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Dear Urban Diplomat: should I tell my new husband that his teen daughter’s on the Pill?

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I recently married a man who has a 15-year-old daughter, and I accidentally discovered she’s on the Pill. Her dad would be apoplectic if he knew. She begged me not to tell him and said she’d never forgive me if he found out. What should I do?

—Contraception Interception, Bennington Heights

Praise her decision to use birth control, then say that while you adore and trust her, you would never betray your husband. Explain, as unthreateningly as possible, that she needs to tell her father (or birth mother, if she’s in the picture), or else you will be morally obligated to do so. There’s a whole raft of matters to discuss, including safe sex, emotional maturity and STDs, and those are matters for the people who raised her. Offer to be on hand during the big reveal in case her dad flies off the handle. She’ll probably loathe you for a while, but—news flash—as the parent of a peak-­hormonal teen, such is your new reality.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com

  • Nooooooo

    That is terrible advice. If she is old enough to get a birth control prescription without her parents’ permission, it is none of their business. The stepmom should just remind her that the pill does not prevent STDs, encourage condom use, and then forget that she ever found out about it.

  • DON’T DO THIS

    Oh my god, this is the worst advice! Please do NOT listen to this! This is based on the assumption that the father is rational and understanding when it comes to his daughter’s sexual activity (and even if he is, it’s no one’s place to inform him except the daughter herself). I have a friend who had horrible, crippling menstrual pains when she was in high school and had to be put on birth control to minimize them. When her father found out, he flipped out and refused to let her use the pill, even though it was not only exclusively for her health, but she had never even had a boyfriend yet. She (and her mother) just had to hide it from him.

    My parents are so old school that even I wouldn’t tell my parents that I was sexually active and I’m 25 years old.

    The daughter has every right to not tell her father. He does NOT need to know, nor does HE need to be the one to tell her about safe sex just because he raised her. Seriously, what is that logic? I’m very well versed about safe sex and I can even go into detail about how birth control pills work down to efficacy percentages, and the only parental discussion about safe sex I’ve ever had was this one time when my father randomly said “don’t have premarital sex” and that was it.

    Also, just so you’re aware, since she went to the doctor to get a prescription for birth control, especially as a minor, the doctor definitely already informed her about safe sex. Absolutely NOTHING decent can come out of this unless he is an incredibly supportive father (and again, even there is no reason for him to know). However, since the reader claimed he “would be apoplectic if he knew”, ABSOLUTELY DO NOT TELL HIM, otherwise this would be a fantastic way to ensure that this young woman would likely have a much more distant relationship with both of you.

    Whoever gave this advice needs to be fired.

  • Dan_Ramble

    Hahaha Betray your husband… Word for word advice you tell anyone who is hiding anything from anyone. “You should tell him yourself because you’re a responsible person, he’ll find out soon enough anyways, the short term coverups do not fix the long term”

    Can I get a job giving advice? Oh wait I have one! Coming to a podcast near you.

  • Never ever

    that advice is brutal…it’s none of the dad’s business…the only discussion i ever had about sex with my mom was when i was 17 and it went like this “have you had sex?” “mom, as far as your concerned the answer will be no until i’m married”…and she left it at that and trusted me to be smart about it. i had all the information i needed about STD’s and condoms from school and television (the ultimate educator)…don’t know who gives this advice, but it’s literally the worst.

  • CYW

    This is a tough one. This is a minor child we’re talking about and 15 is really too young for sex. Thank gawd she’s using BC — it shows maturity and evidence of good parenting on someone’s part. But as a parent myself, I’d want the opportunity to talk to my child about relationships and safety and consent and all sorts of things. Perhaps you could manage the dilemma at the other end and encourage your new H to talk frankly to his daughter about sex and relationships without divulging what you know. This is why, even though my son is only 11, I find ways to work these things into our conversations. I don’t necessarily need to know when my son buys or uses his first condom, but I certainly want to plant responsibility and safety into his head as frequently as I can before he becomes sexually active….

  • David Jervis

    Daughters and moms hide a bunch if stuff from the dad/husband. This is no different!

  • CYW

    Doesn’t mean they should. The questions wasn’t what do most people do. It was what SHOULD I do.

  • Alexandra

    Wow horrific advice. Women need to stick together and have a private discussion about the matter. “Betray your husband”? What year is it? Just because he’s your father does not mean he has any right to know about your sexual life. Telling her father everything tarnishes the environment of having a trusted adult around that she feels comfortable talking to.

  • speedy

    wow that is the worst advice. Her reproductive health is a between her and the health care professional who prescribed it to her.

 

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