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September 26th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

Teens and Birth Control, Part Two

bControl1I just want to offer a heartfelt thank you to all of you who wrote comments about Monday’s show with the Dr. Phil Family. I asked you to respond to Katherine’s naïve, but typically teenage, remarks that revealed her ignorance about birth control. I wanted to know if you believed we should make sure our kids get all the facts about birth control, whether they are having sex or not. Or, are we only causing more problems — and perhaps encouraging them to have sex before they are ready — if we push birth control and sex education on them at too early of an age?

What touched me was how much thought you parents have put into this issue. Many of you are obviously anguished, not sure what to do. Others are still admittedly uncomfortable about talking to your children. And there are plenty of heated opinions on both sides. Some of you wrote in to say you are genuinely convinced you can persuade your kids to abstain. “I will be honest with my kids about not having sex until they find the person that they are going to marry,” Lani wrote. “I will also put a fear of God in my daughter’s boyfriends, and my son, about not having sex.” On the other hand, there was this comment from MJ:  “It’s like having a pool. You can tell your kids not to go into the pool. You can build a fence around it. But if you know your kids are still going to figure out a way to get into that pool, don’t you think you ought to teach those kids how to swim?”
So where do I come down on all of this?

bControl2Well, let me say right off that I’ve been very open for a long time about my belief in comprehensive, value-based sex education programs. Studies show that those kids who receive sex education are much less likely to get pregnant than those who don’t — which is very important when you consider that the United States still has the highest rate of teen pregnancy of any developed country. And there is no data that suggests sex education programs increase teenage promiscuity. We can’t be naïve here.  More than ever before, kids are getting bombarded on their own with a smorgasbord of information about sex, which is all the more reason for us to make sure we equip them with the tools to make the proper decisions. We need to make sure they know the very serious risks they face when making the decision to participate in sexual activity.

And what do I think is the parents’ role in all this? When do I believe is the time to have the big talk with your kid? The answer to that question is that there is not simply one “big talk.” Your job is to maintain a constant dialogue with your son or daughter that needs to start pretty early on. If you look on DrPhil.com, you’ll find excellent tips and talking points to get the dialogue started. You don’t have to wait until you are some sort of “sexpert,” full of facts and figures, to begin the dialogue. One of your main jobs is to listen and to be a moral guide — to teach your children that a condom or a pill will not protect their minds, their hearts or their emotions, and the pill or a condom won’t protect them from STDs either.

And as for you and me, our dialogue on this subject is also just getting started. In fact, I want you to tune into Wednesday’s show because we are going to again discuss teens and sex. We’re going to talk about the latest teen sex trend that will no doubt disturb and maybe even disgust you. But it’s happening. It’s a very important issue we simply cannot ignore.

And, as always, I look forward to your comments. Here are a few that came in:

Blog reader Becca says, “Personally, I don’t believe in birth control. I guess it’s safe to say that I do believe that the only safe sex is no sex at all. I’m 18, and it’s worked for me thus far …”

Another reader, AH, believes, “Birth control is only a symptom of the problem. Every teenager should have access to birth control, but girls especially need to take this matter into their own hands. The truth is that birth control pills are extremely detrimental to girls. Artificial hormones damage their health, especially when taken long term. And, it is a false sense of security, because they feel like they don’t need condoms if they are on the pill. This leads to more risk of STDs. Girls need to take their sexual health into their own hands.”

On my Facebook page, Cheryl says: “Lemme see,…. birth control has increased promiscuity and disease, and the one who pays usually is the woman. I think self respect and self control needs to be taught. The guys need to grow up and stop thinking woman are put here on earth to meet their needs. If there is no real commitment, there should be no sex.”

Felicia says, “Being a teen mom, I can say that I never personally talked to my mom about birth control. I feel that our society almost makes it a bad thing to mention that birth control is an option. Adults don’t want to sit down and explain the dirty details of parenting and it’s hardships, because they don’t want to admit that it is HARD!”

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87 Responses to “Teens and Birth Control, Part Two”

  1. kate says:

    I am a 17 year old who recently found out i was pregnant. i am 7 weeks a long now and i wish my parents would have talked to me more about birth control or i even could have told my parents i was sexually active. My sister was a teen mother so the only thing my parents told me was to stay abstinent and they definatly shoved that down my throat.

  2. Candyce says:

    I believe the whole “sex talk” thing isn’t given early enough I really wish sex wasn’t so taboo and parents would talk about the topic more openly. You cannot control what your teenager experiences, and it is beneficial to many young girls out there to feel open to communicate with somebody about the issue. I am a strong believer in girls having the right to go in and get birth control on their own. If you are old enough to have sex, you are old enough to take the resposibilities that go along with it.

  3. Bethany says:

    I have to say that I think we are missing the point about teaching sex-ed. When I was a teen the sex talk I got was, “Don’t you dare come home pragnant!”. The one thing that I wish I was taught was guard your heart and keep yourself pure! I think we aren’t spending enough time telling our young boys and girls, you are important and worth the wait! I have a 3 year old and a 4 month old and the message I want them to get is that sex is something that should be between a husband and his wife! I hope that through teaching them to stay pure in all they do that abstanace will be much easier! I will have that talk when the time is right but right now I am reading my little girl a book about her first kiss called, “The Princess and the Kiss”. It is a cute fairytale about purity and that is what I think we should teach! We as a nation treat sex like it is an action and I think it is far more than that! I have been watching and am sad at what sex has become, it is really special and pure when it is between a husband and wife! That is what it was intended for when God created it and I think it is at its best and most enjoyable when that is the context that it is had!

  4. monica says:

    We have to talk to teens about Birth control/safe sex. As a High School Teacher I am forever hearing teens talk about their weekends, proms, boyfriends, etc. Parents are too busy these days to talk to their teens about much of anything or they don’t think that their child is doing “THAT”. Then they are soooooooooo surprised when their daughter comes home pregnant. Also young girls today don’t take the Birth Control. I guess they don’t think it will happen to them or maybe they are thinking that will get me some attention. Kids are starving for attention. Adults in general have to help teens with these topics. Society says if it feels good do it. You don’t have to be married to have children. In the 80’s, if you were young and pregnant, it was kept quiet and marriage was discussed as an option(not that marriage was the right thing), but the family thought things through. Now girls just have babies, no marriage was even in the picture to start with, they go to school proud they are having a baby, have baby showers like it is a wonderful thing, and don’t even want the guy involved in the babies life. Where are the adults? Don’t encourage this. Stand up and help young teens. Schools need to teach this because students are not getting it at home.

  5. Michele says:

    I am a single mom of 3 children ages 16 and 14 (girls) and an 11 yr old son. I do have my 16 yr old on birth control for various reasons and will be getting the 14 yr old on it as well. I haven’t had to discuss it with my son yet but the time is coming. He is involved in any of the conversations that the girls and I have although sometimes I feel its best to not include him when the topics are private to the girls or are just to involved for his age. My 16 yr old approached me about getting on birth control and we discussed the reasons behind it. I personally am happy that she chose to take on that responsibility to prevent any negligence on her part or someone else’s that may interfere with her goals in life. She is currently not sexually active but I know should that day come that she chooses to do so she knows what precautions she still needs to take (using a condom) in addition to her birth control. We have talked at length about the right time and the right person and what it means and what the possible outcomes may be should she choose to do so and that she trust our relationship as a mother and daughter to come to me with any questions or issues she may want to discuss and I am confident she will. Raising a self respectful and intelligent daughter was my job as a parent. I may not always accomplish the goals I aspire for her, or any of them to have but I am glad I did with this one.

  6. Sharee says:

    Why are parents in this day of age so scared to be open with their kids??? They are willing to throw beer parties to insure the safety of their kids so they are drinking at home (when in reality they are just too afraid to say no and want to be their kid’s friends rather then a parent). But they can’t talk to their kids about sex…..all kinds of sex. And birth control. And STD’s. If we knew our kids were about to walk down a street and be shot would we let them walk down that street???? NO! So why would we let them go with a boy that will get them pregnant or give them an STD!!?? My daughter is 7 and I already talk to her about certain sex issues. And she is fine with it!

  7. melissa says:

    This is a subject my friends and I have been discussing ourselves recently. We all have girls ranging from 12 to 3 yrs old. Yes, even though they are still pretty young (well not the 12 yr old) we are discussing it because we feel we need to get our game plan ready! And also because I have a 14 year old sister that recently became sexually active. I asked my mom to put her on birth control because she walked in on Katie having oral sex. But I dont know if that was really the right thing to do because about a month or so later she progessed to intercourse! Whose to say she wouldn’t have done it either way? One friend wants to save money to take her daughter to China because she heard they sewed the girls up until they got married. She’s only half joking! There are 5 of us that have talked about this and we all have different opinions. Now right or wrong, I have not told my daughters (8 and 5) what sex is, just that it happens between a man and woman, and that if they have sex before they are married their cooch will rot. Which it can, because of all the stds out there so I dont feel im really lying. One night My oldest and I were watching Gene Simmons Family jewels and it was about herpes, so she asked what herpes were and I told her it was a disease she could get if she had sex before shes married, and yes it’ll make her ***** rot. I dont know if I’m doing the right thing being so blunt with my girls. I do know that they need to be talked to about sex, because at my eight year olds age I have heard stories about girls having oral sex. But I dont know what else to do. Im still undecided about wether or not to automatically put my girls on birth control when they become teenagers. One friend says she will no matter what and another says she wont because she feels its giving permission to have sex. it’s really a tough decision to make and I for one do not want to mess this up!

  8. beka says:

    Why is talking about sex such a taboo thing — i have always said knowledge is power when it comes to sex. IF you teach your daughter to be strong within herself – arm her with the truth about sex, about not just birth control but also STD’s and everything else floating out there then they are more likely to not let some horny teenager pressure them into it, or do it because there friends are. I remember when i was kid there was this big AIDS campaign on Australian TV- it scared the hell out of me, and even at 30 i still remember it.
    Sex, birth control, STD’s are all part of life, if we bury out heads in the sand about what our kids do then we are opening them up to a death sentence i think. So even if they are on birth control a child is not the only life long side effect sex can give you. Honesty is always the best policy – you don’t have to be graphic but honest – sex can be good, sex can show love, sex can be a large part of someones relationship but responsibility should play a larger part..

  9. Marla says:

    I understand the sensitivity of this issue. My perception is that this question alone only deals with a fraction of the issue related to Teens and birth control. I myself am a 40 year child of teen parents. Life for my parents and siblings has been a struggle in every aspect of being successful as our”true”person. I have worked as a counselor to teen parents. I think it is a disservice to our teens who are searching for answers to questions that will affect their lives, and the generation to come, either to the positive or to the negative. The teen and the child of a teen parent lead a vastly different life than the adult and child who postponed sexual activity until ready in ALL aspects of their personal life.The human being is MUCH more than the physical. God has blessed human beings with the benefits that come from a sexual relationship, but HE also placed directions for each human beings well being. He did this because he wants what is best for us and to lead wonderful lives. If we teach teens looking for help to be on the right path to meet their potential, and only focus on the physical aspect of preventing a pregancy we have taught the teen much less than they deserve. I have mentioned the spiritual aspect. Who are we to teach our children differently than a loving creator? What about the social aspect? Have we thought about the teen that is given birth control and after having given their self only to find their partner telling all, and then going to another partner? Do we even comprehend the detriment that the teen now suffers for a very long period of time, patricualry at a stage where they are judging their self worth? What happens to the child given birth control on a cognitive level when we send the conflicting message about a important life lesson based soley on the physical and leave out the training. Whatever our society decides on the answer to this question I think the question that follows is -do we allow parents to teach, or have the schools ursurp that authority from the parent, OR allow the parent to shirk their responsibilty to their child.

  10. Shealy says:

    I am a 26 year old single parent. My son is 6 years old. I believe that parents as well as the schools need to explain all the consequences that come along with having sex. Talk about STDs and AIDS. Show the kids pictures. Talk about pregnancy. I think if teens knew what it was REALLY like to have a baby at a young age they might think twice before having sex. I also think they need to know how serious the diseases are that you can get from sex as well. I am not sure how it is now, but I had sex education in high school and had to carry a bag of sugar around with me for a week. Hello! A bag of sugar is NOTHING like a baby! Giving teens birth control and educating them on sex is not telling them to go out and have it. It is helping them understand what it is and how serious the consequences are that come along with it.

  11. sheena says:

    Hi there…i am a 20 yr old soon to be single mom….when i was growing up the sex ed course at my school was a joke. we were told that we should just use condoms or have no sex…my parents did not really give me the sex talk and i wished they did. I was scared to tell my parents that i was having sex because it was a subject that was hard to talk about in my home. Now with me going to be a mom in a couple weeks i really wished i had waited. Yes i have an education which in the end will be a help, but i do not have a father that is willing to help take care of his child. My son will be raised without having his father in his life just because his father is abusive and doesnt want anything to do with him or me. Now i know that birth control will be my number one thing after i give birth. I cannot afford to have another child. Raising one will be all i can afford.
    One thing i wish is that parents will learn not to be afraid to talk to their children about sex and birth control. Do not go by what you might hear at school. The teen pregnancy rate is on the rise and i think it has to do with parents and schools not teaching their children about birth control and condoms.

  12. NIKKI says:

    OK SO I WAS A TEEN MOM AND WAS MARRIED WITH A BABY WHEN I WENT TO MY SENIOR PROM! IT WAS HARD BUT I DID IT, MY FAMILY REALLY DIDNT LIKE THE FACT THAT I WAS GOING TO KEEP THE BABY BECAUSE I HAD A MODELING CONTRACT TO GO TO NEW YORK WHEN I FOUND OUT I WAS PREGO! THEY FINALLY GOT OVER IT AND NOW IM STILL MARRIED AND HAVE 3 KIDS NOW WE HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 8YRS NOW SO I GUESS WHAT IM TRYING TO SAY IS IT HARD BUT IF I DID THEN MOST TEEN CAN DO IT WITH GREAT FAMILY SUPPORT! DONT GET ME WRONG I THINK TEEN SHOULD WAIT TO HAVE KIDS BUT IF IT HAPPENS YOU WILL GET THROUGH IT!

  13. Meaghan says:

    Has anyone noticed that girls always say I wish my parents had talked to me about sex and birth control after they get pregnant? Does anyone realize that kids can go talk to their parents about sex just as easily as parents can be the ones to start the dialogues? We’re the ones making the choices to be sexually active. It’s just as much our fault as it is theirs if we don’t ask questions and do everything in our power to be prepared and safe.

    Kids aren’t stupid, they know how babies are made. Which makes them 100% culpable in having unprotected sex and getting pregnant. You can’t blame parents for not talking to their kids about “the birds and the bees”. If you want to have sex, have sex, go to the school nurse or a free clinic and find out how to get some protection if you’re not comfortable talking to your parents. Whoever started that whole “you can’t get pregnant your first time” rumor is a total moron and so is anyone who believes it. Know your bodies girls, be aware of how it works and what consequences can result from your actions.

    Also, teaching abstinence over safe sex is ridiculous. All those adults out there were teenagers once. Don’t you remember when you were a teenager when someone told you not to do something it made you want to do it more?! Telling us how to have safe sex is NOT endorsing sexual activity it’s giving kids the tools to be prepared and to protect themselves. You teach us how to drive a car so we don’t get behind the wheel of a 4,000 pound missile and kill someone. Why wouldn’t you teach us how to protect our bodies too?

    We’re going to have sex, it’s a natural thing. Society glamorizes it and boys are told to want it. It’s going to happen. You don’t want your schools to educate your children about safe sex and then you blame the school when your daughter gets pregnant. You have to let your schools do what they can to give your children the tools to make smart choices.

    Teen pregnancy is an increasing problem in our society. We have the infant mortality rate of a 3rd world country because so many teens are getting pregnant before their bodies are ready to take on that responsibility. My mom works at my old high school and 2 years ago she told me that a 12 year old was pregnant at the middle school. 12!!! When I was 12 I still thought boys were silly and immature. Girls are growing up faster these days, we need to educate them, and telling them not to do something is not an education. They need to know the tools and the resources that are available to them should they make the choice to have sex.

    The more we make kids afraid to talk to their parents or any adults about sex and how to be safe and the less available information on the subject is, the worse this teen pregnancy epidemic is going to become.

  14. Heidi says:

    Im 17 years old and currently a senior in High School. I think that the schools and parents need to talk with children a lot more than they do. Currently we have 5 girls pregnant at our school, and since i was a freshman there has been a total of 27 girls who have became pregnant. Also, there are 6 girls from last years senior class who just found out they were pregnant a month after graduation. I think it is ridiculous and messed up how many girls think its cute that they are pregnant. I see comments on myspace and facebook about how they are having a baby shower and how their baby is due soon and they all think that it is cool. I see pictures of girls on their profiles of them pregnant and everyone leaves comments saying how pretty they look and how cute they look pregnant. Ive been at the same school all through high school and we only had a sex ed class for three days. All they said was you can get this this and this from having sex. Then we played a game. I think schools aren’t taking it serious, and they should have part of the blame because kids spend 75% of their time at school. We do have a parenting class at our school where you have to carry around a baby, but it is not required. I think everyone in nineth grade should have to take this class at every school because this is around the age that most kids begin thinking about sex. Parents NEEEED to talk to their children and tell them look this is what will happen, and they need to be serious. I think parents these days are trying to be more of friends than actual parents. I think every girl who is thinking about becoming sexually active or who is already sexually active needs to be on birth control. Obama needs to make a law where girls can go and get birth control without a parent because i think a lot of children and parents dont talk because of the embaressment.

  15. Natalie says:

    Thanks Dr Phil for presenting the evidence clearly. I really worry about the US governments blind and naive approach to abstinence based teaching. As a Dr myself I have worked with many young people whose naivety and ignorance (thanks to those supposedly looking out for them) has led to problematic infections, and worse, pregnancies that harm mother and child. If we want to protect young people’s health, reduce teen pregnancies and termination rates, then sex education definitely needs to be the norm.

  16. Brad says:

    @ Mitzy Roberts

    Everyone has an opinion. I ask whether or not condoms helped anything. I think Dr. Phil has touched on this a few times. Girls seek out affection when they don’t get it from their parents. What you did, and I don’t criticize because you did the best you knew how, was attack the symptom and not the problem.

    What might have made a bigger difference if you could find a safe male mentor or role-model that could give her acceptance without sexual intimacy. She wasn’t sexually active because everything was going great in her life. Something was missing and if that missing piece could be found, she wouldn’t need to resort to sex for acceptance.

  17. clare says:

    Sex education and self respect starts at home. I have always tried to be open with my 2 daughters, my eldest is 16 and is a very sensible girl, yes she has an implant but has also been armed with self respect.

    I do feel that a lot is being left to schools as regards to sex education, should’nt some of it be down to the parents?

    You teach your kids to walk,talk, you teach them right from wrong, so sex eduaction is just another thing to teach them. Ok so you might stammer and be red faced for a while but thats better than your child coming home with a STD or having to make a choice which could affect them for the rest of there lifes!!!

  18. Susan Penske says:

    Only think I will say about teens and birth control. We raised our daughter in church, she was always very good about “don’t worry I’m not having sex til I’m married”. She even signed a paper in Sunday School as a member of group of kids that were not going to have sex before marriage. We talked to her about being careful, she had an older brother who basically told her the same. The one child that I was worried about was her brother….boy was I wrong. My daughter ended up pregnant before she graduated. I didn’t know that at prom/graduation she was pregnant. Now she is 21 years old, raising her 20 month old daughter alone. Baby’s daddy is a dead beat. So no matter what you talk about….talk, talk, talk….I beat myself up because I didn’t push her to get birth control. I love my granddaughter but I wish I had been more forceful about my daughter getting birth control. And remember you can’t always “believe” that your child will NEVER do that!

  19. Aubrie says:

    I’m only fifteen, and I think that parents should open up to their kids about sex. I learned that my mom lost her virginity at an extremely young age, and that had a big influence on me. Im not a virgin, but somedays i wish that my mom would have talked to me earlier, so that i would know about all the risks that you take when you have sex.

    bottom line; parents need to open up and talk to their kids about sex, before its too late for them.

  20. Marleigh says:

    I’m a 17 year old girl, and i’m actually one of the few virgins. It seems like sex is the only thing on anyone’s mind in my school and that’s all any boy thinks about. I was in a relationship for a year and a half and we did not have sex. At one time I did think it was safer for me to be on birth control and it would have made me feel a lot more comfortable. My mom and I don’t have open dialogue about anything like this, she thinks that it would be giving me permission to have sex and that is not how I would take it. I wouldn’t take advantage of the pill just to sleep around either. I think that my mom needs to come to the realization that at 17 years old she raised me well enough to know better and to make my own decisions about birth control and about sex.

  21. Anna says:

    Of course teens should have access to birth control – I read on one of the replies that teen pregnancy is not the real issue, it is only a symptom, I agree – we need to look deeper

  22. Sarah says:

    Girls often (9/10 I would estimate) think that boys are emotional when it comes to sex, because that is how we are. I do not look at sex as being physically satisfying, rather emotionally fulfilling. Boys, on the other hand (as I have learned through the years), see sex as a physical need, like a bad cough that they want fast medicine for in order to feel “good”. I do not think girls should tamper with their bodies (birth control, abortion etc.). It is not healthy and it isn’t really that fair. I think if teenagers were educated about on not just “how” but “why” we do sex, abstinence would increase because girls would see that we can only get want we really want from a marriage relationship.

  23. Aubrie says:

    Sarah,

    I agree with your standpoint when you said we should educate girls on the “why” part of sex, along with the “how”, but even if girls are educated about it, theres no saying that they WONT go out and have sex. Teenage girls try to fit in with their friends, which usually leads to them having sex, so…i do think that girls need to be educated, and if NEED be, put on the pill. Mostly because, condoms are not always effective, and this way…you have a little extra backup so that nothing happens, that you dont want to.

    Im not saying that your viewpoints are wrong persay….just kinda, flawed. Im a teenge girl, and i know exactly how they think, and TRUST me, its not what you would expect it to be, its actually alot worse.

  24. Marleigh says:

    Sarah,
    Hormones are going to get in the way of “being in love” and “having sex”. Kids will be kids and they will do what they want to do. I’m 17 years old and I still have my virginity.. but I will say i’m the only one of my friends with it. I’m not waiting until marriage I am just waiting until it is right for me. Every girl has a different time when she feels sex is right. Birth Control will help prevent things you can’t deal with right now. I do understand that if you are “old enough” to have sex you should be “old enough” to deal with whatever concequences you may face, but most girls in their teenage years aren’t ready to have a baby and they should have protection because it’s going to happen. If you want to wait until you are married more power to ya, but don’t judge people who don’t.. you don’t know that they weren’t in love or that it wasn’t just as special as their wedding night. All I am saying is I have an appointment to get on the pill soon and not because i want to sleep around, but because it will make me feel more comfortable.

  25. Julie says:

    Dear Phil I am a mother of teenagers both girls and boys. I strongly believe that parent(s) have a big role availing of their teenagers as much information as possible. I am open to my children and it works. Trust me communication technology makes connected to the so called friends on bebo, face book where they get vulnerable to meeting friends and wrong information. One day I told my girls to concentrate on their studies and that the right time starting sexual relation is when they are ready for marriage. One f them replied that her friends advise her to get a boyfriend as she has to practice and be excellent when she married. i developed goose pimples. I am however happy that she confessed having not got involve in sex. And it is my sincere desire that she remains faithful. So parents if we do not speak to this precious children, we shall be accountable to society and above all to God. Since then i openly speak to my children about sex. My advise to teenager is that if they can starve to keep their bodies is fashionable state why not avoid sexual relationship that come with psychological stress, risk to STI and HIV.

    From the African perspective, virgins were honoured and given a special ceremony, however this traditional value and norm faded away. It takes a community effort to grow a child in African communities but in western world it take a parent and the teacher. In my opinion models such as Marleigh a 17 year virgin should be encouraged.

  26. Candyce says:

    Sarah,
    It is very naive that you think a teenage boy/girl is going to listen to “it will be so much better to wait after marriage.” Trust me, my boy born 6/13/09 barely married in October, that it doesn’t always happen that way. And to prevent having a million of teenage girls making babies birth control is the way to go. If you talk to your teenager it doesn’t have to mean “NOW I CAN GO HAVE SOME SEX WITHOUT WORRY,” it’ll just mean that if that moment happens, you don’t have to worry so much about babies happening.

  27. Susan says:

    To Sarah (10/22, 6:36pm),

    While abstinence should always be encouraged for teenagers in middle and high school and even, if possible, college or vocational school, not everyone chooses to wait until marriage to have sex for the first time. Avoiding sexual activity in a teen’s school years also avoids the catastrophic consequences of either unwanted pregnancy or even worse, incurable and potentially fatal sexually transmitted diseases. And without either of those worries, teens can complete all their educational goals; first high school, then either college or vocational training, and after that, can go on to get good jobs that they enjoy and worked hard to obtain.

    That being said, not every person is going to marry in their late teens or early twenties, and for a young woman or young man to marry ONLY to legitimize sex is, in many cases, a recipe for separation and divorce down the road. Some people, for their own personal reasons, choose never to marry OR have children. Are these folks supposed to remain celibate for the rest of their lives because they made a different choice? Abstinence is a terrific practical advantage for teens in their middle and high school years, and during their post high school educations. Waiting until marriage to have sex for the first time is a choice for EACH individual to make.

  28. Marleigh says:

    Candyce,
    AMEN! you understand exactly what i was trying to say. i may be a virgin but that doesn’t mean i don’t want to have sex and it doesn’t mean i wont at some point before i’m out of school. birth control should be there for any girl is she wants and decides to take it. it is for no one to judge.

  29. Cass says:

    I am a 26yr old married mum of 4 kids,,,i had my first daughter at a very young age(17yrs) and whilst i do wish my parents had talked to me more on these sorts of subjects it is really up to the teenager to take steps to get on birth control.My daughter was in no way planned but i have found many young girls wanting to become a mother, I normally offer them babysitting in the hope they see how hard it really is,,and also tell them exactly what is involved in being a mum.I know that there r alot of unplanned babies but i think the problem is also that alot of young girls actually want to have kids when they are really still children them selves!

  30. Kimberly says:

    Dear Dr. Phil,

    My mom has always been really supportive in educating myself and my sister about sex and other similar topics. She always told me that I could come and talk to her about anything (i.e. getting on the pill). However, being younger I was also afraid to go to her.

    During my senior year of high school (I am now in my softmore year of college) an exchange student from Switzerland came to speak to my French class. We ended up questioning him about the sex education offered in Switzerland. He said that in the area of Switzerland where he is from, that it is common for boys and girls to become sexually active in middle school and have multiple partners throughout life. He also said that sex education begins in kindergarten and is required every year until graduation. There are school nurses whom provide and teach students about birth control.

    I do not believe in people becoming sexually active so young and with having multiple partners. However, I know that it is happening. My school did not have any sex education classes. All we learned about was STDs. I believe sex education of various levels should be offered from kindergarten through high school. The truth is often unlearned or construed from learning through peers and their peer pressure.

    Before becoming sexually active, after I graduated high school, my boyfriend and I discussed birth control. I’ve always known about the pill, but I was too afraid of it because I’ve always had problems remembering to take medication. Plus, as a double major in college and working part time, I already have enough on my plate to remember. Then I discovered Implanon from my boyfriend’s sister. For everyone whom has not heard of Implanon, it is basically a plastic toothpick that is inserted into the fat of the arm between the shoulder and the elbow. It lasts 3 years and has a lower percentage fail rate than the pill. Without insurance it is 1000+, but my Dad’s insurance covered everything. All I had to pay was the copay for the consultation visit, then the copay again when I went to have the procedure done. It must be done during the girl’s period, and my period was messed up probably for about 6 months before it regulated.

    Before we became willing to try the Implanon by itself, we also used spermicide and condoms. I definately recommend to use multiple methods with any usage of birth control. Especially if with multiple partners. Always consider how your relationship is and think that if you became pregnant today would you be okay? Let that be the decider of how many methods are used.

    I am a big believer in parents talking about boys and girls about sex. My sister is in 7th grade and she comes to me with the questions she is too afraid to ask my mom. I hate how people act like sex is a thing to fear. I am not married, but my boyfriend and I plan to become married sometime after I graduate college. We live together, have sex, make love, pay bills, and go through life as if we were married. I do not feel bad for being sexually active. I think it should be stressed to boys, girls, men, and women that sex and love can be beautiful and can enhance a relationship if it is already meaningful. However, there are always risks emotionally and physically when becoming sexually active. Parents and teachers not only have to tell children and students about the risks for pregnancy and STDs, but also about how relationships change. My rule of thumb: Do not have sex unless you seriously believe that the relationship is serious, meant to last, and can survive the possible changes.

    I have been with 1 person, my boyfriend. Why did we agree to become sexually active? Because we are serious about our relationship and were ready for the next step and any possible outcomes. I would like to add that my boyfriend had been previously engaged and sexually active with his fiance, making me the second person he has been with. Before we became sexually active in any way, I told him he must have an STD test. He agreed without any argument and the results were negative. **Ladies, if he loves you he will be willing to wait and to have a simple test done.

  31. Mickey says:

    I just found out that my 17 year old daughter is pregnant….she does not live with me, so I am upset that her father and step mother for not having a direct conversation with her…. or that she would have talked to me about it— I know I am at fault too. She is scared and I am very concerned. She is considering all her option, and I am just not sure how to guide her. Or what her father and stepmother will say when they are told. I wish there was someone I could get support from so I could help her make the toughest decision of her life.

  32. Melinda says:

    I just want to say to all the teens out there as well as the parents: Please don’t put all your faith in a pill, a shot or an implant. These are artificial hormones and don’t always work. My daughter is 11 years old now and is a pill baby. I took the pill just like I was supposed to and I still got pregnant. Her biological father is a deadbeat. He has not seen her since she was two. No phone calls, letters, nothing. He just ran.

    Please be sure to let your daughters know that even though they are on birth control, there still is a failure rate and that they can still get pregnant.

    I read the posts here and I got the feeling that the parents out there are putting way too much faith in birth control. It is not 100%. It may be close but your daughters can still come home pregnant.

  33. Bailey says:

    First off I was that teen girl that got pregnant and I NEW what I was doing I new what birth control was. we wanted a baby, I new my mother would flip, I new there went my youth, but thats what I WANTED. Me being like most teens I did what I wanted. I in no way shape or form regret my child, children now, but if I could I would go back and tell myself give it a few years there’s still a few really cool (childless) things to do.So my advice to you baby hungry teens WAIT at least two years if someone wants to have a baby with you chances are they or someone else will be plenty willing to join in the act with you in a couple.MOTHERS show them this! every time they ask to go somewhere tell them sure but if you had a baby were goes that!(whatever that want to do) P.S the only teens that dont know about safe

  34. Sue says:

    Wow, I’m glad I found this thread. My daughter will be 15 in a few months, and has been with her boyfriend for 4 months. I know that they are “talking” about sex, but they swear they have not, yet. I want her to go on the pill, but she told me that she doesn’t want to, because then we will think they ARE having sex. I’m putting her on it anyway. Luckily, we LOVE the boyfriend, and he’s like a part of our family after knowing him for 4 months. Dad and I have always been very open with our two daughters (the other is 13….no boyfriend yet), ESPECIALLY about sex…..the joys, the risks, everything. Such controversity about birth control for these girls. I will put both of my daughters on it. They are well informed about sex, pregnancies, diseases, etc….but c’mon!!! They’re teenagers!!! No matter how well you communicate with them and arm them with information, they aren’t always going to think with their brains.

  35. catherine says:

    hey im catherine im 21 and i had my baby girl on the 13th of october 09 i was 20 at the time i had my daughter and i didnt really have a mum that spoke about safe sex and all that as it was hard to talk about these things and i didnt speak with her either i wish i had of used protection as it was a silly decision on my behalf as i did end up pregnant and i wouldnt change my daughter for the world but i should of waited till later on in life as i would of been more set up i was luckly enough to have my career but i didnt have a husband to be there i have been a single mum since word get go but i had to cut the bad things out of my life so my daughter had the best life as men that have no stability in their lives cant provide for a child and thats why i made the decision to do it on my own and i think the best thing for woman that have kids is their main piority if i ever found out my partner had or had even been accused of putting a hand on my daughter he would be so far out the door and i wish younger mums would see that just because your in love doesnt mean its the best thing .. and ill be the first person to advocate safe sex as young girls need to live and be young as it is a life changing decision and your life isnt your own any more and its not your time its baby time… i really hope young teens see what people are saying because i never listened and now im a single young mum and its hard but its something i chose and i love it but its a decision i wasnt ready for and i shouldnt of been stobern and listened because the best advice is from someone who is in that decision and if young girls and teen think it wont happen to them it will and can happen and if you think birth control isnt a good idea live a day in the life of a young mum and if more teens think birth control isnt a good idea then there will be alot more teen pregnancies

  36. Colleen says:

    I am the mom of two girls, 13 and 16. My 16 year-old has been seeing her boyfriend for nearly six months. We’ve had several conversations about birth control in which I’ve been very open — effectiveness, risks, STDs. She never really came out and asked to be put on the pill. We’ve also included conversations about her life goals, emotional impact (what if they have sex and then he leaves). She’s been dropping hints along the way about how bad her periods are and that if she were on the pill, they’d be so much better. Finally, she approached me the other night asking to be put on the pill. She says 50% so to treat her cramps but also in case she has sex. She says he’s not pressuring her to have sex but it is obvious they’ve discussed it and may even have preliminary plans — my husband and I think prom. Anyway, I’m mixed. If I put he on the pill, I feel like I’m giving her permission. If I don’t, I’m afraid of the “heat of the moment.” So this is what I’m thinking. Talk to her again about my concern for her emotional health if things go bad and that they’ve only been dating six months. I’ll talk to her doctor for recommendations to treat menstrual discomfort, and if in 6 months she still thinks she wants to be put on the pill, I’ll do so no questions asked. I like the boyfriend but this is her first real boyfriend and, at this age, relationships don’t tend to last. So I’m just thinking that in six months she may feel differently about this young man. She just started a job too so I really think if she wants to be responsible for her body, she should be responsible for the cost of the prescription. Thoughts?

  37. Hillary says:

    My mother became a parent at age 18. She married my father and went on to have six more children with him, the oldest five being daughters. I am the youngest daughter. I have a close relationship with my mother, and she has always been very open with me, especially about sex and similar matters. She expressed to myself – and all my sisters before me – that while she does not regret the life she has lived, she knows that the timing of such milestones as pregnancy and marriage have made things more difficult on her (she graduated from USC at 22, pregnant with her first child and financially independent). Her mother before her also began a family out of wedlock, but refused to discuss these issues with my mother. My mother believed that she could reverse this cycle by forging a bond of openness and trust with her own daughters. She promoted waiting as long as possible, but humbly cited her own past as an acknowledgement that that is not very realistic. She made it very clear that if we took the risks involved with sex, we should best protect ourselves from any negative consequences, such as pregnancy or STDs. That said, she did not proactively seek birth control for any of us at a young age. Two of my sisters asked for it in their teens, and after very deep conversation she allowed and paid for it. My other two sisters and myself each began using it in our teens as well, but used our own means to acquire it – I went to Planned Parenthood. Just a few months after I began taking it, I told my mother. She was proud of me for being a responsible young woman, and I was proud of her for being a responsible parent. She acknowledged reality, gave her “motherly” opinion on waiting, and armed us with the knowledge we needed to make informed decisions about sex. Three of my sisters are now mothers themselves. They waited to have children until after they had graduated from college, become financially independent, established a career, and gotten married. My fourth sister is neither married nor a parent, and this is by choice, because she has other goals she wants to achieve first. I am a college student in a monogamous relationship, and I have dreams for myself that would be made highly unlikely (at the very least) if I were to have a child now. I am grateful for my mother and the way she raised me, and my family is proof that it works.

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