I dont really have the energy to read the last few posts...the questions asked (about porn, etc) dont really seem to be asked in the spirit of wanting to understand why we parent the way we do....the questions seem almost offensive.
However, since "porn" was brought up a couple of days ago, i've been "posting in my head" (havent been near my computer), and so wanted to get my feelings on that out, without addressing specific points that may or may not have been mentioned.
I was waiting for the porn argument to come up. Invariably, at MDC, whenever threads start about limiting kids exposure to something (be it Bratz, or MIC toys, or sugar, or meat, or tv or videogames or or or....on and on)...there will be parents like myself who say that we dont "limit" our children's exposure to these things if they desire them. Parents, like myself, will explain how we dont just throw a bunch of HFCS at the child and say "have at it", we dont just lay down videos of horror movies and say "Enjoy!!!" but rather we take our kids' lead about what interests them...and we support, discuss, facilitate. And at some point, those few of us who would allow such "evil" things (like Bratz dolls, or music with iffy lyrics or whatever)....someone will bring up porn. "Would you let your child see porn?!?" *gasp* *shock* *horror* Sometimes, the question is "would you let your child shoot heroin in the living room???" or "would you let your 12 yr old have sex in your home??" or some variation.
I call it the "Porn and Twinkies" argument.
Its a straw man. It does *nothing* to address the issues being discussed here. In fact, i doubt that the people who bring up porn are really concerned that a lack of strict control will lead their child to a life of porn addiction. I think that posters bring up porn to show just how "ridiculous" those of us are who don't strictly limit/control our children.
In a way, its kind of like having a discussion about the benefits of breastfeeding (or cosleeping or gentle discipline) with someone, and them saying "Yeah....BUT.....would you REALLY be ok with your 12 yr old doing that?!?!" Its a way of trying to discredit someone's ideals.
But. You asked about porn. I'll answer.
I have an 11 yr old son. I am sure he's seen the occasional "naked woman" in his adventures on the internet. I dont *think* he has sought them out, but its the internet, and so i'm sure its happened at some point. I also expect that there will be a time where viewing naked people will be something he wants to do or possibly enjoys (which is typical of many many many men and women in our society.) As with everything else in our lives (music, food, advertising, violence in the media), i'm sure we will (and have a little, to some extent)talk about the "sex industry"....why people might get involved, how there is alot of exploitation of the workers (whether we are talking about porn, or playboy, or prostitutes), how many women who are involved have been abused in their childhood. We might talk about being respectful of partners. We might talk about whether or not viewing porn means you are also exploiting someone (and not everyone agrees that "Porn = Bad"...if you do, you can certainly feel free to express those feelings to your kid), how one's partner might feel if she found her boyfriend/husband had porn (no one "right" answer here)....etc etc. I could go on and on. I likely would not have this discussion in one big huge heavy conversation. This is something that starts early (about respecting other's body boundaries, about "healthy" touch vs not being ok with someone touching , that sort of thing)...and might become quite in depth and explicit with a much older teen.
Does your 9 yr old want to view porn? I would say its probably developmentally atypical, if thats so. Does your 15 yr old want to view porn? My answer about how to handle it would then be different.
If you, personally, have a political position against all porn, and therefore would never allow it in the house (meaning, if you found Playboy under your teen's bed, you'd burn it but not before giving him an earful about the exploitation of women)....thats your choice. Whatever.
If i found a playboy underneath my teen boys bed, i'd quietly put it back and remind myself not to be so nosy. If my teen boy wanted to invite his friends over and watch porn dvds in the living room? Uh no, i'd have to tell him its not ok....one big reason being the legal liability involved. But i can't imagine my son even thinking of doing such a thing....and i can't really imagine any child of a mindful, respectful parent wanting to do that. I suppose its possible, somewhere.
For some reason people who control and limit just do not believe us when we say NOT doing those things works out well in our homes. That our relationship with our kids is (IMO) stronger, healthier, more open. I want my child to be able to come to me for help, for advice, and not be afraid that i will judge them.
My son has a friend across the street, 12 yrs old, who keeps so much stuff from his mom. He even has a girlfriend, they've kissed, but its a big secret and his mom just thinks this girl is a friend. My son OTOH, tells me just about everything. We dont have secrets. He's not afraid to tell me when he's made a mistake.
Even in this thread, someone brought up a child "eating 20 Big Macs"...as if NOT restricting will get you that. But its been MY experience and the experience of just about everyone i know in unschooling/mindful parenting circles that "eating 20 big macs" (why? Why would you do that? Is that even possible??)isnt a reality for our families. My son can have candy whenever he wants. While checking out at the store, i'll often ask "want a candy bar?" The answer is OFTEN "no", or he'll ask for sugar free gum. We just went to the office supply store, to get a better binder for school. I would have bought him just about anything there that he wanted. He decided that his old binder was fine, he'd just organize it better, and bought a 99 cent book cover. I told him later he is so "non needy"....IME it is *because* my child is not restricted, that he makes very specific choices. That he is more discerning. That he takes the time to figure out what he truly wants, rather than wanting something that he is not allowed to have.
Its not about porn. Its not about twinkies. Really.