Next Tuesday, September 26th, is World Contraception Day and it has us thinking a lot about birth control! While it is great that teens can get birth control and other sexual + reproductive health services for free and without a parent, sometimes it can be helpful to talk to a parent or trusted adult about these tough subjects. It may be weird to think about-but they were teens once too!
What if my parents have not started the conversation?
Just because your parents have not brought up birth control themselves does not mean they don’t want to talk to you about it. Parents also find this conversation awkward and may struggle to find the right way to bring it up themselves. Many parents want to be involved in decisions like what kind of birth control is right for you. They may even want to go with you to visit a doctor or clinic.
Ok, I want to talk to my parents about birth control, how do I prepare for starting “the talk”?
(Remember, you can’t cover everything in one conversation. This is an ongoing dialogue)
- Think about what you want to talk about. A lot of teens use birth control for things like regulating their period or clearing up their skin. What are your reasons for wanting to go on birth control and how much do you want to share? It’s ok to keep some things personal.
- Do some research. There are lots of methods. Learn about some of the choices and think about what might be right for you. Learning the facts can help show that you are able to think about this decision in a mature and responsible way and can also prepare you to answer any questions or misinformation your parents might have themselves.
- Think about what questions you have. A lot of people write down questions or points before a big conversation. This can be very helpful, especially when the conversation may be uncomfortable!
I am ready to talk, how do I start the conversation?
- It may be helpful to start talking in a way that is not personal. Start by saying something like “a friend of mine is starting birth control, what do you think about that?”
- Acknowledge that this is uncomfortable! You can say something like “this is hard for me to talk about but I value your opinions.” Chances are your parents are nervous too and acknowledging that can help make everyone a little more comfortable.
- Bring up your personal values and beliefs about sex, relationships, and birth control. Ask your parents about their values. This can help you learn from your parents and find common ground.
- Ask your parents about their own experiences. Did they talk to their parents? What is their birth control story?
- Build up to the tougher questions. Allow you and your parents to get comfortable talking before you ask the questions that make you most nervous.
- Have resources ready. Parents may find it difficult to talk about sex with you. They can visit Talk With Your Kids for resources on talking to you! Your parents may not have all the facts either. You can visit TeenSource or Planned Parenthood to find out more information about birth control options.
What if I can’t talk to my parents?
Sometimes people aren’t ready to talk to us about the things we want to talk about. If you feel that talking about birth control with your parents could get you in trouble or damage your relationship with your parents, it’s ok to keep it to yourself. Teens do have a right to get birth control and other sexual health services without their parents. You may find it helpful to talk to another trusted adult like an aunt, cousin, older sibling, or friend’s parent. You can always talk to the staff at a local clinic.
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This blog was reposted from TeenSource.org, a project of Essential Access Health. TeenSource.org is an online hub for comprehensive and teen-friendly information on birth control, STDs, relationships and teen’s rights to accessing sensitive services. The site features youth-developed blogs and videos, a clinic finder, a Condom Access Project and links to TeenSource social media where youth can stay updated on relevant sexual and reproductive health information and news.