3 Tips for Talking to Your Teen About Birth Control
There are a lot of topics teenagers do not want to talk about with their parents. During this age, parents are no longer cool enough to discuss school, friendships, or body changes. What teens may not realize is that some of these topics can feel just as awkward for their parents.
While it may be uncomfortable, informing your teen about their body and health is unavoidable. One specific tough talk is birth control. Luckily, this subject is not as taboo as it was in the past, so there are many helpful approaches. Whatever way you go about it, consider these talking points to ensure the conversation is both educational and body positive.
1. Birth Control Isn’t Just About Sex
Part of what makes the birth control chat so dreaded could be that teenagers don’t want to talk about sex with their parents. Many of them do not even want their parents to say the word. An important factor to keep in mind is that birth control is not just about sex. Numerous benefits come with it that are worth mentioning.
While birth control can be used for preventing pregnancies, many people take it for additional reasons. Using this medication helps with uncomfortable period problems such as cramping, nausea, and acne. It can also assist in regulating the cycle, which is a common nuisance for new menstruators. It doesn’t have to be an embarrassing conversation. If you’re struggling with that, stick to the facts.
If your teen has brought up the topic of birth control, it’s important to discuss the reasons why people take it. If a friend is on birth control, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re sexually active. They could simply be trying to combat the rages of hormonal acne. However, if your young adult is thinking about becoming sexually active, discuss consent and all options for protection. Birth control comes in many forms, and they can even get birth control online and shipped to their door.
2. There Are Personal Benefits As Well As Medical
Aside from all the advantages listed above, this form of contraception can give a sense of body autonomy. Many types of birth control allow women to have their time of the month with more freedom. Some menstruating people delay their periods if they’re traveling, swimming, or attending a special event. Informing your teen that they have the option to skip or stop their cycle completely on certain types of medication could pique interest in your conversation.
Doctors may be able to prescribe progesterone to delay a period or taking combination birth control continuously can help skip periods entirely. Birth control has come a long way. Your teenager has a lot more choices and options to consider. With so many different methods, it’s easy to find one that works best and makes them feel more confident.
Letting teens know that birth control can have additional benefits can guide the conversation in a less embarrassing way. Remember, it is most important to educate them on their options and ways to gain access. They might not need it yet. But you want them to feel knowledgeable and prepared for when they might want to use birth control.
3. The Language Used Is Important and Powerful
When having the talk about birth control with your teenager, the tone you choose is important. Using body positive language will make the conversation feel more comfortable. You shouldn’t start the conversation by assuming they are already having sex and punishing them. If they ask about getting it, remember that it could be for some of the other reasons previously mentioned.
Try giving your teen a chance to express their own opinions or concerns first. Letting them lead the conversation could be more empowering to them than you think. It is vital to let them know that it is their choice for what is best for their lifestyle and body. Choose an approach that is supportive and promotes self-advocacy. It is easy for adolescents to quickly feel awkward or embarrassed in these kinds of conversations, so use verbiage to help them feel confident.
Another factor that you should be mindful of is treating your teen as an adult during this conversation. This means using the proper language for body parts. Using nicknames for body parts and sex may feel like it is easing tension, but in the long run, it can actually be harmful to their outlook. Choosing accurate vocabulary sets the tone that this is a serious topic and should not be a joke. Personal health shouldn’t feel awkward or silly.
It can be challenging to have grown-up conversations with your teenager about topics like safe sex and birth control. They don’t want to hear their parents talk about it, and parents may struggle with talking to their former kiddo as an adult. Even though it is hard to accept your child is growing up, health talks and body education should not be left out.
Navigating teen growing pains from school drama to learning to take care of themselves can be a challenge. Having these talks should not be put off, however. This topic does not have to be dreaded. There are ways to talk about birth control methods and access. As you have this conversation, make sure you keep it optimistic and enlightening for your teenager.