You’re a teen and you’re finding it difficult to talk to your parents. No surprises there! Teens and parents have had communication problems since the dawn of time. These conflicts often arise because once you reach your teens you’re ready to start taking more control of your life and making more of your own decisions. Since many of these decisions conflict with what your parents intended for you, you may discover a communication barrier between yourself and your parents.
Wanting to avoid such conflicts is natural, but handling major health decisions like teen circumcision is too important to manage on your own.You will need your parents’ consent, after all, and you should want for them to see eye-to-eye on your personal health decisions. While they could not ask you your feelings on circumcision when you were an infant and when most people have circumcisions performed, they should respect your decision now that you are maturing and nearing adulthood.
To help you handle this discussion, consider the following information and advice about discussing teen circumcision with your family.
The Importance of Discussing Circumcision as a Teen
For many decades now, circumcision has become a standard procedure on infants for many personal and health reasons. Performing a circumcision at birth ensures that tissues will have the opportunity to grow and heal rapidly. By the time you are a full-grown adult this healing process takes longer, but teen males still have an opportunity to take advantage of their continued growth and maturation.
In the past, most males were circumcised at birth in the U.S. But recently, the number of infant circumcisions has dropped, leaving many teens and adolescents wondering about circumcision and whether or not it might be a good choice for their health and their future. And, unless you’re an older teen, the need for consent means you’ll need to have a discussion with your parents, especially if you’ve already decided you want to move forward and undergo a circumcision procedure.
Unfortunately, talking to your parents about something as deeply personal as circumcision can be difficult — especially if your parents made the decision not to have you circumcised as an infant. They may have very specific reasons for not having had you circumcised; most parents do.
The key is to keep your temper (yes, it can be difficult) and have a convincing, well-constructed argument that lets your parents know you’ve thought your decision through and you feel confident in the decision you’ve made. They should know that within a few years you will have the opportunity to make such decisions on your own, but doing it now improves your chances of successful recovery without complications.
Expressing Your Wishes Regarding Teen Circumcision
The best approach when discussing teen circumcision with your parents is to be open and honest.
If being uncircumcised makes you feel self-conscious about your appearance, for example, let your parents know. But keep your arguments logical and don’t get angry or overly emotional. You can use “I feel” statements to indicate your personal beliefs, but let them know that their are also objective, medical reasons backing your decision. Tell them your recovery will be much easier, faster, and less painful if the procedure is done while you’re still in your growing years.
And let your parents know the facts that have been backed by clinical research. By supporting your decision to be circumcised as a teen, you can:
- Decrease the risk of HIV transmission by 50 to 60 percent
- Decrease your risks of contracting other STDs, like herpes, bacterial vaginosis (yes, guys can “catch” it) and HPV, which can cause cancer of the penis
- Decrease the risk of genital infection
What parent doesn’t want their child to have a better chance at a healthier, happier life?
Accepting Your Parents’ Response
If your parents are still not receptive to your arguments, keep your cool. It may seem a long time until you’re 18, but it’s just a few short years (or months) away. At that point, you will be able to make your own decisions about your health and your life.
The teen years are not always easy to navigate; everything seems much more immediate and pressing. When it comes to discussing teen circumcision, know your mind, know the facts, know your argument, but be prepared for some disagreement and avoid overreacting. If your parents view you as a responsible person making a responsible and (largely) unemotional decision, they’ll be far more likely to be accepting of your views on teen circumcision.
And who knows? There’s always the chance they’ve been thinking about discussing the issue, but may be at a loss about how to talk about it. By bringing up the subject of teen circumcision yourself you may be taking a lot of pressure off of them — and they could wind up being pretty grateful for your maturity and directness.
If you want more advice or information about teen circumcision, you can contact us today online or by calling (310) 559-8000.