Tips on talking about contraception with teens

November 3, 2015

For many parents, the idea of talking to their teenager about contraception makes them want to run and hide. These conversations are important  and don't have to be difficult. 

Tips on talking about contraception with teens

Why it's important

  • Teenagers are always very secretive, and often find it difficult to talk about what is on their minds. For that reason, knowing what your teenager already knows about sex and contraception can be difficult to discern. It's sometimes difficult to get fully-grown adults to talk about this subject, never mind teenagers. That is why it is important to have the conversation.
  • As their parent or guardian, you should be the first person they consider approaching about advice on this subject.

1. Assume they know nothing

  • Before you start, you should make the assumption that your teenager knows nothing about contraception.
  • If they tell you that you're going over something they already know, then that's okay. It's better for them to inform you what they already know rather than you skipping over something important.

2. Let them know how you feel

  • Never be afraid to tell your teenager that you would prefer for them to wait until they're older before having sex.
  • As long as you put it across to them calmly, they will be able to take it in and then make their own decisions.
  • Whatever your feelings are on the subject, make sure your teenager knows what they are from the start.

3. Talk about condoms and hormonal medication

  • Regardless of the gender of your teenager, don't just talk about one form of contraception.
  • If they know about both condoms and hormonal birth control, they will know that the responsibility is shared between them and their partner.
  • Talk about how both forms of contraception work so then they can make their own mind about which one they should use.

4. Tell them where to find contraception

  • This is probably the most important aspect of your conversation. Give details about where contraception can be found. Some parents and guardians like to provide their teenagers with contraception to start with to relieve them of any early embarrassment.

5. Make sure there is another adult to talk to

  • Your teenager will know that if you are working, then you will not always be on hand to help. This is why you need to make sure they have another adult they are able to confide in who is able to be there if something happens.
  • A family member is ideal, but failing that, a family friends is okay. As long as your teenager knows that someone will also be there to help, that is the most important thing.
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