. It’s just how it goes. So don’t feel bad if this sort of thing is going on, or whatever it may be.
So how do we prevent this or what do we do now that we know?
First off, let’s take a gander into this girl’s brain.
Most of us ladies have some insecurity. We seek for validation that we are pretty and of worth from attention we get from boys. We don’t realize we do this usually, but it manifests itself in many ways. It could be revealing clothing to draw their attention; it could be the way we talk or act, or the things we say we are interested in. All the while, we don’t really like or want to do those things, but we are waiting for the validation to come. It comes when the guy says we’re cute or wants to date us or kiss or hang out with us or text us..just paying attention to us. But it’s like a drug in a way. We want a bigger validation, a bigger high or thrill. Maybe his texts us but we want him to say nicer things to us. Or maybe he says one day something like “It would be so hot if I could see some photos”.
And the girl pauses.
She knows it’s “wrong”. But then she starts to wonder, why is it wrong? What’s so bad about a guy seeing a picture of me? Then she thinks how awesome it would be once he compliments on her body, the thing she may be the most insecure about! He would say nice things for her to read over and over again to give her those butterflies she is pretty.She will keep him wanting more and that will keep him around. She will then know he is attracted to her, becasue heaven forbid someone actually say they are these days! Youths. The pros outweigh the cons in her mind. If she doesn’t know why she shouldn’t other than her parents wouldn’t like it..She probably is going to do it.
She doesn’t realize that she then steps into the zone of the boy looking at her as a sex object and less about her personality or him wanting to spend time with her. It may from there become more sexual and turns from nice conversation with PG motives, to him wanting more.
Of course, the tables could be turned. Of course, this doesn’t just happen to women. But for the sake of I’m already long winded as it is.. let’s just keep things simple today.
Teens don’t realize that these boys are highly likely to show another boy these pics. Because they need to be validated they’re a man. Maybe they’re insecure about them being a virgin or not having stories to tell in the locker rooms of hot chicks. So a picture? That is straight up validation for him to be then be accepted, or the man or whatever I don’t really know I’m not in the locker room.
But he’ll probably show someone to where she didn’t say that was ok; she doesn’t know half the boys in the locker room saw her picture. They don’t know that what they are saying or thinking about and how now when they see her they can’t help but think of that picture.
She has no idea.
She has no idea that this begins a big spiral of her being asked for more. Because how could he be satisfied with one? Before she knows it she doesn’t second guess it anymore and she’s thinking of more and more photos to send.
The problem is her self-worth gets lost in this confusion. See I’m a boudoir photographer. Some people see that as evil, to each their own! If you don’t know what that is its photos women take in lingerie for their husbands or for themselves. It helps them learn to love their bodies and to feel sexy and have a fun thing to show their husbands. I don’t shoot nudity but that’s my policy. My point is, pictures may not be the evil here.. But the reason WHY she is doing it and what happens because of it, is what is the problem in my eyes. There is a time and a season for everything.
I didn’t have sex till I got married. But I was asked by guys to send me photos. I sent a photo of a horse once to one guy and he finally stopped asking. Don’t tell my husband that! (This was before I even met him btw)
I have experience with this. I can tell you some of my friends sent photos and it got passed around school and some even accidently were sent to the wrong person! All these things may not happen-but in the end, not one girl told me they felt better about themselves because they sent them.
Self-worth is a fragile thing and if your foundation is a guy texting you back saying he thinks you’re hot and wants more..That’s not a foundation, that’s a sink hole.
So what can we do as parents?
Talk to them about it. Don’t’ assume they do it, or say “Even if you do this it’s ok I know everyone is..”
Assume they don’t. Because if you give them permission to like above, they will think, “well my parents did say everyone does this..”
Simply say, we’ve heard this is an issue and we wanted to talk to you about it so that you can know that you don’t’ need to send these types of photos to feel loved.
Remind her she is loved by you. Remind her what love feels like. Remind her that love isn’t someone putting a price on it.
Saying if you send me pictures I will value you-is not love. Remind her that she won’t gain any self-confidence through this. Remind her that this time of life is difficult. She may be feel like the weirdo at times for having values, and it may be hard to not do what everyone else is doing. But tell her there is value is being strong in who you are, and sticking to that. Tell her that her body is something she wants to respect and have respected. What that boy does with that photo will not be respectful.
Remind her that although this all feels so important right now, respecting herself and loving herself is paramount. She most likely won’t talk to 90% of these people after high school. Sad but true! And we need to teach our kids that their opinions of us are not where we get our value. Our value is already made. We just need to allow ourselves to feel it!
And if he truly LOVES her, he will respect her wishes. That is true-even chick flicks will teach you that 😀
Ask her what she thinks, ask her how she feels. Ask her what concerns she may have and if she feels comfortable expressing them to you.
Teach your children about the problems that arise from pornography. Teach them about addictions, know how the brain treats pornography and how the women in the industry (and men) are treated. (We’ll talk more about this another time)
Talk about how you want her to know that regardless of what happens, you will love her unconditionally. You will listen when she needs someone to lift her up. You will be patient with her, hug her, let her cry with you when she needs to. Because life is hard. We do things we may wish we hadn’t. But life is manageable when we have someone in our lives that will hold our hand, love us, and look at us the way the Lord does.
Because life is hard. We do things we may wish we hadn’t. But life is manageable when we have someone in our lives that will hold our hand, love us, and look at us the way the Lord does.
Hopefully, then she will feel the value she needs to feel.
TELL HER SHE’S BEAUTIFUL. Tell her the good you see in her. Tell her the talents she processes and don’t focus on all the time what she needs to improve. God loves her as she is-RIGHT NOW. Not the “fixed” or improved version. Right now. No matter what.
If we help our children feel that foundation of love, they will be less likely to seek for it elsewhere. Honestly, teens are hard. They may lie and be distant and be deceptive. But at the core, they are seeking desperately to be noticed and loved. If you don’t give it to them, they will find it elsewhere. Please, talk to them, and listen to them. Don’t get angry, be patient and understanding, but firm. My girlfriends and I have discussed this quite often. If you feel loved, you don’t seek desperately for love in dirty places.
Be an example, if you love yourself, they will see how they can do it as well.
If you feel loved, you don’t seek for love in dirty places. And if they do-you will be there to pull them out, and show them again what real love is.
And if they do-you will be there to pull them out, and show them again what real love is.