I’m not sure how to talk to my mom and I thought you might be able to help.
I’m 16 and my boyfriend is 17. He’s been my first real boyfriend and I really love him. We have been together for a year and decided we want to start having sex. We just feel like we’re ready. I’m a little nervous about it. Not the actual sex but the other, sex-ed type stuff. I really don’t want to get pregnant or anything. Although we’re going to use condoms, I have heard of those breaking and I’d like to start taking the pill too, kind of as back up.
I don’t drive yet and I feel weird having my boyfriend drive me to some clinic. I’d like to just have my mom take me to a doctor to get the pill but I’m worried she’ll freak out. We haven’t really talked about sex other than the basics and I don’t think she thinks I’m ready even though I am. I don’t want to talk to her about it but I think I have to and I have no idea what to say. Any suggestions?
Ready in Raleigh
Hi R in R:
Thanks for trusting my opinion on such an important question. I always tell my kids is that though I’m an adult now, I was 16 once too and it didn’t seem like it was that long ago so I know how you are feeling. First I want to commend you for taking such a mature approach to this. One of the things that will alter you future is an unwanted pregnancy. I’m not saying you can’t work around it or finish school and go on to college with a kid; lots of people do. But once you have a baby the decisions you make are no longer made with only with you in mind. With that said here’s what I would do.
GET THEE TO THE DOCTOR: You’ve already stated that you want to go on the pill. I don’t care if you have to walk 3 miles, in a driving snowstorm, up hill both ways you need to make that happen. You can go to your family doctor if you are most comfortable there; in many states, certain types of communication between teens and their doctors is kept private; but if you want to make sure, you can ask the doctor or the nurse if they will respect your confidence. If they say they cannot there are family planning clinics in nearly every town and you, being an Internet savvy teen you will be able to find them easily.
TALK TO YOUR MOTHER: As I said at the top, we were all 16 once, including your mother. It may be hard to picture now, but she had raging hormones and a boyfriend too and probably had to grapple with the same things you’re dealing with now. I don’t know your mother personally but I feel confident in saying she wants what’s best for you; that’s what we ALL want for our kids. Now this is a big conversation so let me tell you what I would want to hear from my own daughter.
In a quiet moment, I would want to hear her logically talk about why she feels she’s ready for sex. Maybe she will have done some research on birth control and can present that as part of her case. But I’m going to let you in on a parenting secret; it takes our breath away when our kids speak to us like they are adults. It shows us how mature you guys are getting and quiets all those times when we wondered if we were “doing it right”. It also makes it hard to disagree with an argument that is presented in a dispassionate, logical way.
BE SURE YOU’RE READY: Here’s the real reason I want you to talk to your mother. Sex is a very, VERY big step so you are going to need someone older, wiser and who you trust to help you put this in proper context. Because you see, when you are intimate with someone you are also “emotionally naked”, sharing with them not just your body but your heart and soul. You are giving another person every, single aspect of yourself and trusting that they will hold it dear. Are you ready for that? Can you say that your boyfriend will appreciate that and cherish you? You also said that you would feel odd having him drive you to the doctor or clinic. Listen, he can’t just be around for the fun part, he needs to be there during the planning too. And if you feel odd having him take you to the clinic, are you really ready for him to see you with your clothes off? Just wondering.
While I would like to think young people would remain virgins until they are married, the reality is that by their 19th birthday, seven out of 10 teens (boys and girls) will have had sex. So along with a parent’s prayer, we have to prepare our kids by arming them with knowledge, information and context based on our beliefs.
Good luck honey!
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