Small Steps: Self-Discipline and Safety Nets

Photo by Lindsay Henwood on Unsplash

My son will leave for college in the fall. This thought scares me and makes me proud. He is an amazing young man, and I am proud of his achievements and excited for him to begin adulthood. But I am scared he will slip back into old behaviors without his “Mommy” around to protect him.

My husband and I asked our son to work out a plan to stay clean while living in the dorm. He is consulting with a friend of his. Periodically I ask how the plan is coming along. They don’t have all the specifics yet but are moving in the right direction.

One Small Step

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

My husband and I went to a two-day conference a few weeks ago. For the past several years we have kept our children’s computers on complete lockdown. For them to use their computers, we have to sign into the home screen and then sign into the filter system on the internet. Usually when we are both gone the children either do not use the computers or they stay with friends or grandparents who can unlock them. But that option wasn’t available this time. So we unlocked the computers and allowed them free access. Keep in mind, there is still a filter on their computers, and they cannot search the internet on their phones. This was a first step to helping my son self-regulate his computer access.

Another Step

A few days ago I asked him his thoughts on when we should allow him access to the internet on his phone and take off the restrictions allowing him to install and uninstall apps. (You can setup the iPhone to restrict access to certain features on the phone by going to Restrictions under the General Settings and typing in a passcode.) I assumed at some point he would need the restrictions lifted to search the internet and install and uninstall apps.

Photo by Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash

His response surprised me and gave me some much-needed relief. He said he would need access to the internet, but he would keep the passcode on the phone to restrict access to install and uninstall apps. The plan is to find a trusted person at college I can give the passcode to. If he needs access to that part of the phone, it will be necessary for him to ask that person to unlock the phone.


Wow! I was blessed by his mature response. This is a big deal! I feel as if we have turned a corner. He is monitoring his own behavior and putting up his own safety nets. He is doing the research necessary and laying the groundwork to succeed. That’s a victory to celebrate!

If you are a parent with a child struggling with a pornography addiction, I hope the above gives you hope and encourages you to continue to be there for your child. It’s been a long journey for us, and I am not always at ease with the progress my son is making. But I celebrate the small victories like his desire to keep his phone locked even when goes away to college.

Are there specific issues you would like me to address? What problems or circumstances are you encountering with your child? Please contact me directly or post a comment, anonymously, if you prefer. I would love to hear from you. Subscribe to receive notices about new posts, and share this site with others via social media or email. Thank you. If you are new here, I invite you to look back over the previous blog posts. I pray they are a source of encouragement, as you are not alone.

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