Encouraging responsible behavior

Teens may lack the maturity to properly and consistently use certain types of contraception. If your daughter is thinking about using prescription birth control, make sure she considers frequency of use and convenience before selecting a method. For instance, combination birth control pills need to be taken at the same time every day, while NuvaRing is worn for three weeks at a time. Whatever birth control method your teen chooses, explain the importance of keeping track of doctor's appointments and how to make birth control use a part of her routine — such as by taking her daily combination birth control pill when she brushes her teeth. Make sure your teen knows what to do if she misses a dose or suspects that she may be pregnant.

If your teen is considering becoming sexually active, you might also provide practical tips — such as keeping condoms in a wallet or purse. Explain to your teen that use of alcohol and other drugs may affect his or her judgment and increase the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.

The bottom line

Talking about sex and contraception with your teen isn't easy. However, your guidance can help your teen make informed choices that help protect his or her sexual health.

Aug. 08, 2013 See more In-depth