Thursday, March 15, 2012

Birth control for my daughter?

Hi. I am hoping you may be able to offer me some advice. My husband and I disagree on how to handle this situation. My daughter came to me and told me that she was thinking of becoming intimate with her boyfriend of one year. I took her to a Planned Parenthood clinic and got her birth control pills. I also talked to her about the importance of using a condom, and told her she could come to me if she ever had any questions or concerns. I gave her some books on female sexuality, and encouraged her to communicate her needs to her boyfriend. I told her that she was entitled to sexual pleasure too, and she shouldn't be ashamed to ask for what she needs/wants etc etc.

I am very liberal and was involved in the women's movement all through high school and college. I always hated the whole sexual double standard, and vowed that I would raise my daughter to be comfortable with her body and her sexuality. My husband is upset with me, even though he has no problem with our son(who is younger) having sex! He allowed Jason's girlfriend to spend the night, but has different standards for Carissa. I don't think that's fair. He said I should have told her to wait until she is married. I think that is ridiculous! Not only is it outdated advice, it is sexist advice. My daughter has not expressed any interest or desire to get married thus far. She wants to move to New York and pursue a career as a fashion designer. I am very career oriented and ambitious, and tried to pass that on to my daughter. Of course, if she ever decided to have a traditional marriage and children I would support that. But I don't think we should be pushing it on her. I would have preferred she waited until she was older to have sex, but I am glad that she felt comfortable enough to come to me. I don't want to make her feel guilty or ashamed, because sex is natural and healthy. She isn't doing anything wrong. In my opinion, she is being mature and responsible. Who do you think is right in this situation? I would like an unbiased opinion. Thank you.


Dear Shelly:

When it comes to parenting differences, they are just that differences. I would not agree with your husband however, he has a right to his opinions the same as you. I agree what is good for the boys is good for the girls even more so because we have so many males who do not take responsibility for the babies they bring into this world.

I noticed your question did not reveal how old either of your children are so I am assuming they are over 18. While I too support parents in taking their children into planned parenthood and getting them the information that they need I also encourage parents to set standards in their home. If they are under the age of 18 I encourage them to tell them they are not to have sex under your roof and certainly you do not approve of them having sex until they are mature. I find most parents respond to the word mature better than marriage as we all know most people do not wait until they are married to have sex. We are a society of pretenders.

This set of standards applies to sex, drugs and drinking. The research has shown it to be the most effective approach in setting boundaries with teenagers.

However, if your daughter is over 18 it sounds like you did a great job. She is lucky to have a mom she can come and talk to and be so open with and hopefully you felt pride that she did indeed come to you to discuss it.

M Kay Keller

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