How to Handle It If She Does
So you've tried it all: honest talks, lots of lessons, and still she decides to have sex. What's a parent to do? Stay calm and keep her safe.
You'll want to cry, and it's okay if you do. After all, your little girl will never be a “little girl” again in some ways. But don't be hysterical. If she tells you herself, you need to take a deep breath and praise her for her honesty. Then talk to her about the situation. How did the decision come to be? Would she change any of it if she could?
If you sense she is in over her head, help her get out of the situation. Let her blame it on you, and tell the boy she is not allowed to see him anymore. If she feels she cannot change things but wants to, get her some counseling so that she can learn to stand up for what she wants and know that she does not have to have sex if she does not want to.
You might want to scream too, but this is not a good idea. If you are upset, particularly if you find out on your own (often parents find condoms in a girl's room or worse, hear from another parent), calm yourself down and find a way to bring it up like the mature parent you are.
If she lies to you, offer for her to see a gynecologist on her own, without you knowing details (Mom can't get the details anyhow because of confidentiality issues, and knowing that may convince more girls to go). Better that she practice safe sex than that she hide it from you and make mistakes.
Any girl who is having sexual relations, regardless of age, needs to have a gynecological exam (pelvic) immediately. If her health care provider does not perform this service, bring your daughter to someone who does, preferably a gynecologist or woman's health practitioner with experience in performing these exams on teenagers.
You'll want to let her know that she needs to be open with you. If she believes in what she is doing and whom she is doing it with, there should be a time she can talk calmly and openly to her loving parent about it. Give her the support she needs and let her know that you'll be ready the moment she's ready.
But what if she's too young? This, again, is a case of you giving her the opportunity. It's easy enough to keep tabs on a thirteen- or fourteen-year-old girl if you put your mind to it. Remember, as her parent, you are indeed her protector. And that is not always easy.
If she ends up at, say 16, in a relationship that she insists is going to be physical, you'll want to make sure she has the right protection and she understands the risks. It's not just about pregnancy (which is a real risk — be sure to share with her stats on how many women get pregnant using birth control). You'll also want to share with her the long-term impact of birth control. If she's on the pill, she needs to know that smoking is absolutely not an option, because the combination can be life threatening.
She needs to understand the many STDs that she can come across, and that one person could be having sex with others. It's the old adage: you're not just sleeping with him; you're sleeping with everyone he ever slept with. Girls seem to think that they are too smart to let such things happen. Remind her that women with degrees from Harvard have contracted STDs. No one is smarter than a virus.
In the end, it will be up to you to be supportive yet educational, and to always let her know you'll help her do what is best for her long-term, and what will serve her best for a lifetime.