I have this thing where saying the words teen and sex in the same sentence gives me agida. So why exactly am I writing a blog post that mentions those things together and in the title no less? We should start at the beginning. Last week I got an e-mail, which said in part: Do you have a teen daughter? We’re trying to help for television show segment and I thought of you. I asked for more information, and found out the segment topic would be “parents, teens and birth control pills”. Not necessarily sex. Still, mention birth control pills to the average person, and the next thought is SEX! I explained the topic, as I understood it, to Lesli. She was willing to sit with other teenagers and a journalist to discuss the topic. I joined the mothers group for a separate session.
When we arrived at the television studio the mothers spent about two hours discussing our feelings on the topic. Among other things, would we allow, or encourage, our teenagers to take birth control pills if recommended for a reason other than contraception? I was relieved to find other mothers who shared my view: my daughter is not a test tube. If Lesli’s doctor suggests that [ insert condition here ] can be resolved by taking a daily dose of synthetic hormones, I would follow that recommendation only after exhausting every other possible treatment.
My logic is as follows: Exhibit A- teenage hormone fluctuations, Exhibit B- studies proving and then disproving possible side effects of birth control pills, Exhibit C- studies suggesting natural, holistic and homeopathic remedies to manage various conditions. Leaving aside the practical logistics – some adult women admit to forgetting their birth control pills – and my conversations with Lesli regarding abstinence (the only 100% reliable way to avoid pregnancy, diseases and that “what have I done” moment), there is my personal experience with medical prescriptions.
I am highly sensitive to several different medications. If Lesli’s doctor ever prescribed any of the medications on my “list”, I would request an alternate or substitute, to spare her the side effects. To me, this is a cornerstone of parenting. I tell Lesli about the road ahead, teach her to look out for warning signs and when necessary, occasionally comfort her. When she moves out for college, or to her own apartment, I will still worry about Lesli’s safety and health. Until then, it will be my duty and privilege as her mami, to guide her as she learns to take responsibility for herself.
Watch ABC’s Good Morning America this week, as Elisabeth Hasselbeck explores parenting, teens and birth control pills. From the program description, the segment will be shown on Thursday, but the show has something good on every day, so I set my DVR to record for the whole week 😉 If you want to check out one of Elisabeth’s past segments on parenting, teens and sex, click here and ask yourself, would you let your teen bring a partner to your house for sex?