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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, our 17 year old DS is having sex with his 17 year old girlfriend. DH and I knew this would happen eventually. We have had many conversations with DS about this and about protection.

DS's girlfriend's mom found a used condom at their home. GF's mom called me and is upset/appalled/etc. Although I would love it if my DS did not have sex until he was older and more responsible, I'm also a realist.

First, I'm glad that protection was used. However, I'd like even more protection used because I really am not ready to be a grandma. During the discussion with the GF's mom, I brought up the subject of her daughter being put on birth control. The mom says that they don't want to do that because that would be like giving the daughter permission to have sex.

I haven't been on Mothering in a very long time, but I'm not sure how to respond to that so I would love some advice. I really like DS's girlfriend. She's smart and kind and a good person. I know that some kids have sex as teens. I just want as much protection as possible so that there is not a baby.

Any suggestions?
 

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I don't think there is anything for you to say. This is a decision that the girl herself hopefully in consult with her parents will make. It's not really up to you. As long as a female has a uterus and ovaries there is a chance of pregnancy when you have sex. No birth control is 100%. Hopefully they both know that.

On a related note, my mom came to me after my stepdad found condoms in the trash in the garage and accused me of having sex. I wasn't. They didn't believe me. Then later they got a call from the mom of my little sisters friend. My sister was maybe 6 or 7 at the time. Apparently she and the little boy she was friends with stole condoms from his parents bedroom and blew them up like balloons and tossed them in our trash. Did I get an apology? No. Although my mom did come and tell me they found out where they came from.
 

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I agree, there is really nothing you can say. That phone conversation must have been awful, and unfortunately it seems likely that your son's girlfriend's mom heard your suggestion as "kids are gonna do that. Better get your daughter on the pill!"

Thete are teo things I'd recommend discussing with your son. One is contraception (again). The other is the importance of respecting your partner's family values, by, say, making sure to not do things they disapprove of in their space (just for a very basic example).
 

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I agree there's nothing more to be said to the parents.

Me, I would tell my son that although his gf's parents really want their daughter to stay safe and not get pregnant, they don't feel they can encourage her to go on the pill because to them that would feel like they were condoning her being sexually active. So therefore it's up to her to seek out that protection herself, and you would be thrilled if he encouraged her to do so. And I'd give him written info about clinics that provide contraceptive care in your area that he can pass along to her.

Miranda
 

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Contraceptives are a personal and sensitive topic. For some people, it's not as easy as "just go on the pill and it will okay." This is a decision needs to be made by the gf and she needs to consult with her parents. She can't just go to the drug store and buy birth control like you can with condoms. She needs to consult with a Dr. to find out what types of contraceptives are right for her. None are 100% pregger proof and do carry health and safety risks. I know I can't take any contraceptives myself and I would be offended if someone suggested to do so. It sounds like her parents have found out and they will deal with it according to their values. I don't think it would be appropriate to infringe your views towards them. If her parents don't want her to have sex and your son wants to be with her, then this would be a good opportunity to discuss boundaries and respect towards girls.
I don't want to come off as insensitive towards your situation. I realize your a realist. I'm sorry if I come off brash, but I've heard horror stories from girls I used to go to school with who have felt pressured or forced to go all the way with their bf because his mom thought "that's what boys do. Deal with it and just do it to make him happy." sort of mentality. I'm not suggesting that this is what you think. I'm just reminded of those types of situations.
Anyways, I find that teens who take their relationships slow last because they learn to respect each others needs and develop trust and understanding. Those that rush to sex tend to have a harder time wanting to spend time with each other outside the bedroom, or doing other things than having sex. I started when I was 16 and that's pretty much all we did with each other a good 70% of the time. Eventually I got preggo at 17.
It's not just pregnancy they have to worry about. They are also at risk of STD's even with condom. The gf will have to start going to the gyno and when the gyno finds out she is sexually active they will start testing her for everything regardless of how few boys she's slept with. And that's the thing, with teens sneaking around having sex there is no telling how long or how many people they have slept with. I'm sure most teens don't have sex with many people. Or at least as many as the ones that were on Maury and Ricki Lake. But their health is still at risk, nonetheless.
I'm sure though, you have discussed all this with your son. But just a heads up to anyone else reading this.
 

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I feel like the suggestions here all involve a lot of pressure applied to the girlfriendto seek out contraception. Her parents should get her on the pill, her boyfriend should encourage her to seek contraception.

Has anyone asked this young woman what she wants? How does she feel about risks of pregnancy? How does she feel about contraception? How does she feel about parenting? How does she feel about going to the local clinic to get her own contraception?

As a teen, I would have found it immensely stressful to hide bcp from my parents, and the logistics of keeping the secret would have meant I didn't take them every day. Other methods raise other problems.

I think this is a case where we have to be aware that we don't control our partners or their circumstances. Teen boys need to be told - clearly, and bluntly - that pregnancy is a risk of sex. You can and should use condoms if you or your partner doesn't want kids. But in the event that the birth control fails, it is hard to predict in advance how the involved people will feel about that, and the people who actually are pregnant are the people who make decisions about pregnancy. That can mean you cry over an abortion, or that you have a lifetime of obligations you never expected. Choose partners who share your values, support them as they face the challenges of their lives, and keep in mind that sex is a risk.

And there, keep in mind that it's their risk to take. Your feelings about becoming a grandparent aren't appropriate concerns to bring up with teens.
 

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Well they are 17, so I wouldn't say that a parents concerns about their child becoming a teen parent isn't an appropriate concern at all. Of course it's an appropriate concern. Nobody wants their kids to become pregnant until they are adults capable of taking on the responsibility. I did stress with my daughter ( who is 25 now) the fact that sex comes with the risk of pregnancy always. And birth control is not a guarantee. Of course I also don't think that unintended pregnancy is the end of the world either. But it sure is a life changing event.
 

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There are health risks involved with almost all birth control options for females. While it would absolutely be smart of the girl to have her own protections in place, putting the pressure on the girl and the girl's parent to make that choice is more complicated than buying a box of condoms. Both parties now know their children are sexually active and so it's up to the individual families to have those conversations with their own children.

What you can do is stress the importance of two forms of birth control being used at all times with your son and the reasons why. It may be difficult to sway him now but hopefully it'll slow them down a little, open up conversations with this and future girlfriends.
 

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Both parties now know their children are sexually active and so it's up to the individual families to have those conversations with their own children.
I agree that it is inappropriate for the boyfriend's parent to directly over-ride her own parents' wishes, and that pressuring a teen into any form of contraception is wrong. But teen girls can face plenty of barriers, logistical or otherwise, in accessing the contraceptive care they want. If her parents are one of those barriers, and are unwilling to help her overcome other barriers, she, as an independent sexually active human being who is capable of and entitled to make her own choices, may need facilitation from elsewhere. Schools and community outreach clinics try to fulfill this role, but often a nudge from a boyfriend (and an offer to attend with her) is a lot more effective at opening the door.

I admit I'm very much of the harm-reduction persuasion. If people are choosing to engage in risky activity despite advice and pressure to the contrary, then I think that the people who care about them should do what is sensible and available to keep them safe. Refusing to take those steps because you believe you're taking the moral high ground is (I think) more about preserving your own feelings of righteousness than about what is best for the affected person.

Sexually active teens need to be empowered with information and access to make the choice that is best for them. If her parents are creating barriers, you can bet if this was my son's gf I would be working behind the scenes to smooth the way for her.

Miranda
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks so much for all of the replies. I think everyone gave very valid suggestions. I'm torn between doing nothing and taking her to Planned Parenthood.

The weird thing about the whole situation is that when GF's mother talked with me, she told me about her own teen pregnancy and how hard it was to handle, etc. So I guess I'm just stumped as to why she wouldn't want to try to protect her daughter from that in all ways possible.

We have already had another discussion with DS. Talked to him about being respectful of her family's wishes, slowing down, being extra careful. DS is a sensitive kid. I think he truly cares about this young lady. Our family has gotten to know her and she's an awesome girl. I feel very protective towards her.

Again, thank you for all of your thoughtful ideas.
 

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Thanks so much for all of the replies. I think everyone gave very valid suggestions. I'm torn between doing nothing and taking her to Planned Parenthood.


I think its highly inappropriate for YOU to take her to planned parenthood. It's one thing to make sure she is aware of her options, it is completely different to push a specific option.


I think that your focus should be on your son. I think that your focus should be on teaching him how little control he has over most forms of birth control and the importance of him being 100% responsible for his own behavior. I think that The Pill can give men a false sense of security, when the truth is, they don't have any idea if the woman they are with is taking her pills correctly or forgetting them half the time or couldn't figure out how to get a refill so just stopped taking them or what. If I had a son, I would encourage to always behave as if he were 100% responsible for birth control (regardless of what his partner says) until he is ready for the responsibility of fatherhood, because if a pregnancy results, he will NOT get a say in what happens next. I absolutely wouldn't give my son the message that the solution is for his partner to go on the pill.
 

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Jumping on board to agree that hormonal birth control for women comes with side effects and risks. Only the gal in question can judge that for herself. Dealing with side effects like nausea, depression, anxiety, etc could be very difficult for a teen, especially one who couldn't share concerns with her parents.

So, while it might be a valid choice, and one she even wants, it's not up to anyone to pressure her or pretend like it's easy, or normal to get on the pill or whatever with no other changes. Plenty of teens find it worth it and the best choice. Though at this point in my life I would be much more likely to encourage anyone to look into non-hormonal options to go along with condoms. Spermicide, sponge?

Fyi, I'm not anti hormonal birth control. I just feel like it's common to be almost flippant about "putting girls on the pill."
 

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Jumping on board to agree that hormonal birth control for women comes with side effects and risks. Only the gal in question can judge that for herself. Dealing with side effects like nausea, depression, anxiety, etc could be very difficult for a teen, especially one who couldn't share concerns with her parents.

So, while it might be a valid choice, and one she even wants, it's not up to anyone to pressure her or pretend like it's easy, or normal to get on the pill or whatever with no other changes. Plenty of teens find it worth it and the best choice. Though at this point in my life I would be much more likely to encourage anyone to look into non-hormonal options to go along with condoms. Spermicide, sponge?

Fyi, I'm not anti hormonal birth control. I just feel like it's common to be almost flippant about "putting girls on the pill."
Yeah, People think it's nothing to go on the pill. But teen girls are developing and any disruption in that normal development process can have long term effects on their bodies. The pill can, also, lead to blood clots, nasty cysts in their ovaries, etc. Although it can have it's perks, such as reduced zits and no period. She would still need to take regular pregnancy tests as you can get pregnant without a period.


I'm sure with all the attention these 2 love birds have gotten from their families over their sexual activities, they're probably going to cool it off for a bit from humiliation.
 

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Get her a copy of 'Taking Charge of Your Fertility'
I work with teens in a sexual health care setting. While TCOYF is a fine book packed with good information, I have way better luck getting teens today to download and use the Kindara app. It's free, easy to hide, and assists users directly with the tracking and collating of data and info.

Miranda
 

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I work with teens in a sexual health care setting. While TCOYF is a fine book packed with good information, I have way better luck getting teens today to download and use the Kindara app. It's free, easy to hide, and assists users directly with the tracking and collating of data and info.

Miranda
Thanks for this info.

As a mother of two sons, i would encourage you to give YOUR SON a copy of TCOYF. To my mind, it constitutes basic sex education for men and women alike....You dont have to be actively tracking your cycle to have an appreciation of what its all about.
 

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She can't just go to the drug store and buy birth control like you can with condoms.
Actually, there are several forms of spermicide available in most drugstores, which increase the effectiveness of condoms and do not have any hormonal side effects. That's what I used when I was a teenager--I bought that, my boyfriend bought the condoms, and we used both every time.

I think that educating your son about how the fertility cycle works, and about the many types of contraceptives available, is the best approach. Do not take his girlfriend to Planned Parenthood yourself, now that you know her parents are opposed.

Thanks for taking such a reasonable approach to your son's sexual activity. A lot of my friends when I was a teenager were extremely responsible and careful yet were treated like idiots and/or sinners when parents found out about sexual activity; it made us miserable without making us any safer!
 

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Actually, there are several forms of spermicide available in most drugstores, which increase the effectiveness of condoms and do not have any hormonal side effects.
Dawn's mom is in Canada, and there are currently no Health Canada approved spermicides available for sale in Canada. There were a number of factors involved in removing nonoxynol-9 from the market here, but some of them were the frequency of chemical irritation and burns, allergic reactions, increased likelihood of UTIs and yeast infection, and, most worrisome of all, some evidence of increased transmission rates of HIV. While it looks like a bit of innocuous foam like shaving cream, it has significant health risks. It doesn't have any risk of hormonal side effects, that's true, but there are plenty of other possible side effects and risks.

Miranda
 

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Dawn's mom is in Canada, and there are currently no Health Canada approved spermicides available for sale in Canada. There were a number of factors involved in removing nonoxynol-9 from the market here, but some of them were the frequency of chemical irritation and burns, allergic reactions, increased likelihood of UTIs and yeast infection, and, most worrisome of all, some evidence of increased transmission rates of HIV. While it looks like a bit of innocuous foam like shaving cream, it has significant health risks. It doesn't have any risk of hormonal side effects, that's true, but there are plenty of other possible side effects and risks.

Miranda
There are spericidal condoms available. Again, like what you said, they can burn and cause irritation, especially if your skin is sensitive or you have ichthyosis and prone to eczema.
 
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