Is 14 too young to go on the pill?

This week, Kim Kardashian told Oprah that she started taking birth control pills when she was 14-years-old.

She said: “When I did want to have sex the first time I was almost 15… I said to my mom, “I think I’m going to, or I want to,” and she was like, ‘OK, so this is what we’re gonna do, we’re gonna put you on birth control,’ and she was like, really open and honest with me.”

Kim and Oprah’s conversation got us talking about birth control here at Mamamia and when is the right age to start taking it,or  wearing it or talking to your kids about it. Because everyone’s got an opinion on this one.

A quick vox pop around the office showed that while some of us started taking the pill for the same reasons as Kim Kardashian, others got their first script in an effort to clear up skin breakouts or stop period pain. And while everyone’s ages varied, our stories all shared one common theme. Our mums.

We asked leading Australian psychologist Jo Lamble (who you may have seen at our Family Life Forums around the country, or on Today) to give us her thoughts:

Jo Lamble

If your daughter comes to you wanting to discuss going on the pill, well done! You are officially approachable and you have done a fabulous job keeping the lines of communication open. After patting yourself on the back, praise her for coming to you because it probably took a lot of courage. Then the conversation can really begin. Ask her why she wants to go on the pill and do your best to calmly listen without judgment. Then you can talk to her about contraception being only one part of the issue. She also needs to think about STDs and most importantly, the emotional impact of having a sexual relationship. She probably won’t realise that once she starts having sex, the relationship may get very intense and she could become dependent on him. You can also gently point out that the age of consent is 16 for a reason – children under that age are not really emotionally mature enough to make informed decisions about whether or not to have sex.

If she has already had sex, then it’s still not too late to have this same chat with the added advice that just because she has had sex doesn’t mean that she has to keep having sex nor does it mean that every relationship she has from now on has to be sexual.

It’s also good to talk to teenage boys. They need to know the law and the emotional attachment that goes with a sexual relationship. It’s important to point out that girls they have sex with may well become dependent or clingy. It’s also a perfect opportunity to talk about the need to respect females and to listen out for the signs that she doesn’t want to have sex, but she doesn’t want to lose him, so she’s agreeing. It can be a good idea to have a few condoms in the bathroom cabinet, just so the whole idea of safe sex is promoted. But nothing is as important as the gentle, but direct chats.

Are you on the pill? What age did you start? Did you talk to your parents? If you’re a parent – at what age would you talk to your kids about birth control?