Childrearing

Anonymous Dad: I Secretly Want To Put My 14-Year-Old On Birth Control

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birth control pillsAnonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

I am the father of a 14-year-old daughter. Let’s call her Dee. She’s gorgeous. I know that every father’s daughter is gorgeous, but in this case, it’s objectively true. She’s very developed for her age and very pretty; she turns a lot of heads.

She transitioned from a private middle school to a public high school and is now nearing the end of her freshman year. She had a bit of rough time in middle school. She was bullied and just didn’t have a good experience. However, upon changing schools, she blossomed and has become quite popular, well-liked, and very happy.

At the beginning of the year, she briefly dated, and quickly dumped, several of the entitled douchebags in her class. There was one I liked, but she was wiser than I, and just wasn’t going to let herself get played. After trying out several of these popular boys, she ended up “settling down” with a boy from continuation school. Let’s call him Daniel. Obviously, at first, I was not happy. You want a conventionally successful boy for your daughter, right? But she’s been with Daniel for five months now, and I have grown to like him very much.

The key element from my perspective is that Dee’s in charge of things. This boy really loves her, at least to the extent that 14-year-olds can love one another. For example, she’ll occasionally post some stupid, wrong-headed thing on Facebook, and someone will call her out on it. Daniel will jump in and defend her, no matter how wrong she is. He meets her at school every afternoon and walks her home. If she says, Daniel, come over and get me Starbucks on the way, he’s at our door, with coffee, within half an hour.

My wife, Dee’s stepmother, is very firm on certain rules: no going in the house together when an adult is not here, no closing the door to her room when we are here, etc. Essentially, my wife’s determined to prevent them from having sex.

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90 Comments

  1. Ptownsteveschick

    June 20, 2013 at 11:09 am

    I think your daughter is very lucky to have a dad as caring as you are. I agree that while we all want to prevent our kids from doing something they might regret in the future, we all know that they are going to have things happen anyway. And if she looks back in 10 years and says, damn I wish I would have waited to have sex, that is a whole different thing from looking back and thinking Damn I wish my kid wasn’t in the third grade/didn’t have an abortion/didn’t give my baby up for adoption.
    I think a frank talk when you tell her that she needs to be on some sort of birth control is in order, but I am sure you would do that. And if she balks, tell her that many women have less breakouts, lighter periods, less cramps etc and she might appreciate it just for those benefits.

  2. freemane

    June 20, 2013 at 11:16 am

    I think that’s a remarkably healthy attitude… but it’s definitely something you should discuss with her. You don’t have to get wildly technical or personal, but you really should say to her “I respect your opinions and think you’re ready to make some important choices.” And then you should get her a good book and some condoms, because, no matter how responsible a person is, back up birth control (and STD prevention) is always a good idea.

  3. Lena

    June 20, 2013 at 11:17 am

    My issue with this is the idea of “putting her on birth control”. You talk about your feelings and your wife’s feelings but what does your daughter think about this? Maybe she wants to do it or maybe not. Maybe she does not feel ready for sex yet and therefore the idea of going on the pill seems preposterous. Maybe has decided that when the time comes she’ll want to rely on condoms. Making someone go on birth control if they are unsure about it is as bad as not giving it to those who want it. If yoiu really respect her choices then you need to wait to see what she’ll choose and support her then.

    • Kristin Bennett

      July 22, 2013 at 12:06 am

      There are options other than the pill…I mentioned it above but feel i should mention it here too…there are sometimes very serious side effects, like that stroke I was diagnosed with in 2001 at the age of 18….that they said was related to birth control.

  4. V

    June 20, 2013 at 11:26 am

    If she chooses to have sex that young she might regret it, she might not. Either way won’t negate the fact that it happened, and I applaud you for understanding that. As long as your daughter understands that as well, and chooses the birth control she is comfortable with, she seems like she will have a healthy sex life regardless of when she chooses to start.

  5. Véronique Houde

    June 20, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I think that you’re an awesome dad!!! I love the fact that you are open and honest about how she’s going to live her life, and you’re not trying to control her or punish her for going through normal things. I too would more encourage an open discussion about what her thoughts are about getting on the pill. However, I would encourage you to have a very important conversation about STD prevention and condoms because a lot of kids that get on the pill think that they don’t need to use any other form of prevention. They think that they can “tell” if someone has an STD, and associate people with them as being dirty, smelly, and scabby. Therefore, there are a LOT more risks of your daughter contracting a (curable or non-curable) STD than getting pregnant, and the pill will do jack-shit about that. Some kids also think that there’s a cure for AIDS…

    Note also that getting on the pill means being ready to go through gynaecological exams and PAP smears, something that most 14 year olds are NOT ready to do. Being on the pill means being responsible with your body – not smoking, going for yearly check-ups etc. Having a broader discussion about this is important so that your daughter understands exactly what being ready for having sex means.

    Hopefully these tips will be helpful!!! Good luck!!!!

    • JLH1986

      June 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      What she said!

    • Frances Locke

      June 20, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      Great points. My family basically insisted that I go on birth control (years before I needed to, so their lack of trust in me was hurtful) and it ended up leaving me with lasting health problems. There are a lot of concerns beyond preventing pregnancy. She should be educated on the ramifications of the various birth control options.

      Regardless though, I applaud this father for being so proactive and awesome about the subject.

    • jsterling93

      June 20, 2013 at 1:39 pm

      You know I took my 19 yr old niece to the dr to get on the pill and they actually said they don’t require exams for that. I was shocked. No pap nothing.

    • Véronique Houde

      June 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      the exam is a year after your first prescription, actually

    • koolchicken

      June 20, 2013 at 11:34 pm

      You don’t actually need a pelvic unless you’re having problems. Holding birth control hostage without an invasive exam is wrong and an outdated way of thinking. It’s designed to make women put off getting BC, and it works. Paps are necessary, but only after you become sexually active. Depending on what kind of test you get, your age, risk, and past test results you may not even need one more than every five years! Most gyn appointments should be the doc and patient sitting and talking, but patients like to feel like the doctor is “doing something”. And doctors like to push unnecessary tests on patients for billing purposes. It’s a vicious cycle.

    • Shelly Lloyd

      June 21, 2013 at 10:49 am

      I agree, though many of the doctors around here hold the BC hostage until you get your exam so that they can make sure you are getting your pap to check for cervical cancer. And I understand that–but there has been times when I could only afford the BC and not the money for the doctor visit and the fee for the exam and had to go without BC because of that.

  6. Roberta

    June 20, 2013 at 11:52 am

    This is definitely a very healthy attitude. I personally think that part of letting your daughter do what she wants, as you write, is about letting her know that there are options and you support her when she is figuring them out. It could very well be that she wants to explore her choices when it comes to BC.

    I would highly recommend letting her talk to the family doctor, OBGYN, or other health professional. Make sure that the doctor is sex-positive (it is about giving her tools, not locking her in a tower after all), and one your daughter will be comfortable with. She may be more at ease talking about the Pill or IUDs or condoms with someone who is not her dad, no matter how close you are.

    Good luck, Anonymous Dad. You are on the right track.

  7. Andrea

    June 20, 2013 at 11:52 am

    You are a great dad! And if I were you, I’d talk to her in the same way you “talked” to us just now and see if she wouldn’t be agreeable to it. I would have given ANYTHING to have that kind of relationship with at least one of my parents. I certainly would have taken them up on the birth control offer: not because I was having a whole lot of sex (I didn’t really have a steady for much of my high school years) but because it would have giving me a sense of control.

    Just because she is on BC doesn’t mean she will have sex. it just means she will be prepared. Go ahead. Talk to her. She’ll love you even more than she already does.

  8. Zettai

    June 20, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    I wish you’d been my dad.

  9. Emily

    June 20, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    You are a great dad! Chances are she would like to be on birth control, but is afraid to speak up about it. Just ask her. It doesn’t have to be awkward or weird. Just say something like “You know, I’ve noticed you and Daniel have gotten really close. And while that’s great and I support you, I would hate to see you become a mother at a young age before you are ready. You may not even be having sex, but if you want to be ready for when the time comes, we can get you some birth control.”

    Let her make the decision, and help to educate her. Does she believe she could take a pill at the same time daily, or would she be more comfortable with the idea of a shot? Or any other method? And please(!) educate her to use more than one method of birth control. For example, the pill, a condom, and spermicide. But there should be a condom every time to prevent disease, not just pregnancy. Make sure she knows all of that. I know in middle school I knew condoms existed and that guys used them, but I had no idea what for. You sound like a wonderful and accepting father! There should be more like you!

  10. Emmali Lucia

    June 20, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Most people in the US regret having sex young because it opens them up to a whole host of different problems: Slut shaming, some form of coercion (Not necessarily rape, more like “If you love me you’ll do this… KTHXBAI!”) And just plain bad sex.

    Tell your daughter about those things, but ultimately the only one who can make those decisions about your daughter is your daughter. You’re a fantastic dad! And I’d suggest getting her a Nuvaring, it’s great for beginners because all you have to do is take it out after three weeks and put a new one in after having your period. There’s no “Take this pill at the same time every day” nonsense that trips most women up.

  11. Anonymous in Nashville

    June 20, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I was 14 when I lost my virginity. I was (still am) smart, nerdy, had a good head on my shoulders and was top in my class, from middle class America. I knew what I was doing. It was what every one of my friends was doing at the time. You think you are “in love”, you lose your virginity. My mother took a very strong approach to my older sister & I’s teenage years. When we began our cycle, we went on birth control and were educated in how to properly take it. She, as a healthcare provider, based it on the fact that birth control can minimize PMS and help regulate the cycle. Deep down inside, she knew what she was doing when she was 14 and things happen, so why not take proper measures. Sure, we learned all about abstinance and safe sex in health class but as a young teenager, I wasn’t thinking about “did you bring a condom?”. I can tell you that a lot of my fellow classmates had babies in high school. Many of my cousins my same age had babies in high school. I am approaching 30, married, have a college degree, great job and a healthy, happy 11 month old. If I have a daughter one day, I will take the same approach my mother did, regardless of other’s judgment. I will still preach the use of condoms to prevent STDs but I will promote birth control long before I ever get to the point where I ::know:: my daughter is having sex. Even smart, nerdy girls have sex. Even smart, nerdy girls have sex without condoms. Do I regret it? No. So, Anonymous Dad, your wife & her friends may have regretted it but they still did it. You can’t reverse that; only learn from it. I praise you for your honesty & level-headedness. At the end of the day, do what is right for you and your daughter!

  12. Zach Rosenberg

    June 20, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    You’re a great dad for considering all of these things. And like you, I think that basically, if 14 year olds get it in their head that they’re going to have sex, they will. So you want to be prepared.

    One thing about the pill that’s already been said – it’s not a cure-all. And in fact, it’s actually a big decision. We’re talking about altering a woman’s cycle here. And though we take it for granted, it’s also not something you can simply “put” someone on. Different birth control works for different body chemistries, so you’ve got to talk to your daughter, see how she feels, and start evaluating options together. Maybe over one of the early episodes of “16 & Pregnant”.

  13. Justme

    June 20, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    I read the title and thought that you were wanting to slip your daughter a birth control pill in her orange juice every morning or something else Roofie-esque.

    I am so happy that my initial reaction was so very far from the truth.

    Your daughter is very lucky to have you as her father and I bet (based on how you describe your relationship with her) that if you just went for a drive and casually brought up the topic, you two could solve this issue together.

    • Justme

      June 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      And secondly…not all women are like your wife. I was seventeen when I lost my virginity (older than your daughter, but still so young in many ways) and I don’t regret having sex at that age, but I do wish it had been with someone else. And no, not my husband because he was 27 when I was 17 and could have been my varsity basketball coach.

    • Amber

      June 21, 2013 at 9:41 am

      Maybe I’m weird but I think there’s a huge difference between 14 and 17.

    • Justme

      June 21, 2013 at 10:39 am

      Depends on the kid and the relationship.

    • Mary

      June 23, 2013 at 4:05 am

      Huge difference between 14 & 17. As someone who works with teens I can’t emphasise that enough.
      I too know many women who had sex young and almost all regret it and say they thought they were ready but where not. I was 17.5 and felt ready and have no regrets. My sister was 15 & wishes she waited.

    • Kristin Bennett

      July 22, 2013 at 12:05 am

      I was 14 and didn’t regret it.

    • Kristin Bennett

      July 22, 2013 at 12:05 am

      Good point…I actually was 14 and don’t regret it…I may have been a tad misguided but I was a very willing participant!

    • Rachel Sea

      June 20, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      I thought the same thing.

    • Justme

      June 20, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      But now I realize the title meant “secretly…like in my brain” and not “secretly…like a soviet spy.”

    • Blondesareeasy Fullname

      September 11, 2013 at 2:54 am

      True. The headline was quite misleading. I thought the same thing.

  14. Rachel Sea

    June 20, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    I think you are right, if she decides to have sex, no house rule in the world will stop her (honestly, show of hands, who here lost their virginity in their own bed?). Rather than going straight to encouraging her to go on the pill, you or your wife should take her to Planned Parenthood, or help her pick out a gynecologist so that she can hear about the range of options from a professional, and become comfortable seeking professional assistance so that if she ever does have a scare she knows right where to go. Going on birth control before it’s needed starts the habit of taking it – it is not easy for everyone to remember to take a pill at the same time of day. She might also decide that a shot, vaginal ring, or IUD are better options for her, or maybe none of that is right for her, and she’d rather use a barrier. Regardless of what method she prefers, she needs to know how to handle a condom well, before it’s necessary, and to recognize if her partner is not wearing it correctly.

    But whatever path you choose, start having the conversations. There is only one way for her to know that she can talk to you about anything, without shame, and that is to start talking before anything happens.

  15. blh

    June 20, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    You seem like you’re trying way too hard to be a cool dad. You really shouldn’t let teenagers do whatever they want. That’s why you’re the parent, they’re not capable of making good choices. It’s all very well for you to consider yourself a feminist but she’s not a woman….she’s 14. She’s little more than a child. I have yet to meet a fourteen year old that’s ready to have sex. Although, I understand you wanting to put her on birth control because lets face it, if she wants to have sex she’ll find a way… you don’t have to make it easy for her to do it. You just seem way to whatever about her having sex at that age. Her and that boy, no matter how nice he is, are in high school and they’re going to break up. And if she has sex with him the break up will be all that more traumatic. She has all the time in the world to worry about all that.

    • Andrea

      June 20, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      So are you under the impression that if he doesn’t “make it easy”, then she won’t have sex?

      Or are you one of those people that think informing their children of their sexual option somehow gives them permission to have sex?

    • Emmali Lucia

      June 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      My mom was of the opinion that if she approved of anything even remotely sexual I’d turn into some sex fiend. I didn’t get the HPV Vaccine until long after I was sexually active (Which is a bad idea), I walked to planned parenthood and got my own damn birth control even before I was sexually active because my periods were ridiculous (8 days of heavy bleeding with 10 day breaks in between). I would seriously be in so much pain from menstrual cramps I’d puke but “Oh No! You can’t go on birth control! Because then you’d go off and have sex!” And of course since I only used the type of birth control you could hide I quit because it was the wrong type for me.

      I honestly think it’s a miracle I didn’t get pregnant with my first boyfriend, after him I learned “Glove or no love, honey.” I learned everything I know about sex from the Internet.

    • Tusconian

      June 20, 2013 at 11:23 pm

      I have never in my life met a 14 year old who was ready for sex.

      I have also never in my life met a 14 year old ready to have a baby, or who wouldn’t be sneaky to do what they wanted without parental permission, or who was completely incapable of making good choices ever. Fourteen year olds may still be kids, but at that age, kids think they are wise adults who know better than everyone who ever lives, and it’s unreasonable to keep them under lock and key. They need to socialize without heavy supervision sometimes. Fourteen isn’t 18, but it’s also not 8. I do think the writer might be kind of “whatever” about it because he’s a guy, and I don’t think that’s the best attitude, but it’s certainly better than the authoritarian attitude you present. Treating a 14 year old like a grade schooler, which is what you’re describing, is only going to push her farther away emotionally and encourage her to be sneaky or resentful. His attitude is actually fairly common in parts of Europe, which (not) coincidentally have very low rates of unwanted teen pregnancies. Fourteen year olds as a whole are not adults and are not ready to have sex. But they’re going to anyway, because they think of themselves as very grown up, and are little bundles of hormones. Better safe than sorry.

      Also, I don’t know anyone who was traumatized because they consensually slept with their high school boyfriend then broke up sometime later. You seem to have a very low opinion of teenage girls.

    • meteor_echo

      June 21, 2013 at 2:52 am

      *eyeroll* Conservatives.
      Yeah, it’s suuuuch a good idea to not educate her on birth control, and later fret when she gets pregnant/gets an STD. You sound like you want to punish the girl for having sex, not like you want to help.

    • blh

      June 24, 2013 at 2:54 pm

      Lol I’m a woman and I’m 24, so I’m not that far from being a teenager. I had sex when I was 16. We broke up and I handled it waaay bad bc he was the first and all that crap and I just plain wasn’t ready. It’s not about punishing them for having sex. I have a 14 year old sister and I’ve told her I’ll get her the pill if she wants it if she’s too embarrassed to ask our mom, but I also told her you are way too young to be having sex, it’s not a good idea. You can still educate someone without necessarily approving of it.

    • meteor_echo

      June 24, 2013 at 5:57 pm

      And do you really think that she’ll ask you for help if needed? If I were 14 again and somebody told me exactly that, well, seems like I’d rather get the pill on my own instead of someone judging me all the way along.
      And I don’t get this “he’s the first” attachment thing. I wasn’t so lucky, my first time was a rape – however, I didn’t really feel bad after breaking up with the first consensual partner – he was a massive douche, anyway. What’s the big deal about the whole virginity loss issue?

  16. alicia

    June 20, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    My only concern in anything posted here is “so why not just rescind the various preventative protocols and let nature take its course?” I applaud him being aware of the situation his daughter is in, and actually being involved in her life. I agree with a lot of his reasons. The problem I have is he seems to think that putting her on birth control is the end of the worry. He’s not quite saying do what you want as long as I don’t know about it, but it kind of feels like he’s close. Yes, 14 year old girls have sex. Yes, he should have discussions with her, and maybe he should have her go on the pill. But I don’t see any reason why rules have to change around the house. They’re good rules to have, and simple to follow, whether she’s having sex or not. Parents have a very tough line here… We want our children to be able to talk to us about anything, but there are some things we really don’t want to know. Teaching them to respect themselves, their family, and their home should go before teaching them about safe sex, and continue right through it.

  17. LDG

    June 20, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Get to know your daughter better. Does she plan to wait until marriage? Does she plan to wait until college? Would high school be okay? What will it mean to end a relationship with someone whom she has had sex? How will that change their relationship? It will be good to have this conversation anyway to allow her sort it out in her own mind. Follow your instinct of “how much does any 14 year old really know?” That’s not a discredit to your daughter or anyone else at that age, it is recognizing that someone with a very much still-developing brain still needs rules in place and whatever they want at any given moment might not be what’s best. As Ms. Locke mentioned, being on birth control long term can lead to fertility problems later in life. Most importantly, be sure she understands consent.

  18. kims

    June 20, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    I told a few people that I wanted to get my daughter on birth control when she gets her period, & they were pretty disapproving. the older she gets, the more I begin to think that may not be the best idea. I think its more important to make sure we have the kind of relationship where she feels comfortable talking to me about anything. when she’s 14 & has a boyfriend, I want her to be able to come to me & say, mom, nemo & I kissed. I want her to come to me with questions about sex & all the things that lead up to sex. seriously, I don’t care how smart a girl is, how strong she is, a 14yr old is not mature enough, not responsible enough, to be able to handle everything that goes along with becoming sexually active. and I want my daughter to come to me when she thinks she may be ready for that responsibility, so I can hopefully talk her out of it. I won’t get mad, yell, or lecture. but I am hoping I can convince my daughter to wait until she’s older, in a committed relationship that actually has a future, before she decides to consider whether she should have sex with someone. being out of college would be great, but I am being realistic. I expect her to be curious about typical teenage stuff – drinking, drugs, sex. but I feel that if she’s comfortable talking to me about these things, we can get her through her teenage years without anything too traumatic happening.

  19. Lindsey Sweet

    June 20, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    While he has many valid points, I have to agree with his wife. I was very much like his daughter, and sure wish I would have waited until I was older, and understood my body better. Just have a frank talk with her, you and your wife. And good luck!

  20. koolchicken

    June 20, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    I like that this guy is okay with his daughter making her own choices. What I don’t like is that he has a defeatist attitude about it. It’s one thing to tell your kid you trust her to make her own choices. To sit down with them and discuss sex, and tell them you’re there for them, and are happy to help them be safe. But it seems like this guy is just saying “there’s nothing I can do about anything so I’ll throw a pill at it and hope it doesn’t become a problem”. So I can’t really support this guy until he actually talks to his daughter. He says he’s pretty sure she’s still a virgin, but if you don’t talk to her you won’t really know. So because he’s just looking for an easy fix she could already be having (unprotected) sex and he wouldn’t know.

  21. ElleJai

    June 20, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    My stepmother told me at about 14 that even though I wasn’t active, I should look into birth control so when I was ready I didn’t need to discuss it with my parents. My mum was annoyed about it but it was an open, honest discussion that put me in charge of my own body. I was 17 before I had sex but I’d been informed and in control for years. I was the one educating my more active classmates about sex (Catholic school, liked to push abstinence, but did deign to tell us about some other bc thankfully).

    It’s a great time for the discussion. Talk to your wife, the her that while you support the open door policy when you’re home, you can’t control the home when you’re outside, and as has been said, you’d rather she regret starting too early instead of having a baby/abortion and letting her be open and proactive will bring better results. Studies have also shown that more education leads to an average first time of 17, so by being open you may even help to delay that first time. Birth control isn’t encouragement, it’s just being prepared.

    Good luck navigating this with your daughter! Xx

  22. Psych Student

    June 21, 2013 at 2:41 am

    You are an amazing dad! You have a realistic view of teen sexuality (and female sexuality). I think you should talk to her about the options she has for birth control (the pill, the patch, the ring, an implant, an IUD, the shot) and ask her what she thinks she might be interested in. Also, direct her to Scarlet Teen – Planned Parenthood’s website for teens. Other commenters pointed out the importance of stressing to her that pregnancy isn’t the only thing that comes from sex – STDs do too. Even if she’s a virgin having sex with a virgin and has an IUD, using condoms is a good habit to get into since she won’t always be having sex with someone who is STD free. Better to get comfortable with it now. Plus, even if she doesn’t have sex with *this* boyfriend, she (statistically speaking) will probably have sex with the next boyfriend or the one after that. It’s better for her to get settled and organized and comfortable with her STD and pregnancy prevention options sooner rather than later. Again, Dad, you ROCK! Keep up the good work and the realistic views of sexuality.

    • Psych Student

      June 21, 2013 at 2:54 am

      One more thing I forgot to mention. Encouraging your daughter to learn how to masturbate will help her postpone having sex (because she can bring herself sexual pleasure rather than needing to seek it from a boyfriend), and it will help her have better sex when she does become sexually active even if she waits until college).

    • Véronique Houde

      June 21, 2013 at 9:40 am

      i think that might not be the best idea for him as a dad to talk about self-pleasure… more a mom-to-daughter conversation 😉

    • Psych Student

      June 21, 2013 at 11:06 am

      That is a super good point! I think dad needs to find a woman (an aunt even or female friend who is really close to the family) to have that discussion with the daughter.

    • Kristin Bennett

      July 22, 2013 at 12:14 am

      I was totally about to say maybe give her some books…lol like “She comes first” or something…maybe get her a “back massager”? I’ve thought about doing that for my girls so they don’t feel they “need” a guy if they learn about this orgasm phenomenon…because i don’t think I figured that out til WAY after my first time…

  23. h

    June 21, 2013 at 4:28 am

    I would suggest talking with your daughter about this issue, rather than just putting her on the pill. Maybe she has no desire to have sex: I dated in high school but always felt I was too young for sex and dated boys who felt the same way. I lost my virginity at age 21 in an adult relationship. Your daughter might feel the same way… I remember thinking the open-door rule was pointless because I wouldn’t be doing anything physical, just might have wanted some emotional privacy with the guy (though as an adult, I certainly can understand the rule)! But maybe your daughter isn’t like I was and does feel ready. You don’t know until you have an honest discussion, which yes, might be a little uncomfortable and icky for both of you – but acknowledge that from the start and see where she is at. Tell her that when she feels like she is ready, she can ask you to take her to get birth control. Or better yet, since she might feel embarrassed doing that no matter how cool you are about it (I can’t imagine my parents knowing exactly when I plan to do the deed… eww), find her a doctor or planned parenthood, etc, and tell her how she can do that on her own if she so chooses, and if she needs your help she can always ask. Tough to do it on her own at 14 (maybe that itself will delay a couple years if she is determined to be responsible), but trust me, she will keep that info and use it a couple years down the road when she or her boyfriend can drive. Just as you trust her to make decisions on her own about her body. Make it clear that it is up. to her when, and with whom, she chooses to have sex for the first time, but that it is not a decision to be made lightly – one that she will remember forever – and that when she does decide she is ready, you would expect that she approach an adult decision in an adult manner. No forcing birth control on her if sex isn’t even on her mind for now – but providing her with the resources for when it is.

  24. Kat

    June 21, 2013 at 5:33 am

    It sounds to me like you haven’t asked her how she feels about the whole thing. You say you have somewhat of an open relationship, so why not ask her? Maybe her response will help you and your wife work it out.

    I had sex when I was 14 and… well all I can remember is that it must have been hilarious. I don’t regret it, but I don’t cherish it either. I think that’s the case with most. I don’t know if that’s helpful, but it’s my input. My boyfriend (father of my kids) agrees.

    • Kristin Bennett

      July 22, 2013 at 12:12 am

      I remember thinking “I did it!” then quickly after….”That’s it?” … lol!

  25. Véronique Houde

    June 21, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Here is a great canadian website (so you’ll see STI for Sexually Transmitted Infections instead of STD) that you can both look at yourself and then show your teen (they have different sections for different people). It might give you inspiration at how to talk to your teen about it if you have any questions or issues. Although you seem like a guy who knows who to say things clearly already 😉

  26. Amber

    June 21, 2013 at 9:49 am

    I feel kind of sick because you seem to think the pill will protect her. It won’t. As someone who went through the teen years already with my oldest and is entering them with my youngest, I have to tell you that many teenagers believe being on the pill means you don’t have to use condoms. The younger they are, the more prevalent that belief seems to be.
    “Oh, like, duh Billy’s mom, he’s 14, what diseases could he possibly have?” It’s scary how they think sometimes. Hell, back when I was a teenager, long, long ago, more than half of my junior high school came down chlamydia because “girls on the pill don’t have to use condoms. duh.”
    To hell with the pill, you need to talk to your daughter about condoms if you even suspect she might begin having sex. If she really is responsible, she’ll use them. They will protect her from pregnancy and at least a few diseases and infections that she probably doesn’t want just as much as she doesn’t want a baby.

    • jill_sandwich

      June 24, 2013 at 8:34 am

      I’m not sure how long ago you were a teen, but as someone who went to high school about 10 years ago, I can say that I never heard anyone say that girls on birth control don’t need to use condoms. I think today’s teens are more aware of the reality of STDs, or at least they were at my high school. I started getting tested for STDs pretty regularly as soon as I became sexually active, at the recommendation of my friends, who drove me to Planned Parenthood when I needed to because I didn’t have a drivers’ license yet. I did have friends who used the pill exclusively, but those were always ones who were in long term relationships, not ones who were sleeping with multiple partners or dating casually. Also, speaking as someone who did get pregnant while using condoms exclusively (not in high school – thank god), I’d like to remind you that condoms are not as effective as hormonal birth control at preventing pregnancy. Ideally a young person will be using both together, but honestly, I would much prefer that my child someday get chlamydia and have to take antibiotics for a week than get pregnant and potentially alter the entire course of her life. I’m not trying to sound flip about STDs as I know that some are very serious, but I feel like we have to look at the whole picture here.

  27. kmw

    June 21, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    I think trusting your daughter, not judging her, and encouraging her to talk to her doctor about pregnancy and STI prevention is wonderful. Open communication is important. 14 is young, and I would just say not to make her feel uncomfortable if she isn’t ready for this conversation, and not to make her feel like a weirdo if she is happier not having sex yet. I was a mature looking, attractive teenager and didn’t have sex until late in college, which I do not regret. My mom and I had a very open and good relationship. She suggested once to wait until a year into a relationship before engaging in sex, so you can really get to know and trust someone, but said that no matter what I decide she just wanted me to be safe. I was always very honest with her. My aunt told my mom she was an “idiot” for believing that I was not sexually active. It sometimes made me feel like I was being totally weird for not having sex. There is a lot of pressure on young girls— so I just wanted to caution you that even though you sound awesome and supportive, just make sure you are listening to HER and what SHE wants, and not making an assumptions.

  28. JennyWren

    June 21, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Even if you don’t end up getting her a prescription right away, I think it’s worth mentioning to her that you’d be happy to help her get one, in addition to condoms for STD protection, if/when she feels ready. I see a lot of people chalking this up as a “defeatist” attitude but, while I agree that 14 is really too young to be having sex, you have to negotiate a line between what is ideal and what is practical. The reality is that lots of teens have sex before they should, and whether she comes to regret that or not (and it’s important to remember that making less than great choices is typically an inevitable part of growing up), it will be far more important in the long run that adequate damage control has been taken before hand. This may be entirely unnecessary- she may not have any interest in having sex yet at all, but raising the issue in an open/calm and non-judgmental way now will hopefully result in her being more willing to confide in you when the time does come.

  29. meah

    June 21, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    I think you sound like an excellent dad, and your daughter is lucky to have you. However, I am leaning more toward your wife’s way of doing things, and here’s why:

    My parents were by no means prudes, but they had many of the same rules your wife does when I was that age. It meant that if I really wanted to have sex (or even just make-out with abandon) I had to work for it. I couldn’t just saunter into my room and shut the door. We had to take a “walk” or go for a “drive” (which had the added bonus of requiring me to be 16 with a driver’s licence). I was able to use lines like “sorry, I can’t shut the door” or “sorry, mom won’t let me have you in when she’s not home” in order to get out of doing things I didn’t really feel ready for, but was too afraid to flat out reject. I never thought of sex as dirty or wrong, just that it was serious business, and my parents didn’t want me to do it at that age.

    And, when I wanted to start having sex at the age of 16, I saw the doctor myself and got the prescription. If your daughter’s as strong and mature as you say, I am sure she has the where with all to go about doing that, or at least come to you when she feels it’s time. Especially if you have talked about it before and she knows she can come to you with that stuff.

    • jill_sandwich

      June 24, 2013 at 8:11 am

      I am genuinely really sorry that you needed to pull out “my parents said no” as a trump card to get yourself out of unwanted sexual experiences. This is a really serious problem for women of all ages, and especially teenage girls, but I think that the solution is perhaps to have a serious discussion about enthusiastic consent being necessary for every sexual encounter.

    • Kristin Bennett

      July 22, 2013 at 12:16 am

      I agree, but at the same time it’s good she had that option and felt at least empowered to use it…

  30. Kirei_Sabi

    June 21, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I wish my dad would have had your attitude when I got busy at the age of 15 (and this was many years ago). Have a candid talk with Dee about it and if she’s open to it, by all means get that girl on birth control. Even if she’s not sexually active she may find it relieves a lot of period discomfort and PMS. And everyone can rest a little easier at night.

  31. kwhite1980

    June 21, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I think its so great that you keep the lines of communication open. A simple conversation I think would do it at this point, a “hey, I would like it if you would wait until you’re more mature, but if you decide to have sex please come to me and I will take you to get birth control”. My mom did with me, I felt comfortable (awkward, but comfortable) telling her, it wasn’t a big deal, done.

  32. lashatumbai

    June 21, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    I like that you want her to be happy and safe, but in my opinion 14 is too young. The reason being when a young girl loses her virginity it is an instant and intense connection to the boy in question. If it does not work out, which it most likely won’t at this young age, she will be thrown for an emotional loop that she is not yet equipped to handle. I waited until 18 and it was still brutal when things didn’t end happily ever after. Your wife is right in that many women wish they had waited longer.

    • meteor_echo

      June 22, 2013 at 4:13 am

      “The reason being when a young girl loses her virginity it is an instant and intense connection to the boy in question.”
      Don’t judge every single girl by yourself. For some of us, losing virginity is not ~speshul~ or forms any kind of connection.

    • jill_sandwich

      June 24, 2013 at 8:04 am

      I lost my virginity to a friend when I was 16. I wished that I had done it sooner and had no intention of dating him. I agree with meteor_echo, it doesn’t matter that much to all of us, and it’s sort of crummy to assert that we all feel the same way about this. I’m also pretty flabbergasted by the idea that a girl should wait until she’s in a relationship with a guy that she won’t break up with to have sex. Unless she holds off on losing it until she’s like 25+, she’s most likely too young to be making a lifelong commitment to someone.

  33. anna

    June 23, 2013 at 12:10 am

    As many have said, good thoughts, but don’t just put her on BC. Let her know that’s available to her.
    I would have died if my father had said any of this to me, but I was much less sexually mature then. I was still at the point where I was determined he couldn’t notice I had boobs, and would hide my bras in the wash.
    I digress.
    I have a problem with parents who MAKE their children go on BC, like my cousin. She was forced to take it when she turned 14- she didn’t want to, had no boyfriend, and had a very strong reaction to it (heavy period, cramps, vomiting all through her period)
    But I most remember was her saying she was so sad her parents didn’t know her well enough to know that she didn’t want this and wasn’t ready for it.
    If she’s smart and mature, like you think she is, she can figure out her own birth control, but just make it available to her.

  34. smiavs

    June 24, 2013 at 12:58 am

    I don’t know, I think you’re better off having a serious conversation with your daughter before making any decisions. (And if you’re really wanting to allow her to “do what she wants” out of respect, you’ll allow any decision to be hers.) Long-term (lets just assume that she’ll lean more toward the average of waiting until her late twenties or early thirties to have children) use of birth control has its own set of risks, and as I prefer not to take any unnecessary medications myself, I’d be hesitant to go that route with a minor.

    With a minor–especially someone on the lower end of adolescence–I’d lean more towards a detailed explanation and demonstration of condom and diaphragm use. Véronique is correct; you should be far more concerned about the risk of STDs than pregnancy, and condoms/diaphragms are the only option that can prevent both scenarios. She should carry one (or both) in her wallet, at all times, though. Don’t rely on the likelihood that a teenage boy will be prepared.

    With someone so young, I would also want to have a discussion about the concept of consent, the age of majority, and the laws in place regarding the age of consent in the area where you live. Too many parents leave that part out of the equation. Most fourteen year-olds go to school with seventeen or eighteen year-olds. Children need to know the difference between a shared experience between equals (more or less) and statutory rape.

    That said, congratulations on being so open about the subject with your daughter. Your attitude and openness about the subject has about as much influence preventing a teen pregnancy as anything else, so bravo, sir.

    • jill_sandwich

      June 24, 2013 at 8:00 am

      Diaphragms DO NOT prevent STDs. And they are only about 94% effective, even with perfect use. Additionally, each woman needs to be custom fitted with a diaphragm by her OB or GP, so demonstrating proper diaphragm use is something that her doctor would do with her AFTER she’s already chosen to use that as her regular method of birth control.

      As far as pregnancy prevention is concerned, condoms are far less effective than hormonal forms of birth control. It’s something like 98% with perfect use, but if she’s starting to have intercourse at 14, she’s going to have a lot of sexual encounters piling up before she even graduates high school. For optimal protection, she should ideally be combining medication with condom use, provided that she is not at high risk for the ill effects of birth control and doesn’t have a bad reaction to it once she tries it.

      Honestly, I think that it would be best, and probably most comfortable for the daughter, if an appointment was made for her to go to Planned Parenthood or her regular doctor’s office to discuss her birth control options, because they can tell her about all of them in much greater detail than a layperson.

    • smiavs

      July 5, 2013 at 3:23 am

      I’m well aware of what diaphragms do and don’t prevent, I just included both options so someone wouldn’t jump on me with “it’s not just the guy’s responsibility, women can bring protection, too” argument, but it seems I didn’t actually prevent being “schooled,” so oh, well.

      Personally, I’d rather face the risk of getting pregnant over the (still largely unknown, since we haven’t had hormonal birth control long enough for long-term study results) potential effects from a pill, taken every day while someone is still in the process of developing.

      My mother’s currently dealing with her third round of breast cancer, a situation which may well have be exacerbated by a shoddy hysterectomy. It’s moved from the breast, to the lungs, to the brain, so I’m all too familiar with the medical community’s shortcomings.

      I’m dealing with lifelong effects of too many doctor-recommended antibiotics when I was young, and my sister had to take birth control as a young girl in order to receive a particularly strong acne medicine.

      I’ve had TWO horrible reactions to seemingly innocent medications–one of them was cold medicine that I’d had many times before–and am not one to ignore fine print and potential side effects. I question the positives versus the negatives in every medication, and I don’t believe that putting a kid who’s still in the throes of puberty on hormone-based medication is the easy answer everyone wants it to be.

      Again, though, my main point was, if the author thinks his kid is mature enough to make her own decisions regarding her sex life, he should allow her to make her own decisions regarding her health and what she allows into her body. It shouldn’t be a question of a father “put[ting his] 14-year-old daughter on birth control,” it should be his daughter being taught to make adult decisions that protect her from the potential consequences of adult actions.

    • Kristin Bennett

      July 22, 2013 at 12:19 am

      Excellent points…I’ve wondered if the MS I got diagnosed with is related to antibiotics that I too took way too many of as a kid and at 18 I had a stroke…they deemed it related to birth control.

      Maybe teach her about her CYCLE too…now that I’m married and not concerned about STD’s we are very careful to use condoms during my fertile time of the month…if she knew that at that particular time she had to be REALLY careful that might be more helpful than anything…then mention the risk of STD’s too but yeah, it’s important stuff to know about ourselves that I didn’t learn til way after I became an adult.

    • smiavs

      July 5, 2013 at 3:28 am

      Also, I think you’re writing off the diaphragm’s benefits a little to quickly. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3527003.html

  35. ezgrace21

    June 24, 2013 at 10:11 am

    You seem to know your daighter very well, and I commend you for wanting to deal with this head on instead of focusing on abstinence. When I was 14 or 15 and began dating, my parents had a talk with me that basically said sex was natural and fun, but a very serious thing to do. They did not tell me not to have sex but cautioned me that it was best saved for someone special and only when *I* was ready. As a result I was 21 when I actually had intercourse for the first time and have no regrets. I am now married and have my own family, and when he is old enough I am going to tell my son the same thing. Getting pregnant is not only a girls concern! Good luck.

  36. Emily Clocke

    June 25, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Shocking thought – why don’t you ask your daughter for her opinion?

  37. Emily Clocke

    June 25, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Shocking thought: why don’t you ask your daughter for her opinion?

  38. Eric Strauss

    June 26, 2013 at 11:40 am

    The boy’s parents should be involved in the discussion.

  39. PSG

    June 27, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    “My wife sees things very differently. I said to her recently: but you
    were that age when you first started having sex, and her reply gave me
    significant pause. She said, yes. I and many of my friends started
    having sex at that age, but I’ve never met a girl who had sex that young
    and didn’t regret it.

    That sounded pretty convincing to me, but still, I don’t know. My
    daughter is an awfully strong young woman, and she’s not going to let
    herself get played by anyone. So, am I bad father? Am I giving her too
    much credit? She’s very poised and seems to know what she wants, but
    she’s just 14, and how much does any 14 year old really know?”

    I was sexually active and on the pill at that age (80’s) and can say although I don’t regret it, can admit we, at times, didn’t really know what we were doing yet, and often relied on misinformation…and am slightly creeped out about the fact that, due to my maturely advanced appearance and abilities, was dating more men than boys. I was still 13, 14…with parental permission because I was so much ‘older’ than my age and peers had little appeal to me.

    Times are different. This is in your daughter’s favor. She has the world of information just a few key strokes away.
    However, you insist that she is able to navigate the emotionally turbulent waters that even the most jaded adult can drown in, so I’d ask that you step back from that and remember she is vulnerable. And 14. Despite blood and breast, that is not quite a woman, as you attribute it, yet.
    Also, it reads like we have a father who tries very hard to be a friend to his daughter, which I think is a better approach than not being a friend…but please don’t let one appointment suffer for the other. It’s good to be open, to be ‘in’ with your kids, but that doesn’t mean rules shouldn’t still apply, and more structure, regulation than just limiting the experience because you might be inconvenienced by the sound of youthful lovemaking.

    Sit her down and talk with her. Explain your concerns about her safety and what precautions you think will help her avoid some of the complications involved once a relationship turns sexual. Make sure your wife is somehow included in this, or else that could cause a rife between you all.

    Good luck to you. : )

  40. TeachSci

    July 17, 2013 at 11:18 am

    I’m a high school science teacher and spend a lot of time with teens. You are setting your daughter up for a healthy self esteem, and some well-balanced teen years. I applaud your ability to see your daughter as a person, a woman, and your child at the same time. It’s a hard balancing act.

    My Mom had a similar philosophy to yours, but my Dad was vehemently against it. My Mom allowed my sister and I to get on birth control under the guise of “it helps with severe menstrual cramps.” My Dad was willing to accept that. We did have bad cramps, it is true that birth control can help with that, and both my Mom and Dad could BOTH sleep at night. It’s not that my Dad didn’t know that the birth control had dual purposes, it just gave him some peace.

  41. Kristin Bennett

    July 22, 2013 at 12:01 am

    I think it makes sense to “just” inform her of where to get whatever she might need…assuming she gets allowance she can get condoms, make sure she has a gynocologist and that she starts seeing a doctor, they WILL have the “talk” with her about it. I don’t think you should try to just “get it” for her, but empower her to do what she has to do to get it. If she is ready for sex she is definitely ready for the doctor…a lot of other things start (like periods) at that age and I think it makes sense for her to see a doctor that deals with womanly things. I was about that age when I got on birth control, I think my situation was the opposite in that my s-mom was the one who took me to the doc, I don’t know how much my dad even knew. You don’t have to be blunt to make sure she is informed…she probably has taken sex ed etc. too, I remember at that age going to PP to get the free ones, not even because we needed them but it was almost like a dare, and if I needed them I WAS prepared too.

    I should also mention that I WAS diagnosed with a stroke at 18…at least in part to the bc I was taking. Condoms aren’t perfect but imho they are a heck of a lot safer.

  42. GPMeg

    July 23, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I think you’re amazing! I went on birth control at 13 for health reasons and I always felt more in control of things when I got to high school. I had the same conversations with my mother that you’re having with Dee and giving her that power says that you trust her to make the right decision. There are drospirinol based drugs now that are excellent and don’t pump her full of estrogen. I’m really proud of you for considering this and being such a wonderful dad for her. She will appreciate it whenever she does decide to become active and even moreso that she’ll have the roadmap for how to deal with her own children if she has them.

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    August 2, 2013 at 5:37 pm

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  44. Junebug

    August 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Personally I would see if you could get her on something more reliable than the pill (and wouldn’t be dependent on her taking it at the same time every day). I would talk to your daughter and talk to her doctor, you may want to consider an Implanon (sp?) or an IUD.

    My personal opinion is that it’s better to be safe than sorry. If IUDs were available for childless teens when I was a teenager I would have been all over it (they only recently started offering it to childless girls). I also think that if they offered IUDs to every sexually active teenager (preferably before they become sexually active), then teen pregnancy rates would dive bomb. Obviously there are going to be exceptions and for some the IUD isn’t a good fit, but it’s more effective than the pill and you don’t even have to think about it for 3-5 years (sometimes longer).

    Signed, someone who got pregnant at 19 because of shitty pill-taking skills.

  45. Noneofyourbuisness

    August 28, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Umm…HELLO? It’s not legal to let a 14 year old have SEX…You’re supposed to be 18 and letting your daughter do that is pathetically gross.But,yea,sure.I hope you don’t just give her some lubrication and it say’s “STD PREVENTION” on it,because that shit doesn’t work.That little boy could have a sexual disease,and you know what? Your daughter would be slowly dying in a painful way.And if I was her,every time I would encounter vaginal pain,I’d think of my retarded dad who let me get fucked when I was 14 years of age.I hope you really do have more stinkin’ sense.

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  47. Blondesareeasy Fullname

    September 11, 2013 at 2:51 am

    Give her the pill. We both know that we would have been parents a lot earlier in life if not for “luck.” Now that we have the means, use it.
    By the way…the “abortion pill” is simply a double dose of daily birth control pills.

  48. anon

    September 15, 2013 at 4:50 am

    I’m not sure if it’s just an American thing to take pills all the time but as a young mother (19 with a 3month old) I can 100% say I would rather my daughter get pregnant at a young age then get HIV or any other STI. I will most definitely be promoting condoms before bwfore anything else. I have also found out that this child is the only one il ever have as I am now infertile from years of contraception

  49. Kitti

    September 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    I dont think that is healthy to at that young age. She is just over puberty her hormones not sure in the right levels yet. I would wait, and tell her how to protect herself by using condom. Not mention that, the pills not defend from sexual diseases. Sorry for my english.

  50. FUck You AMerican Idiots

    September 20, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Stupid americans u should commit suicide give ur kid to adoption u damn prick u will ruin her life

  51. Anonymous

    October 23, 2013 at 2:42 am

    You are not a bad father you are jus being over protective or just generally protective for your little girl. Trust in your judgment your gut is usually right not the internet. If you still have difficulty just confront her about it it’s usually about that age you would have this talk with your boy it’s no different for daddy’s little girl. Your a pretty chill and rad ass dad though for that I solute you just make it firm that it shouldn’t be a regular thing. Also at some point confront the boy if it’s uncomfortable for him then share some stories or whatever just again make it clear you are not adviseing suggesting or supporting it.

  52. ms_elroy

    March 6, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    listen, you can’t just “put her on birth control.” She’s a human being, it’s her choice. What you can do is TALK to her. Ask her about her knowledge, opinions and what she’d like to do. You can’t stop her for doing anything and neither can your wife. You also have no right to. Make sure her options are open and that she’s not afraid to talk to you about things. That’s the best you can do.

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