teens and birth control

The day I turned 13, my mother took me to Planned Parenthood. I. Was. MORTIFIED.

You are going to do what? With that what? For the next five LONG minutes, I thought of Dorothy and flying away in a twister and arriving somewhere over the rainbow. With little people offering me treats and talking animals and flying monkeys and maybe just a touch of whatever drug L. Frank Baum was taking when he created that book.

After the torture had come to an end, the doctor asked if we had any questions. I quickly responded, “NO,” and stared at the door. Get me the hell out of here.

And then? The most horrifying, embarrassing, GOD AWFUL words came out of my mother’s mouth. “We would like to get Steffie on the pill.”

Ummm. NO. WE. WOULDN’T.

“Oh,” the doctor responded looking at me like I was a two bit floozy sluttin’ my skinny cheerleading ass all over town.

I wanted to die. DIE I TELL YOU.

My mother got pregnant with me when she was a senior in high school. Her life forever altered in a way she has never gotten over. She was determined that I not get pregnant. So? At the fresh age of 13, I was put on the pill.

WOO HOO. A ticket to having sex as often as I wanted. That is what some people would tell you. Give a kid a condom and watch them turn into crazed sex having heathens. Yes?

I didn’t. I wanted to. But I didn’t. As a matter of fact, my nickname in high school was blue balls. TERRIBLE at the time, but something I am quite proud of now. Not until I was out of high school, hopelessly in love and planning to get married did I have sex. (I never married him. Thank you sweet baby Fate for your foresight.)

Which brings me to this. I have two teenage boys. While I would prefer they not have sex in high school, the numbers are not on my side. Almost 50% of American teens between the ages of 15 and 19 have sex. That means statistically one of my two boys will.

It is my plan to buy condoms for them, along with the, “I would hope you wait but that I know there is a possibility of you having sex,” disucssion.

HOWEVER, I will, as is my parenting philosophy, give them a plan. You know, just in case those hormones rage one night and they do what 50% of teens do and give in. I want them to have in their wallet the safety that is a condom.

What are your thoughts on this topic. Will you provide your teens with birth control? Did you? Please feel free to respectfully agree or disagree with me in the comment section below.

Comments

  1. says

    Oh man, this is something I hate to think about but it is right here under my nose. The statistics are real. This is something we seriously do need to think about. I for some reason can’t picture myself handing him them, but will definitely talk about it and encourage it. Maybe I will leave the actual handing of them to dad.

  2. Cara says

    I agree, and plan on doing the same. I don’t want my kids having sex before they are ready, but I’m not stupid enough to believe they won’t. The best protection we can give our kids is self protection.

  3. Momof2 says

    No, I will not give them a condom. To me, that is like handing someone chocolate and then telling them to put it away and not eat it. If you give someone a condom, they are going to use it. Period. That is my feeling on the subject. And, yes, I have two teens and we have had "the talk" plenty of times. I’ve told them that I don’t want grandchildren until they are married.

    • Bender says

      okay, just because you’ve ‘had the talk’ and said u dont want grandchildren for a while does not mean a thing. they’re still going to go out and do it behind ur back, thats what kids do. my parents did the same thing as you and expected me to listen, but thought i was in love, and oops shit happns because we weren’t provided with the proper protection. just saying you should not be so close minded and egotistical.

  4. says

    I really don’t want my children to have sex while still in high school but I know that it does happen. And you can bet your pretty little ass that I will provide my children with protection and I will give them an open and honest line of communication with me to talk about it.

    I believe that assuming that your teen will not have sex is just irresponsible. It is our job as parents to arm them with protection.

  5. says

    Open dialog and education prior to and during teen years regarding sex, drugs and alcohol can make for a very wise and informed teen when they are confronted with difficult choices and peer pressure.

    I have always talked openly and honestly with my 18 year old daughter about these subjects. I allow her to make her own choices too. I know that I have given her the right tools (including condoms in her Easter basket) and education to do so. She never ceases to surprise and impress me with her judgement and decisions.

    I believe those who keep their kids in the dark or feel to embarrassed or awkward to have these discussions end up with teenagers who have no one to talk to when they need good solid advice. Usually then turn to their peers. This was not who I wanted to educate her.

    So I say go for it!

  6. says

    Well, I didn’t see a gyno until I was in college & was not given access to BC & never had sex until I was 24. My nickname was Ice Princess.
    Will I give my kids BC, most likely not because it is against our beliefs (Catholic), but what will actually happen remains to be seen. Will I talk to my kids? Yes! And have already with my 8 yr old daughter. It is an ongoing process.
    My question to you is how do you know your sons will use the condom in their wallet when they r in the moment?

  7. says

    I think I will handle the girl and my husband will handle the boy and when we feel the time is right we will give them the tools to protect themselves. IE condoms and condoms AND BC for the girl. I don’t want to be too nonchalant and I don’t want it to be a non-discussion. Somewhere in the next 5 + years, I have to figure out how that works.

  8. La Jolla Mom says

    I am dying to know the responses to this. I think (am not sure) I would do as you plan to, but am curious to see what others think about it. I’m not interested in being a young grandma.

  9. Jenny says

    love this one! of course I agree with you Stefanie – and can’t understand the ones in denial who think peer pressure isn’t a thousand times more powerful that what your mom says – I mean come on! Give your kids the tools to be careful, the knowledge of what you know about it, and how it may change their lives if things don’t go as planned – then let them decide for themselves what they’ll do — that’s what life’s about anyways

  10. Aunt_melmel says

    Recently I read that parents should also discuss ways a teenager (boy or girl) can declne sex…as well as the usual "talk". If you give them strategies to say "no" to someone who is pressuring them, they are more empowered. While role playing this with family may seem really awkward, it could help them save face while "saving themselves" for when he/she is ready.

  11. J-ro says

    I think what your mom did was rash and probably NOT in your best personal interest. Now I don’t have girls and I won’t even PRETEND to insist what I would do is the best thing but in that situation I can tell you what I would like to think I would do— Ask you if you’re having sex, or plan to have sex in the near future–No matter what your asnwer would be I would definately advise to use protection—(especially condoms anyway–the pill wont prevent diseases) and let you know that if and when you are ready you can tell me you want to go on the pill and I will just take you.

    Im not to fond of the pushy humiliation factor–Id rather my child just be honest with me.

  12. says

    I teach high school in a district that has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in our state. It’s so sad and frustrating. I know teen parents can make it with a ton of support (my mom was a teen parent, and so were a couple of my sisters), but most of these kids do not have the support and it’s a long hard road in front of them with a child. And it’s not fair to that child either.

    SO I am all for condom distribution. These kids are having sex regardless, even though we all would prefer they wait. It’s important that they know their options and how to protect themselves. The consequences of unplanned pregnancies are steep.

  13. says

    Open dialog and education prior to and during teen years regarding sex, drugs and alcohol can make for a very wise and informed teen when they are confronted with difficult choices and peer pressure.

    I have always talked openly and honestly with my 18 year old daughter about these subjects. I allow her to make her own choices too. I know that I have given her the right tools (including condoms in her Easter basket) and education to do so. She never ceases to surprise and impress me with her judgement and decisions.

    I believe those who keep their kids in the dark or feel to embarrassed or awkward to have these discussions end up with teenagers who have no one to talk to when they need good solid advice. Usually then turn to their peers. This was not who I wanted to educate her.

    So I say go for it!

  14. Erin says

    Good for you!

    My mom and her 4 sisters were all teen moms. Due to their strictly catholic immigrant italian upbringing, there were no sex talks and no idea of the BC options. They all made packs to do differently by their children.
    And they did. All the cousins are past high scholl and the youngest parent amongst us started at 21.

    Was I mortified when my mom took me to the doctor at 15? Yes. Did I want to die when she sat me AND my hs boyfriend down for a talk and a hand-out of condoms for both of us? Yes. But I thank her for it, especially when I had the freedom to plan all of my pregnancies.

  15. Leucadiajill says

    Absolutely will I discuss this with kids BEFORE they are even considering-which in our case is NOW. While I’d rather have them wait as long as possible, it is absolutely silly to think that means when they are married. Most people don’t get married until they are in their late 20s these days. Frankly, if you don’t know if you are sexually compatible with someone then you shouldn’t even marry them-that could be one long friggin’ lifetime bored to tears.

    For me it will be more about explaining the realities of their decision and really trying to influence them to do for the right reason-love, and to FOR SURE use protection no matter when they choose.

    Because one thing is for sure-it is their choice to make, not mine.

  16. MARGARET says

    I totally agree with you on this matter. I think kids need to be prepared if they chose too. Just because you give them condoms or put the girls on the pill it doesn’t mean that they are going to be having sex it will just make them prepared if they chose to have it.

  17. says

    I have to deal with religious issues when it comes to this whole sex thing, but I try really hard to think about this with the knowledge that my kids aren’t always going to be surrounded by people who believe the same way we do. Their friends will have a huge influence on them, and there’s nothing I can do to change that.

    So my thing is this: I don’t ever want my sons to think I approve of premarital sex. I don’t. But at the same time, I know it’s ridiculous to even hope that they’ll never be exposed to the opportunity. It’s a dilemma.

    I think the way my husband and I will handle it is to talk to them about the possibility (inevitability) that they’ll be tempted to have sex, and to let them know how we feel about premarital sex. Also, I haven’t really decided if I’ll provide them with birth control. I can’t help but think they would misread that as an advocation of the practice. But at the same time, I am positive we will be educating them about how all that works. Sex shouldn’t be some dirty secret. That’s how people get all knocked up and stuff.

  18. says

    Yes, I did and I will. Like your mom, I come by my lessons the hard way. I was out of high school, but still technically pregnant as a teen after literally my first time. My parents were old school and my mom would have been the one dying of embarrassment at the thought of taking me to get protection. I was NOT going to repeat that head in the sand pattern.

    I gave my oldest condoms when he turned 16. He waited until he was 17 to use them (he made sure to announce when it happened to me. Lovely dear, thanks and um..congrats?!) Anyway, I consider it a MAJOR accomplishment that he is now 25 & has avoided both parenthood and disease. Already a step ahead of mom and isn’t that what we want for our kids? That they at least not repeat OUR mistakes? Trust me – he’s created quite enough of his own thank you very much.

    I will do the same for Alex. Though, since he does have a dad active in his life and the aforementioned big brother I might let them handle the task but be VERY clear that it is something we ALL agree upon. Wait as long as possible, but ALWAYS use those condoms!!

  19. says

    Great topic that I was forced to confront, well before becoming a parent, as the stuff I was exposed to as a middle school counselor in SD was mind-blowing! Here is what goes on in my head – if I had the right blog to share this, I would -lol: Teen sex is risky business, and when we talk with our dependants about it, they need to know our true values. Whether we think it is morally ok or responsible behavior at such a young age or not, our "voices in their heads" are crucial towards their making smart choices. Kids should know their parents’ values, for sure, but we should listen their thoughts, as well.

    I think (my opinion, here!) that responsible sex ideally entails being prepared and mature enough to be responsible parents. If it does not involve this (often doesn’t), then both parents of the minors having sex really should be on the same page (before kids engage in sex) about their thoughts about adoption, controception and values about terminating a pregnancy (or the public schools can and do step in to assist the kids w/access to abortions w/out parents even knowing they left campus – yes!). If parents are OK with kids having sex, are they’re also OK with taking that trip to the clinic, AND is the school boy-turned-father also going to go along for that ride to the clinic? I think it is crucial to sit down and share with kids these scenarios and pose various ramifications of their choices- a huge responsibility that comes along with the outcomes of a "mistake." Since they are our dependants and likely not in the place to raise babies, they also deserve to know what our inherent roles as thier parents would be in the picture IF>>>>

    It is interesting to see the actions that the parents take as things unfold (again, I worked for years in schools – even w/pregnant teens) and how the kids end up realizing that they were premature in having sexual relations (and many were on birth control). Sexually active children who have not even paid rent yet, let alone finished school – again – risky business, and seemingly a missing step to a healthy sex life. I also will never forget how a young lady (from the school I worked at) came to me a year after her decision to abort and shared how that decision still haunts her. Often, the boys have no say in the process and that brings up another topic about responsible sex!! Again, thank you, for challenging us to look at this, some for the first time as parents!

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