Cariño explores the effect parent-child relationships have on the sexual health and wellbeing of children and youth. The stories shared by families reveal a variety of perceptions and approaches to parent-child communication. A single mother and her teen son share their open system of communication and the importance and benefits of parent-child relationships are exposed and examined. Then a mother and father find an opportunity to openly discuss parent-child communication with health educators at a community health workshop. Cariño offers parents an opportunity to use the tools already within their power to support their children during their sexually formative years.  

We hope our film will be able to give parents insight on the positive impact of discussing sexuality from an assets-based perspective with youth and offer tools, resources and innovative ways to help their children development a strong sense of self-worth and feel empowered in their decision-making process by: 


  • Exploring the role culture and traditions play in the growth and development of parent-child relationships.
  • Highlighting how the relationship between parents and teens affects teen sexuality and sexual choices.
  • Supporting parent-to-parent dialogue to provide parents with the tools necessary to communicate effectively.

To learn more about the research that went into the making of this documentary, read the Review of Literature.

Discussion Guide*

    The discussion guide encourages parents to invite more opportunities for open dialogue with their children and their community's health educators about sexual health and wellbeing.


    • The assets of the parent and child relationship.
    • The role traditions play in communication.
    • The importance of sexual health communication.

    Discussion Questions

    What in the film stood out to you? Why?

    • Describe the ideas presented in the film that you have heard before.
      Describe the ideas presented in the film that were new to you.
      What tip about parent and child communication did you enjoy? Why?

    Angelica says: "We didn't communicate with my mother at all about sex. I started to learn about sex in school sex education. When I tried to explain to my mother that I knew what sex was she would say: "Well you better not do it". You know, we would have no conversation about it."

    • What were the conversations like with your parents regarding sexual health topics? How would you feel about those conversations?
    • As a child, what did you want to know from your parents regarding sexual health?
    • What do you think your children would like you to share with them about sexual health?
    • Why is it important for parents to communicate about sexual health with their children?

    Angelica says: "Because I was involved with the MIJA study, and it was all about sexual communication, I thought, I got this. When my son is at that age I will completely be 100% prepared to answer all and every question. But it wasn't that way. It was such a difficult process." 

    • What do you think of parent-child communication about sex?
    • What challenges do you experience when talking to your children about sex?
    • What are you and your children comfortable talking about?
    • What are some techniques you can imagine working to talk to your children about sex? What do you like about this technique?
    • What is your motivation to talk to your children about sex?


    Partner Organizations

    La Clinica de la Raza

    Since its beginnings as a single storefront operation in Oakland in 1971, La Clínica has grown into a sophisticated provider of primary health care and other services, with 29 sites spread across Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties. La Clínica delivers health care services in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner to most effectively address the needs of the diverse populations it serves. In 2011, La Clínica provided care to over 74,000 patients, amounting to 361,261 patient visits. With over forty-one years of experience serving the community, La Clínica is one of the largest community-based clinics in the state of California.

    San Lorenzo High School-Based Health Center

    The San Lorenzo High Health Center provides a free, safe and convenient place for students to receive the medical and mental health care they need to succeed in school and become productive members of their community.In addition, the San Lorenzo High Health Center offers many services to adults. Besides providing health services, the health center offers many non-medical services, such as college and career planning assistance, counseling and peer leadership opportunities One of our major goals is to create healthier communities by providing basic medical care, mental health services and health education to students, their families, and others in the community.


    Facts and Resources


    In 2009, 55% of sexually active Latino students reported using a condom the last time they had sex, and 14% of sexually active Latino students reported using birth control pills or Depo-Provera the last time they had sex.

    Teens often say that a primary reason why young people stay in unhealthy relationships is because their boyfriend or girlfriend is the one person they have who is always there for them.ón-de-los-jóvenes

    Latino teens say that parents most influence their decisions about dating and relationships. Even so, there seems to be a conversation disconnect between parents and teens. Although 80% of Latino parents say that they've had a helpful conversation about relationships, love, and sex with their teens, only 66% of Latino teens agree.ón-de-los-jóvenes

    Almost seven in ten (69%) sexually-experienced Latino teens wish they had waited longer to have sex.ón-de-los-jóvenes

    More than half (53%) of Latina teens get pregnant at least once before the age of 20.ón-de-los-jóvenes

    Two-thirds of guys (65%) who have talked to their parents about preventing pregnancy say it was helpful-unfortunately only slightly more than half (53%) report having had such conversations. Guys are more comfortable talking to their moms about their feelings (how to treat girls, their feelings about girls), but want to talk with their dads about sex and protection.

    More than three-quarters of Latino parents (77%) and more than six in ten Latino teens (64%) agree that when it comes to talking about sex, parents often don't know what to say, how to say it, or when to start the conversation.

    The overwhelming majority of Latino teens report that they have had a conversation with their parents about sex and what it takes to have a successful relationship. However, only about half of Latino teens say that their parents have spoken to them about contraception.



    The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

    The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy seeks to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families and, in particular, to help ensure that children are born into stable, two-parent families who are committed to and ready for the demanding task of raising the next generation.

    Advocates for Youth

    Established in 1980 as the Center for Population Options, Advocates for Youth champions efforts to help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health. Advocates believes it can best serve the field by boldly advocating for a more positive and realistic approach to adolescent sexual health.

    How to Start Talking with your Teen About Sex in 8 Easy Steps

    Statistically teens who talk with their parents openly about sex delay sexual practices up to five years longer than those who don't! It's never too late to start the conversation, and it can be easy as talking in the car, or while you are doing laundry. This is only a guide and not intended to replace personal, cultural or religious values about sexual activity. 

    Sopes Recipe
    Sopes are little golden discs made of masa harina, the flour used to prepare tortillas, with raised sides to cradle fillings like refried beans, cheese, lettuce and salsa. When you bite into them, the edges are light and crispy while the center of the sope is softer. These recipes are capable of inspiring parents to welcome the opportunity to cook and communicate with their children while having fun in the kitchen. The first includes chicken and the second is vegetarian.


    Meet the Filmmakers


    PALOMA COLOMBE was born and raised in the city of baguette, red wine and croissants. I love these three - though I could never get used to cheese. My first burrito (guacamole, no cheese) was appreciated in San Francisco's La Mission, where I moved in August 2011. I once asked for a quesadilla "without cheese" --the look I was then given makes me not ask twice. She studied at SF State as an exchange student and graduated from Paris 7 -University Paris Diderot in Arts, Cinema and Literature in June 2011. As an aspiring documentary filmmaker/producer, her masters are R. Depardon, C.Akerman and F. Wiseman, among others. If you're ever looking for her, you'll either find her practicing yoga, dancing at disco parties or taking photographs -she prefers film over digital so much- (

    CHRIS FERGUSON: Swimming from the warm waters of San Diego, Chris Ferguson, is a much like a fresh ceviche. Chris is cultured and his tastes vary with the seasons. Raw fish and shrimp with generous amounts of lime, salt and chiles are always a must. Like true ceviche lovers do, he lives for his morning glass of leftover leche de tigre after long nights of dancing. In the future, if he is not eating ceviche, you will catch Chris bicycle touring through your hometown and around the world.


    NILS NORSELL: Hailing from the modest, and some could say beautiful, town of Hemet, California, Nils decided to pursue a passion by moving to San Francisco and studying Cinema at San Francisco State University. Nils became highly fascinated in experimental and documentary film while at San Francisco State and aspires to further explore these art forms. He graduated in 2012. Along with his interest in filmmaking, Nils enjoys art in all its manifestations, ranging from music, photography, installation and everything in between. In his free time, he enjoys spending time outdoors, whether it be relaxing at the beach or Dolores Park to hiking at his favorite spots across California. Weekends generally consist of hanging out with friends, listening to records while enjoying a fine beverage and wandering around the lovely city of San Francisco. As a dish, Nils sees himself as a fresh and gourmet bagel sandwich. (With an Everything bagel and no tomato, of course.


    EMILY PARRISH : Emily Parrish is a photographer, editor, and art department lackey, and is best described by carrot cake: semi-sweet and almost wholesome:

    2 cups all purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    2 cups sugar
    1 1/4 cups canola oil (optional: replace up to half with applesauce)
    4 large eggs
    3-3 1/2 cups finely grated peeled carrots
    24 cupcake papers

    Whisk dry ingredients (except sugar) in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil (/applesauce) in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs one at a time. Add dry ingredients and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, and divide batter among cupcake molds, filling 3/4 of each. Bake cupcakes 14 to 18 minutes at 350 degrees.


    *The information on these pages is provided by the student film makers and does not represent an endorsement or verification of statements from the Health Equity Institute