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Thursday, 22 March 2001

Birth Control for Teenage Daughter

Written by  Sherri Mandell

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Roger (40) and Lisa (42), the parents of Becky(14), are in the kitchen, having a cup of late night herbal tea, and discussing their daughter. Roger is a journalist and Lisa is a C.P.A.

Roger: You what?

Lisa: I made an appointment at the gynecologist. For Becky.

Roger: For what?

Lisa: For birth control.

What are you thinking? She's only 14. She doesn't need birth control.

Lisa: Not now. But I want her to be prepared.

Roger: She doesn't have a boyfriend. Why are you pushing her?

Lisa: I'm not pushing her into anything. Face reality, Roger.

What reality?

Lisa: I lost my virginity at 16. And that was 25 years ago. Kids are doing it, Roger. I had to go to a clinic by myself. I took the bus to Far Rockaway, and there were pregnant teenagers in that waiting room. I'm not taking any chances with Becky.

Roger: But she's not ready. She's a baby. She's innocent.

Lisa: She's surrounded by sex. It's in the air. It's on the street. It's everywhere. It's inevitable that she'll become sexually active.

No, it's not. We need to talk to her. To explain to her that it's better to wait. We need to send her a message that just because other kids are doing it doesn't mean that she should.

Lisa: You did it. I did it.

It doesn't mean we were right, does it?

Lisa: I don't regret any thing I did.

Rgoer: Well I do. I think screwing around so much affected me. I should have waited. I wasn't mature enough to handle it. That's all I could think about.

Lisa: She'll be thinking about it too.

Roger: Thinking and doing aren't the same. I'm sorry that I lost my innocence.

Lisa: What do you mean?

Roger: I wish that I hadn't been with other women.

Lisa: That's sweet, Roger, but you didn't mind it then.

Roger: I was young and stupid. And nobody educated me. I want it to be different for Becky. I don't want her her to be used.

Were you using women? I fooled around and I wasn't used.

Roger: I don't think it was so great for you either. You've told me a few things. About Joe, for example, I don't think that was such a great relationship. You said you were looking for somebody to love, to be with-long term.

Lisa: I would have been a virgin until I was 28. I don't think that's very practical.

Roger: No. But waiting until you're an adult is a good idea. And waiting until you're married is even better. I think our bond would be stronger if we had only been with each other. And our wedding night would have been a lot more exciting. If you remember , you fell asleep before we made love.
When is it OK to Start Having Sex?

Lisa: We weren't getting married so we could make love. We already lived together.

I don't want that for Becky. And I don't want to push her into having sex. I think we need to have a serious talk with her. Have you tried that?

Lisa: No, have you?

Roger: This is a mother thing.

If you feel so strongly about it, you should talk to her. Besides, even if we talk to her, she's going to do what she wants. That's how I was.

Roger: Yeah, but nobody ever talked to you seriously, with respect.

Lisa: I think respecting her is teaching her how to protect herself. I want her to know we love her and we care about her. And we're not going to treat her like a baby. She can be open and honest with us.

Roger: This isn't Jerry Springer, Lisa. I don't want open and honest. I don't want her to be having sex.

Lisa: I'm afraid that if you come on so strong, she'll do it just to rebel. I think we should give her the facts and then let her decide. I'm not worried about her innocence. It's her health I'm worried about-- AIDS and STDs and getting pregnant. I want her to be protected.

Roger: So do I. And the best protection is if she doesn't fool around. If she understands that sex is for an intimate, connected, stable relationship. Not something to play with.

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Last modified on Friday, 29 April 2011 16:31
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Sherri Mandell

Sherri Mandell

Sherri Mandell has a Master's degree in Creative Writing and has taught writing at the University of Maryland and Penn State University. She is the author of the book Writers of the Holocaust. She has written articles for the Washington Post. She is married with four children

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