You asked

How do I talk to my child about birth control and protection without giving the impression that I approve of sex at her age?

This topic can be especially challenging for parents. It’s an unfortunate reality but many teenagers become sexually active before they think seriously about protection and just one incident can cause a teenager to be confronted with pregnancy or a life-threatening illness. You may firmly believe that abstinence is the only option for your child, but if she thinks you won’t forgive her for losing her virginity then she may be too afraid to talk to you and could end up in trouble.
 
Think about how you felt as a teenager and how confused you felt. Let your child know that it’s perfectly normal to have questions about sex and that it’s always okay to come to you for help. This way it’s easier to get important messages across to her: “Respect yourself”, “Know how much responsibility sex carries with it” and “Never let anyone pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do”.
 
You can help your child cope with the peer pressure to have sex or to at least appear sexually sophisticated. Your child may be faced with a lot of pressure to comply with social norms and you can help her learn to say no without hurting anyone’s feelings or being ridiculed.
 
If you feel that your daughter may be having sex or may be planning on having sex, no matter how much you disapprove,it may be your only option to guide her towards securing the best birth control and disease protection she can get.
 
If you are encouraging her to use contraception make sure she is aware that condoms are also necessary as the pill and other birth control methods for women don’t offer protection from disease.
 
You don’t have to stop talking to her about the importance of waiting until she is older; it simply means that she is protected from disaster if something should happen.
 
Parents also need to be concerned about boys, who should understand that not using a condom, even once, could endanger their lives. Your son may need some practical help and to make sure that he knows where to buy condoms and feels comfortable enough to do so. If you think there is any chance that he will try sex, buying some for him. Make sure he fully understands the ramifications of getting a girl pregnant.
 

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