Newsletter: April 2004

Building Relationship Skills NewsletterApril 2004Dear Friends,Many news articles have been written lately about Marline Pearson and her Love U2® program. We thought we’d send a short one your way.Here’s the update on Love U2®: Getting Smarter about Relationships, Sex, Babies and Marriage:

Relationship Smarts is currently available for purchase.Becoming Sex Smart is currently in production.

The other two units (Baby Smarts and Communication Smarts) will all be available this summer, 2004. We will send e-newsletters when each one becomes available for purchase. For more information about the program, please visit our web page at and keep up the good work with kids and teens!Best,Kay ReedPresidentThe Dibble Institute for Marriage Education

Trying to Teach Kids about Love, Sex, and Protecting the Heartby Susan ReimerThe Baltimore SunMarch 7, 2004MARLINE PEARSON wants to change the way we teach kids about sex.At a point in the culture wars where the abstinence-only people and the safe-sex people cannot speak to each other, Pearson offers a provocative alternative:Let’s talk about protecting the human heart.Instead of simply urging kids to wait to have sex until they are married, the Wisconsin educator wants to teach kids how to make that marriage work.And instead of demonstrating how to use a condom and showing grisly pictures of what can happen if you don’t, Pearson wants to help kids form a vision of what a meaningful relationship looks like.To that end, she has developed a curriculum called Love U2®: Getting Smarter about Relationships, Sex, Babies and Marriage.It is what she uses in her classes at Madison Area Technical College, but she says that can be late in the game to be talking to young people about smart relationships.It should be part of high school health curriculums and parts of it could be taught in middle school, too, she says.”I’ve seen too many times how troubled and unstable relationships can undo the gains young people have made in education, employment, and in their lives,” she said at a recent press conference in Washington, D.C.”We help with everything – housing, GEDs, drugs, food, parenting classes, child care, transportation – only to see it all come apart when they get into a bad relationship.””We already know the factors and patterns linked to bad relationships,” she said. “We don’t have to wait for the damage to occur and then mop up.”Pearson said she would take her skills-based approach to relationships into the high schools, and below, because our children aren’t born knowing how to sustain a good relationship – and some children never see one in their own homes or neighborhoods.Relationship skills are what is missing in sex education, she said.”We teach young people about sex, but very little about its context – relationships.”Both abstinence-only programs and comprehensive sex education courses fail to provide young people, and especially girls, what Pearson calls a “North Star for their intimate lives.”There is no vision, she says, for good love, meaningful sex, commitment, marriage or the importance of fathers and marriage to children.She would teach sex in its emotional and social context.”We need to help teens think through what they want sex to mean, to be aware of the steps of physical involvement and what each step means for their heart, not just their health, then to establish their own boundaries and personal policies on sex.”That is a tall order in today’s soulless hook-up culture, where sex is about as special as a phone call. Sex has become something kids just do. It has no romantic meaning, but it still has an emotional price, especially for girls.And it may have a human price, too, if a pregnancy results. Pearson would also teach what 30 years of social science has learned: marriage matters to children.Not only do children fare better in households where there are two parents and they are married, but children who are dragged in and out of relationships by a single parent have the worst outcome of any children.Teens need to learn how to make emotional connections, how to keep good relationships moving forward and how to get out of bad ones because it is clear to Pearson that many of the choices they make as teen-agers are the same choices they will make as adults.”We can’t teach sex as if it stands alone. We have to help these kids put meaning and emotion back into sex,” said Pearson.Then we also have to show them how to protect their hearts from that meaning, and that emotion.”We need to help the next generation do better.For more details on Marline Pearson’s curriculum Love U2®, including a sample lesson, go (c) 2004, The Baltimore SunLink to the article:,0,482877.column?coll=bal-features-columnistsThe Dibble Institute for Marriage Education is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping young people learn skills which enable successful relationships and marriages. We serve as a nationwide advocate and resource for youth marriage education and publish materials which help teach relationship skills.If you are interested in viewing sample lessons, current research, links to relevant websites and a variety of relationship skills educational resources, please visit our website at Dibble Institute evaluates youth relationships skills resources and selects the best ones based on a variety of learning modes. In this way, our resources listed on our website are the very best of today’s youth relationships skills educational materials. There are a number of ways to purchase these materials: call or order on-line with a credit card; print an order form from our website to mail with a check; or fax a purchase order. To expedite your order, please use the credit card or fax options. Materials are delivered within 1-2 weeks. If you do not receive your ordered materials within three weeks, please call ore-mail us and we will contact you with the status of your order.The Dibble Institute is non-religious and non-political. Our activities are funded through sales of educational materials and services and through support from foundations, corporations and individuals. If you are interested in making a donation, please call us at (800) 695-7975.This is a moderated list. Replies are read by Rebecca L. Brooks, The Dibble Institute’s Director of Educational Services. If we believe your reply may be helpful to the recipients of this e-newsletter, we may paste (& edit for space) your reply and send it. Therefore, please indicate if your response is NOT to be shared with the list.This e-newsletter shares information on youth relationships and educational approaches. The Dibble Institute does not necessarily share the opinions expressed; they are shared for knowledge of happenings within the field.The Dibble Institute for Marriage EducationKay Reed, PresidentP.O. Box 7881Berkeley, Ca. 94707-0881(800) 695-7975(510) 528-1956 USE NOTICE: This e-newsletter often contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of youth relationships, marriage, education, legislation, etc. We understand this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of such material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educationalpurposes. 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