A fetish website
I really, really need your help. My 16 year old son just found a spanking fetish website on my computer. He said to me that he has found them a year or so ago and when he asked his father (my ex husband), his father said that they were probably mine because that's what I'm into. He also said that he talked to the therapist about this. I'm so embarrassed and angry and I don't know how to handle this. Can you please help me?
This is a tough one. Let's try to find the bright side first...
Your son is fortunately 16 and not 6 or 10 years old. And for better or worse, he's known about this for a year, so this is probably not a shock to him at this point. Now on the less bright side... if he was very young you might be able to make something up to explain why it's on your computer. But at this point, I don't see any way to address this than to come clean and be honest with him. He might not want to hear it and you certainly can't force him to talk about this if he refuses to. It would depend on what kind of communication you have in your relationship. I personally don't hold any judgment of people for their use of pornography or their attachment to fetishes... but having said that, I do think that pornography (especially internet porn) can be very addictive. There are relatively few teenage boys who have not already been exposed to nearly every form of internet porn. It doesn't make it okay, but it's the reality today. For anyone, especially adolescents, pornography can be very harmful to sexual development and healthy attraction and arousal in relationships. I think it's important to educate our teens as best we can about the addictive side of pornography, so that they can hopefully make healthy sexual choices for themselves in their developing years. I'm not saying that every adult who looks at porn is an addict. But kids are much more vulnerable to this.
Aside from doing what is best for your son, it's definitely very important that you first take care of yourself and talk to someone to deal with your own feelings of anger and embarrassment about this.
Parents don't have to be perfect, and it's okay for your teenager to see that you are human and have your own feelings.
If your son is already seeing a therapist, and has talked to him about this, I would recommend that you first talk privately with the therapist and discuss possible ways to handle this with your son in the way that is most appropriate for him.
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