Parenting is a big deal. I mean a BIG DEAL! I cannot boast about always handling this role well. I didn’t want to be a parent to begin with. But I am so grateful to be a mom, and I take it seriously. I try to learn from my mistakes, and I think I have grown (dare I say matured) into the position.
My son that deals with porn addiction is not my oldest child; so, while I would say the day he confessed to watching porn is the worst parent-day of my life, I am grateful that before that day I had a few not-so-pleasant mom-moments under my belt. Otherwise I may not have handled the situation as gracefully as I did.
After ushering my son into a private area, and after gagging, and after the initial shock wore off, I desperately wanted to relieve my son from the fear he was feeling. He originally admitted to watching porn because a (bogus) warning popped up on his screen stating that if he did not send money the police were going to arrest him. The fear of being arrested is the only reason he came to us.
I would say the first five to ten minutes of this conversation was chaotic and confusing. My husband and I were trying to process the depth of the situation while my son was panicking over potential jail time. Finally my husband, who had been mostly quiet through the first part of the conversation, calmed him down by telling him the warning was phony and someone was trying to bribe him into sending money. Full confession: I was perfectly fine with my son believing he might spend time in jail for his actions and wasn’t overly pleased with my husband squelching this thought. However, I saw the wisdom in it and, as our heart rates started to settled, my main concern was reassuring my son.
I said, “I want you to know we are on your side.” I physically sat next to him to prove my point. I said, “We are not against you. We are for you. We are here to help you because we love you, and we want you to succeed. We are on your side.” These words were important to say out loud. So he could hear them. So I could hear them. He was scared. I was scared. He was scared of the police and his parents’ disapproval. I was scared that my son was lost, never to be found. So I said it. “We are on your side.” And I believed it. Still do. If we aren’t on our child’s side, who will be?
In my mom-moments, I count this one as a win. Not because of what my son was doing. But because he came to us for help . . . and we responded well.
I could have yelled. I could have screamed. I could have called him names and pointed my finger in his face. I could have told him all the reasons why this act was horrible and why I was disappointed. But it would not have helped the situation. It would have fallen on deaf ears.
Later, when we put restrictions in place, we told him we were not punishing him. Rather, we were helping him because we were on his side.
We remain on his side and by his side. We cheer his successes, and we mourn his losses. We are his biggest fans and his biggest encouragers. We are his parents. And that’s a BIG DEAL!
Have you had moments of parenting failures or parenting successes? I’d like to hear your thoughts or stories. Please comment below.