“When I was cleaning our 14-year-old son’s room, I found a stash of pornographic magazines. This really upset me as I thought we’d brought him up to have more respect for women.
“It also worries me because these images are far from respectful to women and I don’t know whether to confront him, or if that will only make things worse?”
“Whilst I can completely understand and agree with your abhorrence of such magazines, I’m afraid that – condemn or condone – it is what a lot of young lads will do. It’s possible that these magazines have been circulating amongst your son and a group of his friends, and that he hasn’t necessarily bought and paid for them.
“It could be that one of the wilder, older boys bought them and is encouraging the younger ones to look at them. Peer pressure can be difficult to resist, and your son may have left them for you to find because he’s uncomfortable with them, but doesn’t know how to deal with the situation.
“Of course, he could have bought them for himself and the fact that he’s been looking at them indicates that he is more than ready for a chat about sex and its responsibilities. However good your relationship maybe with your son, boys seem to find it difficult to talk to their mothers about sex.
“You refer to “our” son – is there a father that he might find it easier to have a conversation with? If not, then do try to get him to open up about this – perhaps by letting him know that you’ve found his magazines and seeing how he reacts?
“If you need more advice on how to handle this, the counsellors at Family Lives (familylives.org.uk) are the people to discuss it with.”
If you have a problem and you’d like Fiona’s advice, email firstname.lastname@example.org