Sexual Activity & Teens

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For many reasons, talking to your parents about Birth Control may be hard for you to do. The information provided here might help make it easier.

Talking is Important

Decisions about sex and birth control are some of the most important ones you'll ever make.

  • When is the right time to start having sex?
  • What is the best protection against pregnancy?
  • What is the best protection against STD (sexually transmitted disease)?

You owe it to yourself to make careful, thoughtful decisions. This means you'll need to know as much as you can. Talking with your parents is a good place to start.

You may be thinking, "Talk to my parents about birth control? Why? What good will it do? They'll only get upset."

It may not be easy! But it's important. Here's way:

  • You will feel better about yourself and about using birth control if you don't have to hide it. Sneaking around and lying is no fun -- it only makes you feel guilty. And sooner or later, your parents probably will find out anyway!
  • You show that you care about your parents and their feelings. You also show that you can take responsibility for what you do.
  • Your willingness to talk with your parents may help them trust you.
  • Talking with them may help you look at your decision to be sexually active. Your parents care about the decisions you make.

What to expect

  • Your parents may react strongly at first. Don't be discouraged. You have done the right thing by talking to them.
  • Your parents may not approve of your choices. They may feel disappointed, concerned, angry, or afraid. It can be hard to be patient and listen, but try. Your parents need to express their feelings before they can discuss the issue with you.
  • Your parents may be pleased that you have come to them and that you trust them. They may not even be surprised. Maybe they've wanted to talk with you about birth control, but didn't know how. They may be relieved that you are bringing up the subject.
  • Your parents may need time to think about what you've said. Be prepared to talk about it again.
  • There is no guarantee that this will be easy. Your parents may not agree with you. But talking with them shows that you care about them. It also shows that you are taking an important step toward independence and adulthood.

How to begin

  • Remember that getting started is the hardest part. It should get easier once things are out in the open.
  • Plan what you want to say. Pick a good time and place to talk. This should be a time when:
    • You are not in a hurry.
    • You won't be interrupted.
    • Your parents are relaxed.
    • Both you and your parents are feeling good about each other.

  • Ask for some time alone with your parents. "I need to talk with you about something important. Do you have 15 minutes?"
  • Let your parents know that you care about them and their opinions. "I have some hard decisions to make. I'd like to hear what you think."
  • Try to talk with your parents before you actually need to use birth control. "I'm 17 and I think it is time for my first pelvic exam. Will you help me set it up and go with me?

Talking Tips

  • Talk with your parents about everyday things. Then when you need to talk about more serious things, you'll both feel more comfortable.
  • Be honest about what you think and feel. "I feel worried about." "I'm not sure about."
  • Ask your parents what they think. Then listen to what they say. Here are some ways to let them know that you are listening:
    • Look at them while they speak.
    • Don't have an answer or argument for everything.
    • Tell them when you agree.
  • Be considerate. Try not to do things that could make your parents angry -- such as not looking at them, talking back or interrupting. Those behaviors say, " I already know what you have to say and I don't care." This won't help you communicate.
  • Open the door. Remember, you cannot make your parents agree with you. But you can open the door to good communication.

Where to go for Help

What can you do if you don't feel you can talk with your parents about birth control? Find another adult to talk with:

  • grandparent, aunt, uncle.
  • older brother or sister
  • minister or rabbi
  • teacher or school counselor
  • health educator
  • doctor or school nurse
  • family planning counselor

No matter to whom you choose to talk, make sure you get the help and support you need. Decisions about sex and birth control are too important to be left to chance.