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HomeContraception for Teenagers: A Parent’s Guide

Contraception for Teenagers: A Parent’s Guide

24 Apr, 2024 | Advice, Blog, Contraception, Counselling, Safe access, Uncategorised


Being able to freely open up and have those real conversations is important to any healthy parent-child relationship, and the topic of sex and contraception can feel particularly daunting. As your teenager navigates adolescence and explores their sexuality, it’s natural to have concerns about their wellbeing.

Why Talk About Contraception?

Teens are curious, and they’ll likely explore sexual activity at some point. Open communication about contraception allows them to make informed choices that protect their health and wellbeing. 

  • Reduce Unplanned Pregnancy: Unplanned pregnancies can be disruptive and stressful. Discussing contraception allows your teen to understand their options, make informed decisions and see the big picture when making their choices.
  • Prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): While some methods primarily prevent pregnancy, some contraception methods also offer protection against certain STIs. 
  • Build Trust & Open Communication: Open conversations about sex and contraception foster trust and create a safe space for your teen to discuss their concerns and questions. 

Creating a Safe Space for Conversation

Initiating a conversation about contraception can feel awkward. Here are some tips for creating a safe space for open and honest communication:

  • Find the Right Time and Place: Choose a relaxed moment when you can have a private conversation without interruptions.
  • Start the Conversation Gently: Let your teen know you’re comfortable discussing sex and contraception. 
  • Focus on Listening: Listen actively and non-judgmentally as your teen shares their thoughts and concerns. 
  • Normalise Questions: Let your teen know that questions are welcome, and there are no “wrong” questions. This encourages honest communication.

Understanding Teen Sexuality

Teenagers may be curious about sex, but they may not be ready for a sexual relationship. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Developmental Stages: Teenagers develop at different paces. Respect their pace and avoid pressuring them, one way or the other.
  • Peer Pressure: Teenagers can feel pressured to engage in sexual activity by their peers. Talking about healthy relationships and setting boundaries can help your teen stand their ground when it comes to what’s important to them.

Addressing Common Concerns

Teens might have specific questions or concerns about contraception.  Here are some common concerns and approaches:

  • “I’m too young for contraception.” Reassure your teen that contraception is about being responsible and informed, regardless of age.
  • “Using contraception means I want to have sex.” Explain that contraception empowers them to make informed decisions about their bodies and their future. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re planning on having sex soon.
  • “What if my friends find out?” Discuss the importance of confidentiality and respecting your teen’s privacy. However, emphasise the importance of honest and responsible communication, especially within a committed relationship.

Contraception Options for Teenagers

There are a variety of safe and effective contraception methods available.  

  • Barrier Methods: Condoms and Female Condoms are readily available over-the-counter and offer protection against some STIs
  • Hormonal Methods: These regulate the menstrual cycle and prevent ovulation. Options include birth control pills (contraceptive pills), contraceptive injections, patches, and rings, which all require a prescription from a doctor or healthcare professional.
  • Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC): LARCs are highly effective methods like intrauterine devices (IUDs) or contraceptive implants that last for several years. 

Resources and Support Services

Talking to a qualified healthcare professional is a recommended step for teenagers seeking contraception. Here are some resources:

  • Your Doctor or Healthcare Professional: They can discuss your teen’s individual needs and recommend appropriate contraception methods.
  • National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service: MSI Australia’s counselling services offer information and support on sexual health and relationships.