Friday, March 9, 2012

Birth Control for Teens

In response to The Psychiatrist Backs Me Up, an anonymous commenter wrote:

I wish every parent of teens would put them on birth control. The birth control shot (not naming names) is amazing. A teen might have a hard time remembering to take a pill everyday, or to take/remove/reinsert another form of birth control. The shot can be a scheduled, and has little side effects. I don't know what Danielle is on, but GOOD CHOICE! America has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the developed world. And the stats are that children born to teen parents are more likely to be raised in poverty (and remain in poverty), they are more likely to go to jail, etc.

Pregnancy is preventable!

Good job! Every parent should make sure their child is aware of their birth control choices, and has selected one that works for them!

I am going to admit that the decision to encourage Danielle to go on birth control was not an easy one. Although I don't really consider myself to be a religious person any more, I still believe that sex outside of a solidly-committed relationship should be discouraged, and that underage teen sex of any kind is inappropriate.

The truth is, I don't want my kid to be having sex.  I don't want to think about it.  I want to be able to say, "wait until you are married," or at least "wait until you turn 18," and have her obey me without question.  I want my kid to abide by my morals, follow our rules, and not make mistakes that will impact her entire future.

But of course I can't do that.  Danielle is oppositional to the extreme.  If I say the sky is blue, she'll try to argue that it's any other color besides blue.  That's just Danielle.

So for me to say, "don't have sex," and honestly expect that she'll abide by those rules is downright foolish.  Sure, I can make it as difficult as I can for her to have alone time with anyone of the opposite sex, but that doesn't mean that someday she won't find an opportunity to sneak off and do something we will all regret later.

My struggle was this: how could I reconcile the fact that I felt like putting Danielle on birth control condoned behavior of which I disapprove?  I didn't want to be sending my kid the message that underage sexual activity is permissible, because I feel strongly that it is not.  I didn't want to appear to be the parent who, while smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, says, "Don't smoke, it's bad for you."

In the end, I realized that I probably couldn't reconcile what I felt were two opposing ideas.  Instead, I looked at it from a totally different perspective.  I realized that it is more important for Danielle not to get pregnant, than for me to stand behind my ideals of underage chastity.  When I finally came to the understanding that Danielle is going to do what she's going to do, irrespective of my expectations, then deciding in favor of birth control became an easy decision.

I don't want to raise Danielle's children, especially while she is still a minor.  I don't want her to be saddled with the burden of a child she's ill-prepared to raise.  Since I can't control whether or not she becomes sexually active, the only thing I can do is make sure she's on a relatively fool-proof form of birth control.

Now that she's starting on psychotropic medication that can cause significant birth defects, contraception becomes even more important.

At the end of the day, we had to look at outcomes, over any particular moral stance we might have.  We are still doing everything we can to discourage Danielle from underage sexual relationships, but knowing that we might not be completely successful, this seemed to be the better, wiser plan.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think putting your child on birth control is like telling them they have permission to have sex. It is preventative, which is important for a child you KNOW is going to defy you. It's a logical consequence of her behavior.

    Would it help to think of it as like giving her an immunization? If you knew she was planning on running away to a country where small pox was still prevalent and you know that of course she wouldn't follow necessary precautions to prevent getting it, you would try to get her immunized for small pox wouldn't you? That's not saying you approve her running away. It's being practical and protecting your child in a tough situation.



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