Like many moms of teen girls, Gayle S. struggles with whether to put her 15-year-old daughter on birth control pills. It's not that she wants her daughter to be sexually active; it's that, as she explains, "She's started to see a 17-year-old boy a lot. . . . I don't want her think I don't trust her to be careful with this boy, but I think contraception is a good idea and [that] this needs to be addressed."
She's not alone. As another member, Loryn A., shares, "I absolutely would put my daughter on the pill. Let's be real here — we can teach our daughters about STDs, pregnancy, sex, and love, but in the end, we know they are going to do exactly what they want."
Here, she and other Circle of Moms members share five reasons to put your teen daughter on birth control pills.
1. Better Safe Than Sorry
Even if you worry that you're sending your daughter a message that it is OK for her to have sex, it is better to be safe than sorry, says a member named Victoria. She put her 16-year-old on the pill to protect her from getting pregnant, and as she says, "It is unlikely that you will be able to stop your daughter from having sex once she has made the decision. . . . considering the possible consequences, it is better to be safe than sorry." She told her daughter that it is ultimately "her choice when to become sexually active" and that she must protect herself against pregnancy.
Buffy D. agrees with this approach to the issue. Putting her 14-year-old daughter on the pill when she was 12 was the best way to protect her, she says. "As mothers, we don't only worry about our kids having sex; there is also the worry of pedophiles."
2. She's Asked to Be on the Pill
If your teenage daughter approaches you about going on the pill, many Circle of Moms members warn that denying her birth control is unlikely to dissuade her from becoming sexually active. Even Cindi C., who recommends explaining to her why you hope that she can put off sex, is also clear on one thing: "If she is asking, I would take her to the doctor ASAP. You do not want to take the chance of an unplanned pregnancy."
Jenni D. agrees. She took her now 18-year-old and 15-year-old girls to the doctor when they asked a couple of years ago. "The doctor went through everything, and she was great. I have no regrets at all with allowing them to take it. I trust my girls, and it is up to them. Let's face it: they will eventually have sex, and once they are 15 or 16, they can go to the doctor without Mom or Dad, so at least this way everyone knows what is going on and there are no secrets."
3. She Has Medical Issues
Many moms put their teen daughters on birth control pills to help painful periods or heavy bleeding, points out Tabitha S. She put her 13-year-old on the pill because "she was having extremely painful periods and is also bleeding six to eight days. Though concerned that her daughter will think this is "a license to have sex," she says the medical reasons for putting her on the birth control pill are still more important.
Victoria is another mom who put her daughter on the pill early — in sixth grade — because of medical concerns. "We have a family history of ovarian cysts," she explains, "and after her emergency surgery for removal of a (twisted) ovarian cyst which included the removal of the involved ovary, we put her on the pill to help with stopping formation of cysts."
4. Teens Lie About Having Sex
Teens don't always tell their parents the truth about their sexual activity, points out one who knows, Circle of Moms member Kelly H. She herself got pregnant at the age of 13, and when her own daughter reached her teens, she put her on the birth control pill "just in case."
As she explains, "I was a teen mom myself at 13. A lot of children will not tell their parents what they are doing. It was very hard growing up [myself] having [had] a child so young. Children don't think about things at the time and regret it later."
5. It Breeds Trust and Good Decision-Making
Many moms who put their daughters on the pill say they are keen to avoid repeating the mistakes of their own mothers, who didn't educate them at all about sex or birth control, which made the whole subject taboo. As Charlene W. explains, "Everything I knew about sex, STDs, and birth control when I was in my teens came from everywhere except my mother. . . . I think that schools and we as moms need to be able to teach about birth control and safe sex and not be forced to talk only about abstinence. I don't see it as giving them permission to have sex. I see it as arming them with the proper knowledge to make good decisions if they so choose to go ahead and do the deed. It needs to be a fair balance."
(For the other side of the story, read 3 Reasons Not to Put Your Daughter on the Pill.)