With boys, birth control is pretty simple: always wear a condom. When we find ourselves in a position where our daughters are becoming sexually active, we as parents have a number of things to discuss with them and consider. For girls, birth control options can be fairly complicated given old stigmas, legislation limiting access and possible side effects to medications to consider.
Have the BIG conversation. Ask the BIG question: ARE YOU BEING SAFE?
DO YOUR RESEARCH. What forms of birth control are safest for a girl in her teenage years? Emphasize how it is always safest to use condoms on top of any other birth control to prevent the spread of venereal disease. The dangers in using the pill or IUD are not just the side effects of altering hormones but the reliance on them alone to keep you safe. The reality is, you never really know what else you are taking on by having sex without a condom. Look at all your options and discuss with a doctor on your own and together with your daughter .
THE HPV VACCINE- make sure you are fully informed on this as well. Talk to your doctor so you can make an educated decision on whether or not it is time to have your child vaccinated. NOTE: Many Universities are now requiring the HPV vaccination upon accepting entrance to their programs.
DOCTOR, DOCTOR! Make sure you find a good gynecologist who will make your daughter feel comfortable and safe. This may not be the doctor you have been going to for years. Your daughter may feel more comfortable with a female doctor or someone who is not also examining her mother.
TALK ABOUT THE CONNECTION of sexual intimacy and love. Our bodies may feel ready but our hearts and emotional maturity might not be there yet. Talk about heartbreak. Share your stories. Sexual activity and heartbreak unfortunately tend to go hand in hand in a new way. Teenagers don’t often make this connection when in the throes of early love or lust. Help her navigate her choices with consciousness.
TALK ABOUT THE POSSIBLE RAMIFICATIONS of sexual activity and the responsibilities therein. Talk about pregnancy. Talk about abortion. Talk about your family’s beliefs. Ask your daughter about her opinions and thoughts. Give your her an opportunity to truly have a voice over decisions about her own body. The more we do this as parents, the more space we open up for them to feel empowered. Hopefully the more empowered and supported they feel, the less likely they will be hurt or taken advantage of.
BE YOUR DAUGHTER’S TRUE ADVOCATE so she can be the master of her own body and the master of her own destiny. When our teenagers become sexually active, it can be kind of overwhelming for us as parents. We are in a tough spot of helping our kid make one of their first major life choices. Hopefully the lines of communication are open enough that your daughter feels safe and comfortable to come to you for assistance or advice. Even if it is found out accidentally, there is still ample opportunity for us to rise to the occasion and offer support, educated information and loving guidance to protect them from unwanted pregnancy and disease.