According to 4Parents.gov, one in three teens will become pregnant at least once before they are 20 years old. Though the subject may be considered debatable, there is a possible answer to this problem and that is allowing teens access to birth control. This answer, however, has pros and cons. On one hand, birth control prevents pregnancy; on the other, if teens are not educated by their parents, there is the possibility of irresponsible sexual activity.
Allowing teens access to various forms of protection may help decrease the amount of teen pregnancies taking place each year in the United States. Gone are the days when a teen pregnancy affected someone who was 16 or 17. There are now instances of 13- and 14-year-old girls having babies--teens who are completely unprepared to give birth and raise a child. If the child is not given up for adoption, the responsibility typically falls on the parents of the teen girl, the parents of the baby's father, or both.
When teens are supported in their quest for birth control, they may feel as though they have a ticket for sexual freedom. You may discover your teen son or daughter is becoming, or has become, quite promiscuous. Parents should have an open discussion with their children about sex, self-respect and respect for others.
Access to birth control can help reduce the number of teen abortions that take place each year. Although statistics differ according to state, according to Guttmacher.org, some states have reported that 50 percent of pregnant teens receive an abortion. Not only is this a costly procedure, it is also emotionally and physically painful, and can be detrimental to teens' health.
Some teens may not stop to think that birth control will only prevent the birth of a child-- it is not a means of preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Parents need to educate their teens about other forms of protection, such as condoms, that they may need to use in conjunction with certain types of birth control, including the pill and the patch.
Allowing your teen access to birth control displays a level of responsibility on their part. If they are asking to be placed on birth control, you know they are thinking ahead and not wanting to destroy their future. Though it may take your breath away initially, before reacting, consider the fact that they have approached you with a level head. Regardless of your own emotions, give them the same respect they have given you as a parent. Remember, it took courage for them to approach you and ask you to help them secure their birth control. This alone displays maturity.
- Photo courtesy planbcontraception.com