When should a teenager start thinking about contraception? When should they consider birth control? If I talk to my daughter/niece/granddaughter about birth control, am I encouraging her to have sex?
So many questions!
“The teen pregnancy rate is still highest in the US (57 per 1000 15-19 year olds), New Zealand (51) and England and Wales (47)” (Source: The Guttmacher Institute), so there’s clearly a need to have better conversations, perhaps earlier, with girls (and boys!) about safe sex, pregnancy and contraception.
If a girl is sexually active, then she should know about birth control. And there is certainly no harm in her knowing about it before she becomes sexually active.
She should know what options are available to her. She should have a good understanding of what constitutes a healthy sexual relationship and healthy sexual behaviour.
Here’s Four Five Oh’s tips for talking to the teenagers in your life about contraception, sex and health
Be open. Perhaps you’re uncomfortable uttering the word ‘vagina’ in your house, but that’s not going to help you have an open, honest conversation with the girls. Women have a duty to the younger generations to rid our body parts of taboo.
Take a leading role. Don’t expect your daughter/nieces/grand daughter’s school to be teaching them about their periods, their labia, their breasts. It can start with a simple trip to the pharmacy to talk them through all the different options of sanitary towels there are.
Set an example. Why not tell your daughter/neice etc what age you started on the pill, how you made that decision? Why not tell them about your first time with your first boyfriend, when you couldn’t work out how to use the condom. They need to know that contraception is a natural and wonderful topic to talk about, that it’s an essential part of every sexual relationship.
Encourage questions. Teenagers have so many questions, ranging from ‘Why do I have to go to school’ to ‘What is this gooey thing coming out of my lady bits?’ It’s important that we try to answer those questions, and encourage more. These are excellent questions to ask, and important questions to answer.
Give them a voice. They may not be comfortable talking to you about everything – if they think you might be disappointed if they’ve started having sex, for example, they’re unlikely to tell you. Encourage them to open up to medical professionals. Encourage them to open up to the friends they trust. Encourage them to be open with their first boyfriends.
Take them to the gynocologist. Girls should have their first consultation with a gynocologist sometime between turning 13 and 15 (before they become sexually active). The gynocologist will check that everything seems fine and talk to them about personal hygiene and periods. Encourage the girl to build a relationship with the gynocologist. This will help them when they later need to make decisions about birth control, or if they have issues with periods etc.
- Share your own experience. You can help the young girls in your life, and other women around the world by sharing your experience right here on Four Five Oh. It takes you 5 minutes and all you need to do is click on this link here to share your experience.
When they’re ready, you can point them in the direction of FourFiveOh
and help them make their birth control decisions together.