The "Five Precepts of Buddhism" is a provocative list of what is best for a teen, for a person:
“Mark says—Mark says the teacher says if you don’t use condoms then you could both get sick and die. So we want to know. Does he? Every time?” the younger of two brothers asks his mom. Mark’s middle school sex ed class led to that question. The teacher's fearful talk caused the brothers to talk about their fear of being sent to orphanages. Uncomfortable talk. The teacher used fear that raised much greater fears in Mark and his brother of death and aloneness. Mark's mother tells this in her excellent book For Fidelity.
Spending time with each child pays off in a variety of ways. Participants in my parenting groups have shared many.
One incident I most remember was with our daughter. I took off work to go to a basketball game of our daughter’s team at a middle school near my office. I cheered her team, enjoyed her skill in playing and her interacting with team mates to pass the ball and score. And in the small middle school gym I was really close to her and the action.
Our daughter’s team won, and right after the game she asked if I could take some of them to another school for a game they wanted to see that started very soon. I said sure.
At the time I was driving a VW Rabbit Diesel that was not a roomy car. Several girls wearing their basketball uniforms, and smelling as if they’d just played a full game, piled into my car. Since it was a warm day, all windows and sunroof were opened. I drove very carefully since some could not be seat belted. They were screaming their joy at winning and love of life the whole trip. I was caught up in their excitement. Too soon we arrived at the game they wanted to see, they grabbed their bags of stuff and rushed off.
What a wonderful memory to treasure!
Some sexual ethics views do not stand scrutiny. Two that are often condemned are masturbation and erotic materials.
For example, the nominee by President Clinton to be Surgeon General had talked about the values of masturbation; the religious right forced her and the President to withdraw the nomination. Auto-eroticism is a broader term for what some conservative religious condemn. A recent unscientific study reported more women masturbated weekly than other intervals from daily to never. For parents the question may be, given adolescent feelings, which is safer, autoeroticism or the vulnerability of sex with another in feelings and physically.
The Methodist Church decades ago created an educational film for couples to use to enhance their love and sexual satisfaction, but strong objections from some forced the suppression of the film. Fortunately some positive erotic film and printed fiction is available that couples can use. Unfortunately there is more film and fiction that is hard pornography that disparages women, treating them as sex objects that men hurt and misuse.
An interesting movement is "top free." It is related to movements to get new mothers to breast feed that is really healthy — for baby and mom physically, spiritually, morally! These movements make me wonder if women were top free and most nursed, the sight of many breasts that vary in size and symmetry could accomplish two worthwhile goals: cause adolescent girls to be less concerned about their breast development and beauty and also reduce the attraction of hard porn. Ponder that!
If you want to read about sexual ethics in a religious context, an excellent book is Dirt, Greed, & Sex by L. William Countryman that explores the different Biblical views of sex and their cultural context and their implications for today.
A common story when our children were young was of the young child who asked a parent where babies come from. The parent did not ask what the child meant, but launched into a long talk about sex. The child, puzzled, said a friend said babies come from hospitals and not from storks.
Simple instructions for condom use are given at this site; use search engines to find other sites with instructions. Some people test condoms before use by blowing them up like a balloon. If it holds molecules of oxygen and nitrogen, it is safe if correctly put on with slack and avoiding certain lubricants. Here is a check list:
The religious right is conducting a subtle campaign against sex that includes misinformation about condom's safety. When used correctly, condoms are almost 100% effective.
USA TODAY in March 2005 examined all the deadly crashes involving 16-to-19-year-old drivers in 2003. About 3,500 teenagers died in teen-driven vehicles in the U.S.A. that year — a death toll that tops that of any disease or injury for teens. The South proved to be the deadliest region.
More than two-thirds of fatal single-vehicle teen crashes involved nighttime driving or at least one passenger age 16 to 19. Nearly three-fourths of the drivers in those crashes were male. And 16-year-old drivers were the riskiest of all. Their rate of involvement in fatal crashes was nearly five times that of drivers ages 20 and older, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
New medical research helps explain why. The part of the brain that weighs risks and controls impulsive behavior isn't fully developed until about age 25, according to the National Institutes of Health. Some state legislators and safety activists question whether 16-year-olds should be licensed to drive. Sixteen-year-olds are far worse drivers than 17-, 18- or 19-year-olds, statistics show.
See T. Walter Herbert's Sexual Violence and American Manhood for a thorough, probing discussion of what he calls "code manhood," and its many implications for male female relationships and domestic and sexual violence.
Our daughter’s “practicum” for her psychology degree was a study of closed head injuries that meant interviewing many patients and medical people. She then analyzed the data on the severity and life-long effects of injuries to the brain though the skull was not affected, which are called closed head injuries.
I remember her study when I see younger children not wearing helmets riding bikes.
She and her husband used flex-time at their work sites; the mother went to work later in the morning so she could take their children to school. Her husband arranged his flex time so he got off early so he could pick the children up after school — one of many ways that parents can make arrangements to increase their time with their children.