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Book Install #33/Last Word/Chapter 5/Birth Control

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Installment #35

 H20 to Go!

Growing Emotional Resilience and Navigating Through Childhood

with Heart, Humor & Optimism

BY Margo Judge

Updated 2009

H20 to Go! Copyright, 2004
By  Margo Judge

All rights reserved.
All material on this website protected.
Permission granted for reprinting with
Attribution to Margo@MomOpinion Matters (TM)


Chapter 5: Trips, Stumbles & Falls
The Last Word
My 14 Yr Old Wants Birth Control??!!
When I started mentoring I received early on the following email:
‘She comes to mom and asks to be put on birth control pills (she's 14).
The parent can say no. But then the daughter may go out and find a way to have the sex anyway, and possibly get pregnant.
What's a parent to do...?
We feel she is way too young to be thinking of doing this.
If we could ground her at home until she's 18 or 20.. .or lock her up somewhere until then...
But in the real world.. .what could we say to get through to her that she is not ready for this. It's freaking us out.’

My updated reply.

I do not blame you for being freaked out. I know nothing about your daughter or your family situation. And for full disclosure, I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist, or doctor. But I am most willing to offer some mentoring advice and suggestions:

1) First and foremost, find a neutral place to sit and talk-
perhaps while you are driving, sitting on a bench, taking a walk, or having lunch--somewhere she feels comfortable and/or in control--anywhere except your house.

2) Then look at her and say:
I am really happy that you felt you could come to me and ask for birth control. It shows me you are concerned about your sexual health. (This will surprise her. You are not reacting emotionally.)

3) This next part is very important.  We might be surprised sometimes why our kids want to do something. Sometimes the most obvious isn’t the case. You want to know exactly why she wants birth control and what she is actually thinking, and you are going to offer some choices as a guide to help her open up and identify. (Also this will make her confront and explain her situation and take responsibility for that which she wants to do.)
So, you don’t just want to ask her why she wants the pills, you want to define the reason, so you say-there are all sorts of reasons for wanting birth control so let me ask you-
A) Do you want birth control because you've already had sex once or twice, and are scared to keep having unprotected sex? And you don't want to depend on the boy? (See how she responds. This is going to let you know if she’s thinking next Saturday night, or this has already happened.  If she hesitates, you can say-listen, if you are old enough to want birth control pills, then you are old enough for us to have an adult conversation about this. She is nowhere near being an adult, but you want to use that word-for the moment, it will make her feel more grown-up. Ask the question again calmly. Whatever she responds, do not react. If she replies no, she might counter with another reason-if not continue…
B) Is it because you haven't done anything yet, but you want to and so, you'd like to be protected. (You do not want to get into-who is the boy? How long have you known him?
What have you been doing without my knowing it? None of those questions will get either of you where you want to be.  She will shut down and you will know nothing. She will not have an opportunity to look at this issue with a clear eye because she will be defensive, and you will be left unable to communicate with her because you’re shocked or angry. So let her just respond to the specific question you are asking. If she still says no continue…
C) Is it that you actually don't want to do anything, but you want to have the pills because the other girls have them and you want to show your friends, so they'll think you're not a virgin and you'll be more popular? (This is what I meant that sometimes reasons might not be as obvious as we think)

D) Is a boy pressuring you to have sex and you are afraid of losing him and you’re afraid of getting pregnant at the same time? (Again, what you want to do is spell out as many scenarios as you can.  By this point you probably have gotten closer to why she wants these pills.

4) These questions show that you are involved in her thinking and you care about where she is at. Watch her face. Really watch her face and listen to her words. A 14 year old, cannot hide her feelings or her opinions very long. (Actually, she cannot hide them at all.  A 14 year old is an emotional mess on the best day! She will give herself away). Tell her you are genuinely interested in what she has to say, and how she feels, and for right now all you want to do is listen.
And listen well. Only interrupt for her to clarify a thought.
As in--I'm not exactly clear about what you just said,
Or, what you are saying is that....
One of the best things we can do for tweens and teens is give them the opportunity to hear themselves think out loud. Once things are out of their heads, it is easier for them to take a second more objective look at howthey feel.

5) (Now, you are ready to give your input and she will be much more apt to listen.
A) Tell her some facts about her sexuality.
-She's right, she must always be responsible for her own sexual health and protection-And yes, she should never depend on a boy to have a condom, (even though every boy should also be responsible for his own sexual health) Condoms must be used to protect against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, but they are not at all fail-proof.
-She can get sexually transmitted diseases with oral sex-and this is a growing problem.
-There are health related issues involving birth control, and she should never start taking any pills, without first discussing them with a doctor. She would need an appointment with a gynecologist, and a full physical exam. This does not mean you are saying yes to birth control. If the doctor is wise, and you give her a head up about the nature of the appointment, she can offer your daughter a very in-depth and compelling talk about oral sex, sexual promiscuity, and sexually transmitted diseases.
-Besides which, you both need to know, at this point, if she is healthy and if she has already been sexually active, if she has not already contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

6) And lastly, you can have her listen while you tell her how you personally feel about Sex-what it means to you and how you feel about her being sexually active at so young an age. Here is where having a philosophy, rather than a set of rules, kicks in.  It is at times just like this that we need to be very clear about how we feel about love, and sex, recreational sex, and motherhood, if we are going to impart any wisdom to our kids).

7) Lastly, you tell her that you are there to help her sort through all those conflicting feelings, so she doesn't do things for the wrong reason, or get herself into a self-destructive relationship. And speaking of relationships, now you can ask her, if she hasn’t talked about a guy, if there is one. Let’s talk about him and how he feels about you and what he wants of you. Here is an opportunity to give her some direct wisdom about what it means when a boy that young says he loves you, and if you loved him, you’d have sex with him because it would make you both bonded and close. You can tell her that’s nonsense.( I spoke of this before in Chapter 3-
It is Not About Popularity If a boy loves you, he will demand nothing of you.  He will just love you the way you are and respect your wishes. Love means respect.

Hopefully, at the end of this conversation, you will have learned a lot more about your daughter's thoughts and actions. Remember, right now your goal is to get inside her head so you can look around and have a place to sit. Once there, you can take the next step of helping her express her thoughts, understand yours and make wiser choices.
Take care, God Bless, Good-luck
Margo@MomOpinion Matters

Updated 2009

H20 to Go! Copyright, 2004
By  Margo Judge

All rights reserved.
All material on this website protected.
Permission granted for reprinting with
Attribution to Margo@MomOpinion Matters (TM)