Our expert says:
The time comes when one has to face faces. Well before 17, nobody remains "my little, curly-top girl". Though it may shock many parents, current law and regulations allow kids alarmingly young to receive contraceptives and even abortions not only without their parents consent but even without parental knowledge.
Trusting is not enough, as you have discovered - the best safeguard is continuing open, frank, caring but not condemning discussions with a growing child / young woman, so that she feels able to discuss anything with you, not fearing condemnation or catastrophic reactions.
The fact is that we cannot "control" our children, however much we might want to do so in order to protect them from coming to harm - only they can be helped and encouraged to control themselves, to understand and believe in the risks and the value of avoiding them.
Evidence shows that providing contraceptive advice and contraceptives themselves, does NOT encourage young people to be more promiscuous, but to be more cautious, and to run less risks overall.
Putting her on the pill may be a really wise decision ( and she is already free to arrange this herself at government clinics or other services ). It reduces the harm that might be caused by what she may well do anyway, without actively encouraging her to become promiscuous. Please don't reject that possibility without thinking very carefully, and perhaps discussing it with a counsellor who could help both of you to have more useful discussions between yourselves.
If she allows herself to fall pregnant, yes, it will inevitably cause her problems and limit some of her choices in life, and she needs to be encouraged to think about this.
You are wise to decide to take a few days to think this through and digest it, and not to allow yourself to make repid and emotionally based decisions you might later regret.
As JS says, you asked her to be truthful, and she was - make sure she doesn't feel punished for having been truthful, or that discourages her from remaining frank and truthful with you.
She WAS truthful when you asked her - yes, she didn't rish to tell youbefore you asked, but given the response she received, is it really very surprising she wasn't keen to tell you ?
At her age many girls are sexually active, bear children and get married, and she would be allowed legally to do so. Yes this is very upsetting for you - but indeed be pleased she was using condoms rather than having sex without any protection at all.
When you calm down, have a long calm chat with her - not accusing her or blazing with fury or disappoinement and pain, but explaining why you felt so upset, and why you feel it is so important for her to be more cautious. Explain what you know about the various risks and disadvantages she has been risking, and why you'd like her to keep more pleasant options open for herself in life.
Remind her that she has decades ahead of her to enjoy responsible sex in her life - the whole apparatus and possibility won't wear out within weeks. But it is always, as science shows, far healthier physically and mentally for the woman and her eventual child, to start a bit later and to avoid early pregnancy.
Comet raises another point I wanted to raise - her brother behaved sneakily and badly. How did he come to find the condom wrapper in her room ? Does he make a habit of sneaking into her room to search for whatever he can find ? Isn't that really bad behaviour which should not be commended and rewarded ? Maybe he wanted to get his sister into trouble.
Thanks to our many readers who have contributed sincerely and helpfully here.
Leila I would disagree with - rushing them into marriage at this stage would be very unwise indeed.
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