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Talking to Kids

A Mercator magazine interview with a Catholic mother who used to be a CBS television producer. She offers a battle plan for raising kids in a culture often at odds with the values we want to teach. Helpful links to resources.

Family meetings ( or “chats”) can help reduce conflicts, teach problem-solving skills, and give everyone a voice.

Kids are more likely to listen to us—about sex or anything else—if they feel listened to.

Values—sexual and otherwise—are transmitted in large part through face-to-face conversation. Screens can greatly diminish this crucial conversation.

To increase meaningful family conversation, try these 20 conversation starters. Check out the Family Dinner Project for other prompts.

by Linda Noble

This blog post offers parents and mentors some practical solutions to the unintentional and problematic popular Christian teaching surrounding marriage, sex, sexual purity and single celibacy.

20 tested ways to create a schoolwide culture of kindness and respect.  In this approach, “respect” is defined as respectful behavior toward every person, not “correct attitudes,” because a truly inclusive respect for diversity includes respect for diverse moral and religious conscience.

A half-century of childrearing research finds that “authoritative parenting”—a balanced combination of love, authority, and reasoning—predicts the best outcomes.

Talk Sex with Teens

STAN WEED AND THOMAS LICKONA (PDF; Chapter in M. Kenny, Editor, Sex Education, a 2014 international handbook).

An in-depth analysis of the rival approaches and conclude there is stronger evidence supporting abstinence/risk avoidance education.

A 16-year-old girl told her mother that she and her boyfriend “love each other” and want to express that by having sex.

What could this mother have said?\

Article from Peabody Journal of Education: The damage done by the sexual revolution; evidence of abstinence programs that work.

For parents, teachers, counselors, and young people themselves: why to wait (and why some kids don’t).

20 tested ways to create a schoolwide culture of kindness and respect.  In this approach, “respect” is defined as respectful behavior toward every person, not “correct attitudes,” because a truly inclusive respect for diversity includes respect for diverse moral and religious conscience.


For an overview of cutting-edge approaches to character education, browse this user-friendly, full-color report on our College Center’s 2-year study of 24 diverse, award-winning high schools in every region of the country. The report provides clear, concrete examples of more than 100 promising practices, organized around 8 character assets that contribute to a flourishing life: (1) critical thinker; (2) diligent and capable performer; (3) socially and emotionally skilled person; (4) ethical thinker; (5) respectful and responsible moral agent; (6) self-disciplined person pursuing a healthy lifestyle (including premarital sexual abstinence); (7) contributing community member and democratic citizen; and (8) spiritual person crafting a life of noble purpose. The conceptual framework and school and classroom practices emerging from this study have since been used by high schools and also adapted by middle and elementary schools.

Most young people still dream of being happily married someday—of finding someone they’d like to share their life with.
But before getting romantically involved with someone, see how they do on this 20-question character test.

How to explain why the ultimate intimacy belongs in the ultimate commitment—and signs that more young people are delaying sex.

Chastity is “sexual goodness.” From a common-sense perspective, it means making ethically good sexual decisions, ones that do not put self or others at risk.

From a faith perspective, chastity means using  the gift of our sexuality according to God’s plan (it’s for marriage—a teaching shared by the major world religions).

In practice, common sense and a faith perspective both lead to the same conclusion: Don’t gamble with each other’s health, heart, and happiness—or

with the welfare of a child you might bring into the world. True love waits.

These two chapters, from the book Sex, Love and You (Tom & Judy Lickona, with William Boudreau, M.D.), describe how to form and maintain chaste romantic relationships—and find true love.

Here are various ways to assess whether your character education efforts are making a difference. 

Sex & Marriage

Good questions bring out the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of another person and help us get to know them.

Sex & Theology

Miss Wendy Shalit spoke at Hillsdale College on November 15, 2000. The following is an excerpt of her presentation, which she delivered in Phillips Auditorium at a seminar sponsored by the College’s Center for Constructive Alternatives.


(3 min. read)

A 2023 national survey finds that more than 7 in 10 American adolescents say they have watched Internet pornography. How can families and schools protect kids from porn’s toxic influences?

Dr. Thomas Lickona is a developmental psychologist who has spent his career helping families and schools foster good character in young people. He is education professor emeritus at the State University of New York at Cortland and founding director of its Center for the 4th and 5th Rs—Respect and Responsibility ( His books for parents and teachers includeRaising Good Children, Educating for Character, and, with his wife Judy, a book for teens, Sex, Love, and You: Making the Right Decision.