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Gynecologists Say IUDs Better for Teens, Encouraging Teen Sex?
Teenagers have always been interested in sex. Birth control made it slightly easier and safer for teens to explore this adult act; and the responsibility of remembering to take a daily pill or using a condom requires teens to keep some intellectual reasoning intact when those urges strike. Now however, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is recommending IUDs or hormonal implants for teenage girls, because it’s a “long-lasting and more effective birth control that you don’t have to remember to use every time.”
If you are worried that this might stunt your daughter’s fertility, the gynecological group assures us that “IUDs and implants can be removed at any time with no lasting effect on fertility.”
Birth control pills have to be taken at the “very same time every day” in order to work effectively. And because IUDs can “prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years,” and implants can last about 3 years, many are saying that encouraging teens to use these methods will help lower the number of teen pregnancies.
This article states, “While it may sound surprising that such invasive contraceptives are being endorsed for teenagers, 43 percent of girls ages 15 to 19 have had sex, a government survey found.” It also stated, “In 21 states, all teenagers can get contraceptive without parental permission.”
The research director for women’s health at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland mentions the various reactions she receives from her young patients, saying, “Some of them say, ‘Great! Something that I don’t have to think about.’ Others are, like, ‘Hmmm, something in my body?’ It really varies.”
Something I Don’t Have to Think About!!!!!
Now, that’s a reaction from a young lady who is ready to have sex! So, I should endorse this because teenagers shouldn’t need to worry about what is actually happening during sex? Are they too young to worry about the consequences of sex, but not too young to have sex?
Often, my parenting philosophies split into multiple personalities. For example, one half of my inner smarts is saying that this can prevent a teenage pregnancy (which is a good thing!!); and I must remember that, even if I teach my daughter to wait until she is older, she may still choose to have sex – and I want to keep the lines of communication open, so that she will always comes to me if she makes that decision – I should be there for her, no matter what. And, the other half of my inner smarts says, “What the flip? Why would we take away their accountability??”
What exactly are we teaching our children?
As parents, we should encourage our children to confide in us, keep the communication between parent and child open and healthy, and provide them with a home environment that gives our children the confidence to speak up, feel safe, and have space to grow into who they want to become. When did it become okay for that to translate into “Well, teenagers will be teenagers. They are going to do it, one way or another. And I’d rather her come to me and get birth control, instead of going off, hiding it from me and feeling like I don’t understand her.”
I want my daughter to feel comfortable enough to come to me, explaining her feelings and desires, so that – together – we can come up with a wise answer. Can I not have the best of both worlds: an open, communicative relationship with a daughter who feels, at 15, 16, and 17, that she can wait a little longer to share her body with another? If she is going to have sex, I'd at least like her to have "something to think about."
Do we really want gynecologists giving our teenage daughters a reason to “not think about” the consequences of sex? Or, am I too old-school in my beliefs?
What do you think? Gynecologists encouraging IUDs and hormone implants for teenagers: Good idea, or bad?
Kimberly Shannon is a wife, a mother, an editor, a writer, a Pilates instructor, a dance teacher, a choreographer ... She is always working to find the perfect balance¹! After Kimberly received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism, she worked on two master’s degree...Read More