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Beyond the Birds and the Bees
Your Child, Sex and Mental Illness
NAMI MN State Conference 2014
Amy Moeller, LISCW , Emily Scribner-O’Pray, BA and Anne Estling, CMA
Laying the groundwork
Video:The Talk
The Talk - YPC
Activity: What kind of sexuality
education did you have?
From the right person,
with the right
information at the right
From the wrong,
person, with the
wrong information at
the wrong time?
Or not at all?
Guiding Principals
Sexuality is a natural and healthy part of being human
Knowledge is helpful, not harmful
Every parent wants what is best for their children
Our cultural, family and individual values, histories and experiences
impact our beliefs and behaviors regarding sex, sexuality and
• All children deserve to live free of sexual violence
• The sexual images, messages, information and disinformation in
media and popular culture impact our beliefs and behaviors regarding
sex, sexuality and relationships
• Parents are the primary sexuality educators of their children
Why teach kids about sex?
• We give kids messages about sex whether
we work at it or not. Where? When? Who?
• How it happens matters
• People deserve to know
• Talking about sex helps create a trusting
and supportive relationship between
children and parents.
Activity: Messages
If you could pass on just one or two
messages to your child about healthy
sexuality, what would they be? (One or two
sentences at most)
Write down your message on the piece of
paper provided.
Tips for Talking
• Tone matters! As Maya Angelou says, “People may
not remember what we say to them, but they will
remember how we say it.”
• Many smaller talks are far more helpful than one
big talk.
• Spend time together. Use “teachable moments”.
(The media provides us with many of these!)
• It’s normal to be nervous and it’s okay to not have
all of the answers.
• Don’t forget to talk about relationships.
• Respect their privacy.
Tips for talking
• Be honest and give truthful answers that are
developmentally appropriate.
• Listen more than talk. Ask your child or teen about
their perspective.
• Be calm. Tell them that you are glad they are
talking to you.
• Remember – the goal isn’t to prevent sexuality.
You can’t.
• Have a sense of humor!
• Children and teens care what you think, and want
to know what your values are.
Special Considerations:
Mental Illness
Hyper sexuality
Impulse control
Difficulty understanding/respecting boundaries
Increased risk-taking
Sexual versus Behavioral
What do you wish someone
had told you about sex?
• Real Life Real Talk - Syracuse
Contact Us
Amy Moeller, Family Enhancement Center/Children’s Hospitals and
Emily Scribner-O’Pray, Hennepin County
Anne Estling, MyHealth for Teens and Young Adults

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