This book by a lawyer turned educator is a manual for parents concerned about their child’s development of values. Michael Parker makes every effort in this short book to cover any issue that a parent might want to consider in discussions with their child about an ethical approach to life and living.

The book includes guidelines for 109 “conversations” between children and youth and their parents. The conversations cover diverse questions. The topics run the gamut from “What is cheating at school?” (Page 32) to “Is torture ever okay?” (Page 88)

As well as chapters on specific topics such as those mentioned above, Parker also includes conversations focusing on the work of such philosophers as Plato and Aristotle. A third kind of conversation includes ten topics meant to help a young person develop their capacity to consider the ethics of a problem.

The wide range of topics covered means that this can be a valuable reference for a parent wondering how to discuss various thorny issues with their teen. However, the best part of this guide is the Introduction. Parker’s discussion of children’s and teens’ development of values is very insightful. He reminds the reader of the need for discussion of values with youth and helps parents understand how patience and asking questions can foster a youth’s development.

(Note: I read the 2012 Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc. edition of this book.)

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