Helping Your Teen Understand Contraceptives And Birth Control

If you're the parent of a teenager and you haven't had a serious discussion with your child about birth control and contraceptives, then someone else may have already done so. By the time they start high school, 1 out of 6 teens will have already become sexually active, and if they aren't fully informed about their choices, it could end up having serious long term repercussions. The only way to be sure the information they have is accurate and factual is to provide it to them yourself-- just don't underestimate their maturity or intelligence.

Be Objective

The worst thing you can do for your teen is present information which is intentionally misleading, full of metaphors or designed to scare them. Use factual data that can be supported by scientific studies as much as you can to help you convey your point. Don't overstate something that can be proven false with a few internet searches, because your teen has friends and they do talk.

Don't linger too long on teen pregnancy rates though, because that's just one of a number of complications that can arise from unprotected sex. Birth control pills are fine, but they do nothing to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. With teens making up between 20% and 30% of new diagnoses, it's important to spend time talking about how to prevent your teen from being part of that statistic.

Engage With Professionals

During your child's next check-up, bring up the subject of contraception and birth control with their doctor. Create a dialog with them and get your teen to open up to them, then leave the room so that your teen feels there is some degree of confidence between them and their doctor. If you have a teenage daughter, have a discussion with her OBGYN--like the one from Healthcare for Women Only--about birth control, too, and all of the benefits or drawbacks of that medication.

Reach out to your teen's school district and request a detailed explanation of their sexual education curriculum. Use this information to help guide any supplemental education you provide to your teen along the way. Not only will this help you spot any glaring omissions or inconsistent messages, but it will also help you avoid rehashing topics that may have already been hammered away at by the school.

Regardless of your personal views on sex, your teen will have to make up their own mind and come to their own conclusions when the time comes. By providing facts, professional dialogs, access to information and creating a less judgmental space, your teen will stand the best chance of making the safest, smartest and most age-appropriate choice possible, even if you disagree with it.