When Kris Jenner appeared on US talk show Bethenny in 2012, she candidly described how, when Kim was 15 years old, she had put her on birth control.
“When my older ones were growing up and Kim came to me and she was very honest, saying that she was feeling sexual. I kept on thinking ‘oh God, here we go’,” said the Kardashian matriarch.
Jenner said she felt no hesitation in putting all her daughters on the Pill as soon as they expressed an interest in sex.
“You can try and talk your kids out of (having sex), but unless you lock your child in the closet and throw the key away, they’re going to do what they feel.”
It’s the talk most parents dread, but once you start noticing your child grow into a teen, there’s no denying that the topic of sex and relationships will arise. The question is: how and when do you broach the topic of contraception with your hormonal teen? Do you take the proactive route or live in denial?
If you want to empower your child in taking responsibility for their sexual and contraceptive choices, it’s a conversation that needs to be had.
“If you haven’t been chatting about sex, relationships, consent and body autonomy from when children are little, the conversation about contraception can feel very challenging,” said Kate Rowe - founder of Explorare - a comprehensive online platform that re-images sex education.
Ideally, the conversation should start long before they have a girlfriend or boyfriend, she recommended. Rowe adds that it’s also crucial for both parents to play their part and not give into the stereotype of placing responsibility on a mother to educate daughters on contraception choices. Rowe lists a plan of action.
Be open and honest
You really want your child to know that you are a safe place where they can talk about things such as being in a relationship, using contraception, contemplating having sex, or being sexually active with a partner.
This willingness to be open and honest is incredibly important. If your child anticipates that you could say something to shut them down, judge or shame them, that shaming can destroy the willingness to communicate with you. They probably aren’t going to bring it up again which means you put them at great risk. They might try finding their own way to get some form of contraception or just risk it and engage in unprotected sex. Which would you prefer them to do?
Imagine your child asking a question and then feel into what your response might be. Play out in your mind how it might look if you responded differently. Imagine the type of dialogue you want to have and how you want them to feel. What would it take for your children to feel okay having this conversation with you, one where even if it feels really uncomfortable for you, you are able to receive them and offer support?
Notice your judgments, because your judgments are going to be what your child hears if you speak from that place. They will not feel safe to communicate with you. And then any conversation becomes difficult.
* Visit www.explorare.co.za.