Newsletter January 2010

Building Healthy Relationship Skills Newsletter – January 2010

  • Stories of Impact! – winning student journal contest entries
  • New research on adolescent relationship development
  • Relationship stress undermines teen health
  • Importance of parents to child well-being
  • TDI programs listed in California After School Network resource guide

Dear Friends,Need proof that teaching healthy relationship skills impacts teens’ lives? Just read a few excerpts from the winners of our student Journal Contest!

“This class has had a magnificent impact on my personal life and my love life. Before this class, I never would have realized I was in an abusive relationship, let alone I never would have had the courage to leave.”“If I would not have been taught this unit I probably would still be with him and it would have gotten dramatically worse.” I am with someone new now that treats me right, but if I ever start seeing some of the red flags or warning signs, I will leave him immediately.”9th grade girlPennsylvania“At first to tell you the truth I did not like the class, I thought it was only for perfect kids with perfect families. But then my teacher started to talk about things that I could really relate to. I have smokers, and alcoholics and teen pregnancy in my family….I realized I was headed down the same road….I really started to listen.”“This class has helped me solve problems with my family and friends; it also opened my eyes to things I have never realized. My best friend and I have not argued for a very long time because we used “the Floor” and listened to both sides of the disagreement.”9th grade girlColorado

Congratulations Journal Contest winners! And, thanks to all the teachers who encouraged over 200 students to participate. Keep up your great work! Read the full text of the winning entries.With all warm wishes,Kay ReedExecutive Director


New research on adolescent relationship developmentLast month we mentioned an article published in The Wall Street Journal on puppy love. Here are the three major findings they cite regarding healthy romantic relationship formation:

  • Young people who have parents who talk with them about love and relationships experience warmer romantic relationships with less fighting. (Stephanie Madsen, Ph.D., McDaniel College, MD)
  • Young people whose romantic relationships are nurturing and close also tend to have reached more milestones of adult development, including a stronger sense of personal identity and an ability to care for other family members, (Carolyn M. Barry, Ph.D., Loyola University Maryland.)
  • Researchers rated teens and their boyfriends or girlfriends on depressive symptoms, and on peer reports of popularity, aggression, fighting and victimization via bullying or teasing; 11 months later, they rated the teens and their partners again. Teens who had more problems at the first rating, but who picked healthier boyfriends or girlfriends, became mentally and socially healthier themselves by the second rating. However, low-functioning teens who picked partners who also had a lot of problems tended to stay stuck. (Valerie Simon, Ph.D., Wayne State, MI)

Relationship stress undermines teen healthCiting The Nemours Foundation, Connect with Kids reported this month that pressures that are too intense, last too long, or are faced alone can undermine a teen’s health. The stressors that were identified included being bullied, relationship stress, family conflicts, or the heavy emotions that can accompany a broken heart. Here’s more evidence that learning healthy social and emotional skills education benefits physical and well as emotional health!


Importance of two parents to child well beingThis month The Heritage Foundation linked engaged, healthy parenting to more positive outcomes for children in ten areas: emotional health, self-esteem, educational attainment, behavior, delinquency, sexual behavior, teen pregnancy, tobacco use, substance abuse and academic achievement. Check out their sources and read asummary of the findings for a wealth of information supporting the need to teach teens healthy relationship skills as a way to improve the outcomes for their future children.


TDI listed as California After School Network educational resourceThe Dibble Institute has been added as an educational resource on the California After School Network website. After-school professionals are finding that teaching teens how to navigate their love lives is engaging for their students and fun to do!


The Dibble Institute CalendarJanuary 14Minnesota Fatherhood SummitAlexandria, MNInformation and registration: www.regonline.comWorkshop: Through the Eyes of the ChildPresenter: Nancy LenkJanuary 26Southern California Teen CoalitionWinter Membership MeetingCity of Commerce, CAInformation: www.socalteencoalition.orgPresenter: Kay ReedFebruary 1Los Angeles Unified School District Health ConferenceThe California EndowmentLos Angeles, CAWorkshop: Healthy Choices, Healthy RelationshipsPresenter: Char KamperFebruary 22Archdiocese of Chicago SchoolsMarions Catholic High SchoolChicago, ILExhibitor: Irene VarleyFebruary 26Illinois Association of Family and Consumer Sciences“Invest in Yourself”E. Peoria, ILContact: Kathy Kemp: kathy.iafcs.kemp@att.netWorkshop: Invest in Relationship EducationPresenter: Nancy LenkMarch 4-7California Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Ontario, CAInformation and Registration: www.CAHPERD.orgExhibitors: Charlotte Worley, Char KamperMarch 13-15Society of State Directors of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance24th Annual MeetingIndianapolis, INExhibitor: Irene VarleyMarch 15-16University of Montana, Counseling EducationMissoula, MTTraining: Love NotesTrainer: Marline PearsonMarch 16-20American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance125th National Convention & ExpositionIndianapolis, INInformation and Registration: www.AAHPERD.comWorkshop: Topics in Teen NeurosciencePresenter: Char KamperApril 8-10Pennsylvania Annual Family and Consumer Science ConferencePittsburgh, PAInformation and Registration: www.pafcs.orgWorkshop: Relationship Skills Education: developing a cultural roadmap (though the jungle)Presenter: Irene VarleyMay 18-20Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention ConferenceInformation and registration: http://www.appcnc.org/Greensboro, NCWorkshop: Love NotesPresenter: Jessica Pool


Need a Speaker? The Dibble Institute can customize a keynote, plenary, or workshop to meet the individual needs of your organization. Our presentations are interactive, high-paced and exciting!Simply let us know what you are trying to accomplish and we will do our best to get you there.For more information, please contact Irene Varley, Director of Education, at 614-204-7574 (M-F, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Eastern Time).


About The Dibble InstituteFounded in 1996, The Dibble Institute (TDI) is a private, nonprofit organization created to promote relationship skills training for youth, with a special focus on dating and romantic interactions.Our goal is to help young people gain the skills and knowledge essential for healthy relationships now, and in the future. Some of our activities include:

  • Raising awareness of the needs for and benefits of helping young people learn the skills needed to navigate their romantic lives;
  • Developing and distributing teaching materials designed for use in schools and a wide variety of other settings,
  • Educating opinion leaders and policy makers;
  • Training teachers and youth instructors;
  • Consulting on effective implementation strategies and grant application approaches, and
  • Serving as a clearinghouse to collect and disseminate timely and relevant research and other evidence of the benefits of youth relationship education.

TDI programs are used in all 50 states and around the world in thousands of schools, youth agencies, and other youth programs impacting tens of thousands of young people. We are funded primarily by the sales of our educational materials and training programs. For more information, please visit www.DibbleInstitute.org.©2009 The Dibble Institute – Phone: 1-800-695-7975