As a parent, there’s no way your teenager is actually old enough to have kids of their own already, and chances are you won’t be leaping at the opportunity to chat with your daughter about birth control. Let’s face it, the biological clock shows that once puberty starts, pregnancy becomes a possibility. To guide you through the process of talking with your teen about contraception can make a huge difference in helping your teen avoid pregnancy.
When is the appropriate time to have “The Talk”?
There’s no ideal or set age when you can start to have these talks, with some parents stating it can be as early as 13 years old. It could be a good time to start discussing contraception more openly when she starts to develop puberty related changes such as breast and pubic hair growth.
It’s important to create an environment where your daughter comes to you first for information by you being open to talking about it, as opposed to them hearing things from friends or the internet first.
How can I break the ice?
Starting a conversation about birth control with your daughter might not be as easy as it sounds. Find quiet time together on the weekend when you’re both free, and you can talk about school and friendships.
At this point you can gently ease into the conversation by asking about whether teens her age are talking about sex, birth control, and sexually transmitted infections.
Whichever direction you choose to start with, you should let your daughter talk about what she knows first. The conversation can cover these important topics based on how you feel your teen responds to the information, or based on how interested she is in learning more about specific topics.
But don’t go guns blazing at a breakneck pace. Pay attention to her emotions and how she responds to your questions. From time to time, ask if she’s comfortable with the conversation.
What do I need to cover?
What if I don’t know how to answer something?
It’s always best to admit what you don’t know in the event your daughter asks you a question you don’t know the answer to. Don’t allow dishonesty to get in the way of future conversations.
You can make an appointment with a doctor who will know the answer to questions your child may not feel comfortable asking you or that you’re not equipped to answer.
One thing to remember: Birth control and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention are NOT the same thing. Only condoms protect against STIs when used correctly.
Find your nearest Marie Stopes centre and get the facts about contraception.