Do I really have to face this? Or if I pretend that teenage sexual activity doesn’t happen, will it all take care of itself?
Yes and No! I know it is tough. But, if you read my previous blog on sex and teenagers, you might remember that if your teen has been having a serious relationship for as little as two months (I know, it is a short amount of time), talk of sex and related activities is going on .
And that means you, as the parent, needs to get into action.
For all the bad press about Planned Parenthood in the news this year, one thing they do offer is birth control for teens without their parents’ knowledge. This is a good thing. Especially if teens are afraid of their parents or have very reactive parents that don’t really want to accept the realities of teenage sexual relationships.
Yet, an even better path for teenagers, I believe, is for you, the parent to broach the subject and guide your teen through it. I raised two daughters, so I’ve been through this. I am also a realist. I’ve heard many times, a mother will say, “If I take her for birth control, it means I approve of what she is doing.” No, it doesn’t. It is protecting your child’s health and her future. It is definitely within your rights to express your views and beliefs on sex before marriage, but you have the luxury of hindsight. Because men and women are marrying much later now, it makes sense that most sexual activity will begin before one is ready for marriage.
When I faced this, not knowing what else to do, I approached my OB/GYN PA and she encouraged me to bring my daughter in. She told me she saw girls from all the schools and every social status. She told me that sometimes they will have a sexual relationship and then, in the relationships that come after, they decide not to engage in sex. She assured me that it would all be all right. So, I trusted her to handle the situation.
I also had a teen cousin being raised by her grandmother. I could see where things were going, so I just talked to the teen directly. I asked her if she wanted to take care of the birth control herself or see a doctor. In saying this, I was acknowledging without saying directly that I knew what was going on and I was also saying that birth control was required. And I gave her some power in making the decision herself with some support. She said that she did want to go to the doctor. I then asked her if she wanted to tell her Granny this, or did she want me to tell Granny? She said she wanted me to talk to Granny. And I did. Her grandmother made the appointment and all went well. It took the pressure off both of them, while preventing an unwanted pregnancy, a potential abortion or adoption, and protecting the child’s health.
So, please guide your child through this phase.
Don’t say things like, ”Those two are just friends.” “They’re too young to even be thinking about sex.” Or the worst, “She better not be doing anything!’ Trust me, that is not helpful. And it is naive.
Observe your child and their relationships. If you have good verbal rapport, ask them in a non-threatening way. If not, make some realistic assumptions and give them options. As always, I recommend that you keep to yourself your own sexual history. It is not relevant and may not come across as you intend.