Age to put your daughter on birth control?

I have a 13(almost 14) yr old daughter. At least one of her classmates is already pregnant. Most of them have boyfriends and a handfull of them are on birth control (so I have heard/been told). My daughter is not asking for birth control or confessing she is having s.e.x. or anything near that, but I am wondering about birth control. When should we start thinking about it? I am afraid whenever I DO decide to let her start taking it she will think it is giving her permission to have sex. I have no idea what is that right thing to do…
Suggestions from parents that have been here please???

Since the OP is seeking personal opinions, this is better suited to IMHO than GQ.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Reported for forum change.

I would say (Im not a parent by any means) to inform her of the consequences of unprotected sex and also that she should start taking the pill when she becomes sexually active. I dont see any reason to use the pill before she is even having sex, and I dont think you should be the ones to “put her on it.” The pill can cause issues in girls and it should be her choice if and when she wants to do it.

The important thing isn’t putting her on the pill, the important thing is working on a relationship where she feels free to come to you when she’s ready to start having sex. 13 is probably a little old to start that but it’s never too late. Make sure that when you promise no punishment for her telling you things that you follow through. This works for birth control, ride home when her date is drunk and many other occasions where her telling you what’s going on is the only way you’ll find out.

Girls don’t just risk pregnancy when they have sex, but STDs. And, of course, boys also risk STDs.

So, now is the time to have a discussion about condoms, and lube. I think that my daughter was 14 or so when I bought a box of condoms and demonstrated how to put a condom on a broom handle. Then I made her do it. She just about died of embarrassment, too. Anyway, I told her that the rest of the box was hers, to either use or give away as she pleased, and if she ever wanted more, I’d buy them, no questions asked. I also said that if she wanted, I’d help her get other methods of birth control, but that unless she was in a committed, monogamous relationship, she needed to make sure that the guy was using a condom at the very least. Every time.

My grandmother gave birth to her firstborn when she was 14 years old.

I’m somewhat curious how people come out on this, mainly because I have two daughters myself (10 and under). But I have to comment on this:

as follows:

WTF???

At least one? Jeebus.

has your daughter been asking for oral contraception? You can’t “make” someone take the pill properly, and taking it improperly is worse than nothing. Its nothing+false confidence. You also can’t “make” someone agree to a pelvic exam that isn’t medically necessary, and you can’t get oral contraceptives without a pelvic exam, not even at Planned Parenthood. While children have less right to refuse medical care than others, performing a forced vaginal exam on a 14 year old without any medical necessity is so unethical I doubt any doctor would do it.

So in answer to the question, “when can I put [force] my daughter on oral contraception” the answer is “never.”

You don’t have to give her permission to have sex; when she’s ready, she will.

Talk to her about protection - make sure she has condoms - and educate her in how to say no. Make sure she is aware that boys don’t necessarily equate sex with love, and that she needs to make sure she is ready, not to give in because a boy is ready.

As said above, she must know she can trust you. If you tell her she won’t be punished for confiding in you, you must follow through with that. Your spouse must also agree to that. Otherwise the first time you punish her you will lose her trust. Let her know you will take her to the doctor when she feels she is ready, but make sure she knows about and has access to protection anyway.

That was kinda my reaction too. These things vary depending on where you live and who you hang around with, but it sounds like, in the OP’s daughter’s peer group, it’s considered normal, and perhaps expected (to the extent it’s abnormal not to), to be sexually active.

Were I in the OP’s position, I’d be tempted to move to a different area or put my daughter into a different school. But, failing that, I’d try to explain to her that she doesn’t have to be having sex or have a boyfriend just because her friends or classmates are doing so.

Please don’t spell it out like you’re speaking above a child’s head. You, at least, have to approach this with adult maturity. Now is not the time to whisper in hushed voices as if sex is something shameful or bad. I mean, that’s how your daughter got here in the first place, isn’t it?

As said above, please don’t “put” your daughter on the Pill. You need to have a frank talk with her about boundaries, what you will and won’t allow in your house, etc. But approach this rationally and realistically, not what you’d like to see in fantasy world. Your daughter is not yet a grown woman, but she is heading rapidly in that direction. She is no longer a child, however, that’s for sure.

I consider the fact that it takes the pill a month to begin working properly to be a pretty good reason, but other people’s mileage varies. Also, while the pill can have negative side effects like water retention or headaches or breast tenderness, it can also have good side effects like reducing cramping and acne and causing shorter, lighter, more regular periods.

Your grandmother’s first child was 14 years old when she was born?

Moving? Seriously? :dubious: Uprooting your entire family, selling one home and purchasing another, the whole shebang? That seems incredibly … extreme. (X-treme!!) Besides, what message does that send the OP’s daughter? “Sex is such a horrible abomination that we literally *flee *before it!”

(Besides, in my area at least, 13-14 is the age when 8th graders leave middle school and enter high school as 9th graders, thus putting them into a whole new group of peers, friends, potential role models, etc. Probably irrelevant to the OP, but since you mentioned changing schools, I thought I’d throw that out there.)

If she has classmates who are having sex, then it’s a sure bet that she’s at least discussed the matter with her friends. The best approach, then, is to address the topic head-on rather than putting your hands over your ears and singing “Lah, lah, lah!”

I’m weirded out by the way the OP is phrased. It’s probably not intentional, but it comes across as “when do I put my dog on heartworm preventative.”

You don’t PUT your daughter on birth control. You discuss sex with her and assure her that when she feels she wants to have sex, she can come to you and you will discuss her oral contraceptive options then.

I said I’d be tempted, not that I’d actually do it. :slight_smile:
But I would be worried if many of my daughter’s teenage classmates were becoming teenage moms: I’d worry that she’d see that as normal and expected and the way life is supposed to work, as opposed to first growing up and doing things like getting an education, establishing a career, seeing the world, getting married, and/or exploring her special talents and interests, before she even thought about becoming a mom. Maybe worried enough to seriously think about ways of getting her involved in a different peer group.

I wouldn’t ‘put’ my daughter on the Pill. I’d take her to get a prescription if she asked, when she asked.

Hormonal BC is near-useless unless it’s used exactly as intended. Many a teen girl ‘on birth control’ has gotten pregnant, because she was not using it responsibly/as intended.

And it’s not without risks and side-effects. I’ve never used it myself and don’t plan to ever. I’ve used other methods to avoid getting pregnant and have been successful; though I wasn’t sexually active until I was 19.

I intend to raise my children with a ton of awkward sexual education and safe sex talks, from a very early age and continuing into their teens when they will probably start having sex. While plenty of girls at my school got pregnant (which surely did not make it seem normal or acceptable in my group), none of my friends ever did despite being sexually active from much earlier ages than I, and all of them had parents who made this a priority. Many of my friends also chose to use the Pill.

Before my daughter was a teenager, I bought her the latest copy of Our Bodies, Our Selves and gave it to her. I told her that she could read it and ask me about anything in it. It lived in her room, and I noticed that it got a lot of use.

With the kids I worked with, these issues were always discussed, for all ages. Obviously in an age appropriate manner, it starts with “when two people who care about each other cuddle in a special way…”. That way, the discussion is never closed off, all information is out there at all times and it is clear to everyone that all questions are valid and that anything related to sex is very approachable.

So, as most people already said: get talking. The conversation certainly doesn’t need to be “so… let’s get you on the pill”, and it’s a little late for the ol’ “cuddle in a special way”. So you’ll have to find something in the middle, that is appropriate to her, but conveys that she is encouraged to come and discuss all her concerns, questions and needs.

I used to really enjoy these chats with the kids, there was always so much bonding, openness and of course plenty of jokes and hilarity :smiley: