Despite the fact that the pill does not protect you from STDs and should be used in conjunction with a second form of birth control such as condoms, oral contraceptives are still 99% effective when taken on a regular basis. But how is a sexually active high school girl to get her hands on such reliable medicine? Bringing up the topic of the birth control pill with your parents can more often than not create an uncomfortable situation. Although you may want to go on the pill primarily to alleviate acne or cramps, your parents will likely jump to conclusions and assume you are admitting to regular sexual activity.
That being said, here are some suggestions for how to start this hand-wringing conversation with your parents.
1. “Mom, I’m pregnant.” Tense pause. Then, you emit a staccato burst of laughter. “Just kidding! But I do think I should go on birth control, so you never make that face again.”
Briefly feigning pregnancy will make your parents blanche and remind them of exactly what they don’t want to happen. The possibility that you are with child will only serve to assert how vital the pill is and bring the harsh realities of having a daughter to their previously starry eyes. As long as you keep a straight face while breaking the fake news, Mom and Dad will suddenly have more perspective on the consequences of not going on the pill.
2. You groan, clutching your abdomen. “My ovaries are like little daggers. I can’t go to School with such bad cramps. Find a way to fix this!”
Because parents get heart palpitations at the thought of their sweet little girl having sex, dodging that taboo subject might make them more inclined to grant permission for birth control pills. Stating your intent in going on the pill is to clear blemishes or to ease cramps—which, in many scenarios, it is—will make parents more receptive to the idea. However, do not be too subtle, or they may not get the message. Be sure to mention that even painkillers such as Advil cannot subdue the tidal waves of menstrual pain.
3. “I think it’s time for her to go on the pill.”
If necessary, a mediator is always a viable option; entrust a close relative, family friend or doctor with the responsibility of suggesting the option of birth control to your parents in your stead. Not only will your parents have more time to mull over the proposition and respond sensibly, but you can also avoid a bit of the initial discomfort. And when they mention the suggestion, you can flutter your eyelashes innocently and pretend that this moment is the first time you have even considered birth control. However, note that in the case of the family friend, some probing questions are certain to arise, along the lines of “Are you saying my daughter is having sex? How do you know about this but I don’t?!” So consider the consequences before you ask the favor.
No matter how you ask, remember that your parents will respond well to calmness and honesty, and would not want you to feel ashamed about approaching them. As squeamish as they may get on the subject of you having sex, most parents would also like their daughters to assume that they are open-minded and loving enough to engage in a serious conversation. Above all, though, remember that your parents will most likely prefer that you use the pill in a preventative way, rather than after you become sexually active.