Help for parents of porn addicted teens: What to do when you are more invested in change than your teen

By Matt Bulkley | Blog Education Series

STAR Guides Wilderness - Help for parents of porn addicted teens: What to do when you are more invested in change than your teen

A common dynamic observed in families who seek treatment for porn addiction involves the parents being gravely concerned about the teen’s continued pattern of porn use, while the teen denies, minimizes or trivializes the problem refusing to discuss the issue. Typically, the family seeks professional treatment for the addiction only when attempts to curb the problem within the home setting have failed on multiple occasions. Despite their best efforts to motivate their teen to participate in therapy, in many cases, it is the parents who spend time in the therapy office rather than the porn addicted teen, who simply refuses to attend treatment. The teens’ resistance to deal with the problem becomes a source of huge frustration for the parents as they powerlessly observe the downward spiral of the addiction.

Increased numbers of teens are recognizing the dangers of pornography addiction and choosing to refrain from viewing as a result of groups such as Fight the New Drug and the No Fap community on Reddit who actively engage in anti-porn campaigns aimed at the rising generation. These groups are doing an incredible job of educating today’s youth that porn addiction is real, destructive and has both short-term and long-term consequences that can be devastating to their futures.

Unfortunately, there continues to be untold numbers of teens who are tangled in pornography addiction who for a myriad of reasons are resistant to acknowledging the problem and willing to seek help for the addiction.

In the addiction treatment world, these teens are categorized at Stage 1 “Pre-Contemplative” on the Five Stages of Change (also referred to as Readiness for Change) model. The model includes: stage 1–Pre-Contemplative; stage 2 –Contemplative; stage 3–Preparation; stage 4—Action; and stage 5—Maintenance.

Addicts in stage 1 are unable/unwilling to acknowledge their addiction and denial, minimization and trivialization of the problem is common despite loved ones bests efforts to help. Teen porn addicts in this stage are treatment resistant and very simply stated, the only way they will seek treatment is being compelled to do so by their parents.

In these situations, outpatient treatment is not typically a viable option because the teen will refuse to attend, or if he/she does attend, will engage on a superficial level while making no genuine effort to change while being able to maintain their dependency on using porn as a form of avoidance of responsibility. STAR Guides Wilderness has been specifically designed as a resource for parents who are facing such challenges. This 60 day wilderness program unplugs the teen from all technology addiction, communication with the outside world and amenities of modern society and reveals the teen for who they are at their core. In the process, the teen is able to recognize their dependence on pornography and allows them to begin to develop healthy coping skills without a reliance on porn and technology for avoidance of normal emotional development.

Wilderness programs have traditionally been used by parents who are struggling with an out of control teen who is using drugs, refusing to attend school or rebelling against the rules of the home. With increased commonality, teens addicted to pornography display similar to their peers whose behaviors escalate because of other factors. Skeptics question whether pornography addiction actually exists and would argue that wilderness treatment for pornography addiction is too extreme for the issue . Parents whose porn addicted teens display almost identical behaviors to a drug addicted teen including defiance, lying, stealing, secretiveness, irritability, anger, school failure and isolation from family would beg to differ.

If you are a parent of a teen who is resistant to seeking help for a porn addiction then call us today at 800-584-4629 and let us provide a life-changing experience that will surely disrupt a pornography addiction. Helping teens to break free from the addiction while they are still young is our mission and purpose.

About the Author

Matt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been working in the field of youth treatment and psychotherapy since 1995. He did his undergraduate work at BYU and earned his M.S.W. at the University of Utah. He has worked in a variety of treatment setting in his career ranging from wilderness therapy and residential treatment to outpatient treatment and state government.

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