Dr. W. Dean Belnap in his book, A Brain Gone Wrong – Hope for the Troubled Teen, outlines phases of a child’s life. He says that “the first year of life is the most important. A safe relationship to mother and father are imperative.
“The second year of life allows for development of language and early independent exploration. Security comes from loving parental guidance at this stage.
“The third phase, from age two until five, is a period of imitative patterning of masculinity and femininity from both parents. A structured relationship in the home with both a father and a mother, each contributing and giving love to their offspring is ideal.
“The fourth phase, from age five to eight is one of experiencing love and charity as the child learns to give to others rather than just indulging in self for gratification or dominating relationships.
“The fifth phase can then start at age eight, where conscience comes to the realization of right versus wrong. The experiencing of free agency to its fullest extent begins at this time.
“Adolescence follows with activation of hormones at age 11 to 13 for girls and for boys two years later.” He explains that optimal growth and development is best achieved when the family is happy and all ages are involved in fun family association. Morals and values that are planted early need to develop.
Dr. Belnap says, “Expect that every youth has been or will be exposed to pornographic images. Talk with them about the degradation of such imagery, the risks of losing their own will to basal needs. . . . Pornography is accessed behind closed doors. It is harsh and dirty—inescapable. Youth are not prepared to fight it alone. They need support (not anger) to supplant that addiction with other stimuli. They need intervention. Parents must continue to love them, to help them turn off the monitor and never to return.
Talk and listen to your children one-on-one – not once but often, says Dr. Belnap. Teach them that pornography promotes basic beliefs like the following: (1) “I am basically a bad, unworthy person.” (2) “No one could love me as I am.” (3) “My needs are never going to be met if I have to depend on others.” (4) “Sex is my most important need.”
Youth need help to shift their thinking to thoughts like this: (1) “I am a worthwhile person.” (2) “I am loved and accepted by people who know me as I am.” (3) “My needs can be met by others if I let them know what I need.” (4) “Sex is but one expression of the needs in a caring marriage.”
Ultimately children and youth need to know that attitudes and thoughts can be exalting and good or debasing, and they need to understand that they will live with the consequences.
The brain believes what we tell it most, according to Dr. Belnap.