The Parenting Dare: “We give parents the words” to arm their kids against porn

 
Last week, mother-and-son team Lori and Eric Doerneman released The Parenting Dare, an online video course designed to help parents and kids work together to resist pornography.
.

Lori told me:
.
This isn’t your typical “Porn is bad and you shouldn’t look”-type of course. We address our broken nature and we clearly show God’s plan of life and love. We talk about why they will be attracted to porn, but that it’s just a trap. We hit that concept pretty hard. We want to dissect the lie and showcase the truth.
.
Lori has a degree in education and several years’ experience teaching, and speaking for Project Freedom, a program promoting chastity geared toward eighth graders and their parents. Eric is the oldest of the eight Doerneman children.
.
Here is our conversation about The Parenting Dare. My questions are in bold.
.
Lori, when we met a few years ago a the Catholic Family Conference in Kansas, you were writing a blog called “Prayer and Duct Tape.” Can you explain that title?
.
Lori: I wanted it to be a Catholic blog but without too pious of a title. We had duct tape all over our house. Also, my bra was held together with duct tape at my wedding! Like prayer, it holds us together.
.
Eric, you’re pretty open about your own struggles with porn addiction. What happened?
.
Eric: We were super Catholic, hitting all the spiritual nails on the head, praying the rosary a lot, going to Mass every Sunday. One summer, I served at Mass every day. Mom was killing the spiritual aspect. But she completely missed the physical aspect.
.
Lori: I thought talking about porn would ruin his innocence, and I wanted to keep him innocent.
.
Eric: In 5th and 6th grade, I started looking at pictures on internet, masturbating and looking at porn consistently. Mom walked in on me one time, and from, there we always had a bit of a back and forth conversation. I wasn’t always transparent, but through that, we always had a real relationship.
.
Lori: I want to talk to my kids, intentionally building a relationship so they will trust me.
.
Eric: I told my friends my mom was helping me through it. Initially, they freaked out, but then they thought it was cool. They could never talk to their parents.
.
So where did you go from there?
.
Lori: The most of the year it took to get him out of porn startled me. Once he finally got out, it was through [an understanding of] the science of what was happening in his brain.
.
Eric: I tried [to stop] throughout high school and college. I knew it was immoral, but I couldn’t stop. It wasn’t until college that I said, “I’m actually addicted.” After college, mom kept hounding me. She got me a book [Pornography Addiction: Breaking the Chains] which taught me about the science, and I got a good grasp on what was happening to me.
.
What made you think not only of helping your kid, but trying to help other kids and other parents?
.
Lori: I changed my parenting through the course helping Eric. I have five sons, and I know I have a lot to offer to other parents.  So I thought, “I want to offer an online course.” Parents need to acknowledge that porn is stealing the hearts of their kids. So we called it “The Parenting Dare.”
.
Eric surprised the crap out of me by saying, “You’d suck at doing this alone. I want to do this with you.”
.
Eric: We’re daring you to take your blinders off. It’s a hard course. We’re funny, but it’s not tutti frutti. It’s not Pinterest-y.
.
Lori: We have made the Gospel too easy. Kids want to do something heroic with their lives.
.
Tell me a little bit about what your program offers.
.
Eric: There are five main sections of the course, called “modules,” and each one has videos in it, anywhere from seven to ten minutes long. The first module is background, stuff you need to know about us, and then some concepts covered in the course: the four levels of happiness, the brain and addiction, and your belief system.
.
Lori: Module Three covers kids age zero to five, to get moms keyed in, and to get them to discuss things openly, like, “That’s your penis!” We get them to establish themselves as an authority.
.
“The sex talk” is not a talk, it’s a continual conversation. It starts from a young age: how beautiful your body is, how awesome God is that He created this. This makes it easier to have conversations about sex, porn, lust and love.
.
The best addiction is one that never starts. That means we target parents of young kids. In the last three modules, we discuss the parents as the general contractors of their home. The foundation is the understanding of god, and we describe different parts of the “house.”
.

.

The biggest module is the fifth one, for ages eleven to fourteen. As kids mature, we get into bigger concepts. We talk about love versus lust, and about puberty. It helps them be warriors. We talk about understanding the science of porn addiction and help them reject it.
.
Eric: We give parents the words to say.
.
Lori:  The course is very practical. We address girls sending nudes. I interviewed lots of college girls, and I give them things to say when someone asks for nudes, so they don’t commit social suicide.
.
People who enroll are entitled to any updates that will come in the future. Technology is always changing, so is this one of the parts you see yourself updating?
.
Lori: Yes. Module Two is about how to protect electronics in your home and your phones. People will buy, for instance, Covenant Eyes, but they don’t install it. We hold their hands, step by step, click by click.
.
Why a mother-and-son approach?
.
Eric: That’s just how it worked out in our family. In a lot of families, the kids spend more time with mom, and mom has a lot more time to mold the kids.
.
Lori: Women use more words, too. But throughout the course, we say this isn’t just for moms to do. We address parents, and that could be moms or dads.
.
There are going to be some concepts men will understand in a deeper way because they have testosterone. And some women are so conservative,they can’t even say the word “porn” or “orgasm” or “masturbate.” We hope it will be a family thing, parents going through it together. Husband and wife sitting down together and opening up.
.
What if the parents themselves have issues? Do you see this helping them as they help their kids?
.
Lori: One of the beliefs we tear down is, “I can’t help my kids because I have my own issues.” No, that actually makes you more qualified. If you grew up dirt poor, are you never gonna talk about it, or are you gonna teach your kid to grow up to avoid it? Do you want your child to be better off, or not?
.
I’ve learned how to talk in a different way. How not to shame our kids, to be present for them. It’s almost more of a parenting course: How to authentically connect with your kids so they will open up. We don’t talk about porn all the time. We talk about how to have fun as a family.
.
Eric: It’s not even about how to talk when you find out they looked at porn; it’s for beforehand. The tone you want to give off is: If you ever look at that, I’m not gonna hate you. If you do that, they’ll never talk to you about it.
.
Lori: It’s a weird tightrope, because you don’t want them to be worldly, but you want them to talk to you.
.
What are some other common beliefs you refute?
.
Lori: That if my child is moral, and believes in Jesus, they will never look at porn.
.
That girls don’t look at porn.
.
And the biggest one is: I can’t talk to my child about porn because I want to keep his innocence.

By talking to them, you teach them innocence. They are kind of grossed out when they hear about porn, and that’s kind of good. You catch them before they’re in it. Talking to them gives them this huge protection.
.
Eric: In the part for the 6-10 year age range, we discuss a study that says if kid sees porn, he’ll go back to see if it’s still there, out of curiosity. So parents can ask them if they saw anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.
.
Lori: Priests say the heartache is that there are young kids looking at porn, and their parents don’t even know. We have to shake up the tree a little bit.
.
You touch briefly on the topic of modest dress for girls, which is such a hot button topic.
.
Lori: A priest told me, “Don’t go there!” But I saw a woman in the park, and the way she was dressed, she was turning me on! We just raise the question, comment, and say how we handle it. We’re not telling you what to do.
.
What is your ultimate goal?
.
Lori: It’s our vision to get rid of porn. It won’t happen in the next hundred years, but I want to be able to raise men and women who are porn resistant.
.
Eric: The things we’re talking about can be overwhelming. We’re going to help you through every step of the process.

Protected: Podcast 27: My interview with Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa of New Wave Feminists

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

If you watch garbage, you will get dirty.

darkness

We are in denial about how vulnerable our hearts really are. Watching brutality makes us brutal. Torturing our emotions inevitably makes torture seem more normal, not less.

Read the rest at the Register.

A beautiful, courageous, somewhat nervous-making idea: naming your victims

Darren Cools (husband of Anna Cools, the proprietor of Roots Soap Co.) has foundedHer Name, a website built to honor women whose dignity was wounded through pornography.

It’s a simple, anonymous project:

If you want to add the name of a girl you have victimized by lust, please click the Add a Name button and enter her first name. If you remember her face but not her name, give her one. The form is completely anonymous and non-trackable. Use first names only.

Pornography is a grave affront against the personhood of the girl, woman, boy, or man on display — yes, even if he or she is willing and compliant.  I used to think this sounded like some kind of abstract sophistry — almost as if the Church wouldn’t admit that, deep down, it just has a big problem with sexy sexy sex, and is trying to come up with some kind of intellectual excuse for why porn is so bad.

I get it now, though. Porn is just one of the handier tools that the devil is using in this particular era to exterminate, to x out, to deny, to quash, to empty out souls. Even better: to get us to do that to each other. It is bar none the worst thing you can do to another person, to deny their humanity.

I am not sure if Her Name is the best possible way to remedy this. It won’t, of course, matter much to the actual girls and women who have been used; although I suppose they might see their names on the list and realize that at least one person out there recognizes what he has done. Anyway, it could be a great and powerful, genuinely humbling exercise for men (and others) to write down that name, to enter it in the rolls.

At the same time, it feels like there could be the tiniest grain of continued exploitation involved, even if the most benign and well-intentioned kind.  I’m not completely comfortable with the idea of assigning a name to an unknown girl, even if the intention is to honor her.  Naming is powerful, as this project clearly acknowledges — and implies control over the person named. Or am I thinking about it too hard?

Well, what do you think about Her Name?