Would You Give Condoms to Your 14-Year-Old?

Filed under: Opinions

boy with condomSchool isn't the only place where sex education is a dilemma. Most parents would like their children to remain abstinent throughout their teens, but worry that withholding information about birth control and sexually transmitted diseases will lead to disaster. If we tell them not to do it, but then give them information on how to do it safely, which message will they heed?

While that is a difficult situation that every family has work out for themselves, resolving it doesn't necessarily mean you are home free. What happens when your fourteen-year-old comes to you and asks for condoms? You are right back where you started. If you provide them, are you condoning sex? If you deny them, are you risking pregnancy and/or disease? It's enough to make your head spin.

Cafe Mom readers are weighing in on the subject and the debate is enlightening and a little surprising. What I find most interesting is that the double standard of the past seems to be dead. While a post about a 14-year-old boy asking for condoms generated only about half as many responses as one about giving them to a 14-year-old girl, the responses themselves were fairly consistent regardless of the child's gender.

Based on those comments, many parents wouldn't hesitate to hand over condoms to a fourteen-year-old. Their logic is good: If the kid is asking for them, then there is probably already a need. On the other hand, there is a concern that a teen armed with condoms might make a different decision about whether or not to have sex than a teen without. In other words, having the condoms might push them to go ahead and go all the way.

While fourteen is clearly way too young to be having sex, I tend to side with those who feel it is better to be safe than sorry. As with so many parenting decisions, I base this on my own experience. But I appreciate that the argument against giving condoms to teens may have some validity.

In the end, we all must take a leap of faith and do what we think is best for our kids. What would you do if your fourteen-year-old asked for condoms? Does your answer depend on whether the teen in question is a boy or a girl?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.