As much as you may want to think that your teenager is not sexually active, according to the CDC, about 48 percent of high school students are.
20 percent of these had their first sexual encounter before they were 15. Alarmingly, many of these teens do not use birth control all the time or have misconceptions about when pregnancy can occur.
Talk to Your Kids About Birth Control
I am a firm believer in giving our kids information and answering questions as they come up. That’s not to say that your three year old needs the same information as your 13 year olds! Part of the conversation with your child as they approach puberty should be about birth control. Don't wait until you think they are thinking about having sex, have conversations well before that. You could even call them over right now to look at this article with you!
They need to know that when they decide they are ready for sex, they need to be mature and responsible enough to protect themselves from pregnancy and STD’s. I’m liable to take some heat from those who believe that giving kids information about birth control is encouraging them to have sex. It is your right to believe what you do, but I feel very strongly that only good can come from them having the information. It can help keep them safe.
Make yourself familiar with what is available so that you can talk to your kids and answer any questions they may have. If you don’t know all the answers, that’s okay too! You can look them up together.
Some methods are more effective than others. Of course, you should also consult with your physician to see what may be best for your son or daughter.
- Condoms: A must! It doesn’t matter if another form of birth control is in use. Latex or polyurethane condoms, when used properly, are the best protection against STD’s. There are both male and female condoms, but only one should be used. Should be used along with another method of birth control to help prevent pregnancy. When used alone, they have an 18-21% failure rate (18-24 out of every 100 will get pregnant).
- Birth Control Patch, Birth Control Pill, Birth Control Ring, Birth Control Shot: All of these are hormone-based methods of birth control that are designed to prevent ovulation. When used correctly, they have a 3-8% failure rate (using these along with a condom brings the failure rate down further).
- Diaphragm, Cervical Cap: Because these methods involves planning and discipline (it should be installed six hours before sex etc.), it may not be the best option for teens. It also has a 16 percent failure rate.
- Implantable Contraception: This hormone-based contraceptive designed to prevents ovulation will prevent pregnancy for three years with a failure rate of 1 percent.
- IUD: An IUD works by not allowing the sperm to fertilize the egg. It has a failure rate of only 1 percent, so may also be a good option when combined with a condom.
- Fertility Awareness (or the “Rhythm Method): 25 percent failure rate.
- Spermicide: 29 percent failure rate.
- Withdrawal: 27 percent failure rate.
For more parenting tips, check out MaternityCorner.com.