You may want to ignore the fact that your teen could be sexually active or could become so, soon, but keeping the lines of communication open and facing the problem head on is a better choice than denial. After all, you don’t want to be raising a grandchild, too—do you? “Teen girls are at peak fertility,” says Dr. Scott Carroll, a child psychiatrist in Albuquerque, N.M. “And emotions are far stronger than rational thought in a teen.” Inevitably, your teen will be in situations where she could have sex, and it only takes one time to get pregnant. So here’s what to do if your daughter asks for birth control or if you suspect she needs it.
Don't Freak Out
Whatever you do, don’t freak out. Remember, it probably took a lot of guts for your daughter to bring up the subject. So put on your poker face and have a calm, nonjudgmental discussion about why she’s interested in birth control, says Dr. Carroll. She may tell you she wants it for an acne remedy or a solution for menstrual cramps, which may be true, but she could also use these reasons if she plans to have sex. Either way, “just go along with the story because you can’t actually stop them from having sex,” says Dr. Carroll. And suggest an appointment with your pediatrician or a gynecologist.
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Look at the situation as a blessing in disguise: Your teen actually wants to protect herself from getting pregnant and feels comfortable enough to talk to you about it. Since she’s opening the gates of communication, this is also a good opportunity to discuss having safe sex and the importance of using condoms even when taking birth control pills. If you’re uncomfortable having “the talk,” taking your daughter to the pediatrician or a gynecologist can be helpful. Some doctors will spend time counseling your teen on safe sex issues and may even encourage her to talk openly with you about her relationships.
Get Past the Denial Stage
But you don't think your teen is having sex. “Pull your head out of the sand!” says Dr. Carroll. Even the “good girls” you least suspect of having sex could be doing so, and therefore at risk for getting pregnant. Don’t get caught up in denial.
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Dr. Cheryl Perlis, a gynecologist in Lake Bluff, Ill. tells parents that if a girl has a boyfriend, you should assume she’s having sex. While it isn’t always true, Dr. Perlis believes it usually is, and therefore it’s a good time to bring the teen to see a gynecologist. Your teen may also come up with other ways to get to the gynecologist like complaining about cramps, with the goal of getting birth control pills.