Dear Dr. G.,

I am a perplexed mother. My daughter came home from college (her sophomore year) for the Jewish holidays on Thursday. I was looking through her packed bag to see what needed to go in the laundry when I came across guess what-a package of birth control pills. My reaction surprised me. I went into my room and cried. I guess my baby girl isn't so innocent anymore. Believe me, I was no angel in college. I had more than my share of sexual partners but the thought of my daughter involved in these sorts of entanglements scares and confuses me.

I don't know what to do. Should I tell my daughter that I found her birth control pills or should I keep my mouth shut and respect her privacy? Please tell me what to do. I really want to do the right thing and my daughter will only be home for a few days.

A Confused Mother

Dear Mother,

I understand your feelings. Your baby girl is no longer a baby girl and you have to adjust to her status as a young woman. You remember your own sexual experiences in college and I'm sure you remember a mixed bag of positive, negative, and ambivalent feelings. Of course, your motherly instinct is to wish that your daughter doesn't have to experience any emotional pain. Sadly, we can't protect our daughters completely from pain nor would that necessarily be the way to go. We all learn from our pain-wouldn't you agree?

I strongly suggest that YES you should talk to your daughter about having found her birth control pills. Let her know that you would be very interested in hearing about her relationships and social life if she would be interested in telling you. Be very calm and relaxed in your presentation so that she is less afraid of opening up to you. She may experience relief being able to talk to you. Talk to her about all aspects of sexuality including the emotional, physical., and psychological aspects. If this goes well you will be well on your way to establishing a more adult-like relationship with your daughter.

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

Dr. G.

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