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          Parenting

          Teens and Birth Control: What Should You Do?

          March 25, 2004


          Whether or not to put your teen on birth control can be a difficult decision. Alex, the oldest daughter of the& Dr. Phil Family, is 15 years old and the mother of 4-month-old Nathan. The advice Dr. Phil gives to Alex and her parents about birth control may help you in raising your teen.

          Alex says, “My mom thinks that by putting me on birth control she will be saying that it’s OK for me to run around and have sex with everybody, which isn’t my intention at all.” She says she realizes the consequences of having sex, and she does not want to end up pregnant again. “I’ll be 16, I’ll be driving and I’ll be dating … I don’t want to have sex, but I just want to be cautious, I want to be prepared,” she says.

          Dr. Phil tells Erin and Marty how he sees the situation. “I think you have no choice. I think you have to put this girl on birth control,” he says. “I can argue both sides equally effectively. I can get over here and say you don’t go on birth control, because that’s an implicit endorsement, and it tells her she can do it with impunity,” he explains, almost as if they were giving her permission to have sex. “But the truth is,” he continues, “The dynamic of this situation is that she is at risk to become pregnant again.”

          Dr. Phil explains that the goal is to get her through the rest of high school and college, and to a place where she is mature enough to then decide if she wants to add to her family. “The chance that that’s going to happen without birth control is, in my opinion, zero,” he says. “The question is not if you put her on it, the question is when you put her on it,” he continues. “I just think that’s a risk you can’t take. I don’t like the message it sends. But I think the consequences of being wrong are too great to ignore.”

          Dr. Phil reminds Alex, “Responsibility doesn’t start with the pill, it starts before that,” warning her that she needs to be careful of her actions so she does not become pregnant before she is ready for another baby.

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