Last month, Kim Kardashian sat for a much talked about interview with Oprah Winfrey. I didn’t watch, but oh, did I hear about it. Kardashian confessed that her mother Kris Jenner put her on birth control when she was just 14 years old. Apparently, Kardashian conveyed to her mother that she was ready to have sex after dating the same boy for two years.
Oprah’s response: a stunned “Wow.” Around the Internet, there was a collective gasp of horror. Jenner, a mother of five daughters, defended her decision on the “Bethenny Frankel Show.”
“When I felt like it was that time in their life that they were going to that step … I drove as fast as I could to the gynecologist’s office,” Jenner said. “You can try and talk your kids out of [having sex], but unless you lock your child in the closet and throw the key away, they’re going to do what they feel.”
I get the knee-jerk reaction to Jenner’s decision. Fourteen doesn’t just sound incredibly young, it is. But Jenner had to be doing something right if her daughter was comfortable enough to discuss sex with her. I wonder, when it’s thought about more carefully, what all those Jenner critics would have done in the same scenario since it’s not like you can stop a kid from having sex if that’s what she wants to do. And, too, if the way our mothers handled our budding interest in sex — if it was even addressed/discussed — was any better.
“I actually think it’s a great thing that Kris Jenner put Kim on birth control,” said Larissa Vasquez, a friend who works at a family planning clinic. “I don’t think it promotes promiscuity. I believe it opens the door for conversation between mothers and daughters. Is it uncomfortable? Awkward? Yes. But isn’t a few moments of discomfort worth knowing your daughter is being safe and coming to you for answers instead of a know-it-all friend?”
A few of my friends had moms who took the Jenner approach. One friend was put on birth control when she was 12. “I was tall and developed early, she explained. “I had hips, butt, and boobs when I was around 10.” Her mother took her to the ob/gyn and my girl left with an Ortho packet. Another friend confessed to her mother that she was having sex at 14. Initially, Mom went into shock, but upon recovery, she drove her daughter to the doctor for a Pap smear and birth control pills. “The doctor kept it real gangsta with me and had a good little talk about STDs and boys,” she recalled. “I already knew being a teenage mom wasn’t in the cards for me.”
I don’t remember really discussing sex with my mother. When I was a preteen, she gave me some books that explained the basics of how babies are made. I recall her insisting that I could always talk to her about anything, but I didn’t really believe her.
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