Ask Amy: Parent questions birth control query

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • May 16, 2013 - 6:35 PM

Dear Amy: My daughter, who is almost 12, visited a hospital a couple of months ago, and during an exam a nurse asked her if she uses birth control. Is this an appropriate question to ask a not-quite-12-year-old girl? I feel it is the kind of question that would make girls of that age think that maybe they were missing out on something. Am I right?

Amy says: Any girl who is old enough to menstruate could also be taking birth control, not only to prevent pregnancy but because it might have been prescribed for medical reasons.

I agree that this question might seem absurd to you or your daughter, given her age, but this presents an opportunity for you to discuss your daughter’s reproductive health with her. She is reaching an age when it will be important for her to understand why questions such as this one might be asked.

It’s hard to imagine that this question would encourage her to have sex or take birth control.

Whenever she is asked a question and doesn’t understand why the question is being posed, she should say, “Excuse me, but I don’t understand why you’ve asked this question. Could you explain it?”

Please use this as an opportunity to talk with her in a way that encourages her to be open with you.

Freeloading boyfriend

Dear Amy: My boyfriend and I have been living together for 10 years. Both of us had previously been married.

When we decided to live together, I was the one who purchased a home. He moved in and indicated he could pay only a certain amount of “rent” because he was paying maintenance to his ex-wife.

His maintenance payments lasted for four years; it is now 10 years since he moved in, and he pays the same rent.

I pay all the bills. Both of us have full-time jobs, and to say that I am getting fed up is an understatement. How do I get out of this relationship gracefully?

Amy says: I can’t guarantee that severing this relationship will necessarily be “graceful” because it will involve trying to evict someone from a relationship and a home he has had for 10 years. Although it is your home, to get him out of it you may have to jump through some hoops.

The length of your relationship may put you in “common-law spouse” territory. Several states recognize common-law marriages, and you could find that dissolving this union will be more complicated than it was to form it. You may have to legally evict him.

Of course, your guy may be happy to mosey along, but you should prepare yourself well by conferring with a lawyer.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at

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