How and When to Talk to Kids About Birth Control
In October 2007, a school board in Portland, Maine received national attention by voting to make birth control pills available to middle school children without parental consent, or even notification. This is more reason than ever for parents to beat schools to the punch when it comes to crucial health information. If parents want to influence children's decisions about their health, they cannot sit back and wait for some other person or organization to deliver the crucial news.
In Portland, students at King Middle School can get birth control pills and patches at te student health center. This is the first middle school in Maine to make contraception available to students in grades 6 through 8. The school has provided condoms since 2002 to students whose parents have granted permission for their children to be treated at the health center.
Divya Mohan, with the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care, said "It's very rare that middle schools do this". However, there are no figures tracking birth control availability at middle schools nationwide.
Chairman John Coynie, who voted against the decision, stated he felt providing birth control was a parental responsibility. The sad truth, expressed by supporters, is that we can't depend on parents to protect kids because so many do not. Plus many kids do not feel comfortable discussing sex with their parents.
How to Talk About Birth Control
Just do it. Wherever you stand on pre-marital sex, you need to address the reality of children engaging in sexual activity and it's consequences. Be honest with your kids starting first with the science of how the various forms of birth control work. Don't forget to address all those myths floating around. You want to make sure your child has heard it from you before he hears it in the locker room. Kids are more likely to value your advice if you offer it freely.
It's okay to be uncomfortable. It's not okay to hide your head in the sand.
When to Talk About Birth Control
Talking about sex must begin early, starting with teaching very young children about their bodies. Remember that sex is a social activity, so the more you know about your child's social life, the better you will recognize moments to bring up the subject. It's cute when grade-schoolers say they have a boyfriend or girlfriend, but what does that mean? Take the time to find out. Ask the nerdy questions. Kids hugging and holding hands may be cute, but the longer you can hold off physical closeness, the better. Let kids know they can get all the cuddling they need at home.
Before you talk to your kids, learn more about birth control pills.
They have access to the information. Don't you want to put your two cents in?
More information about pregnancy and birth control.
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