DEAR DEIDRE: I CAUGHT my 11-year-old daughter naked in bed with her best female friend.
The girl, 12, was over for a playdate and my wife asked me to get them down for dinner.
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When I walked into the bedroom, where they were supposed to be doing homework, I was horrified to find them kissing and touching each other.
Her mum and I, both 43, didn’t know how to handle this situation.
We sent the other girl home and told her parents what had happened.
At first, they didn’t believe us and then said it must be my daughter’s fault.
Now they’ve said their daughter won’t be allowed to play with her again. They’re even talking about changing her school.
My daughter is dreadfully upset at the loss of her best friend.
She’s very young, and doesn’t understand the implications of what’s happened.
She won’t talk about it. I wonder if the other child coerced her into it.
We don’t want to punish her for experimenting, but feel what she did is inappropriate.
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We’re not sure if this is normal behaviour, or if she might be gay.
Should we try to get help for her?
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DEIDRE SAYS: Sexual experimentation is a normal part of a child’s development and most children play exploratory sexual games.
It doesn’t mean your daughter is gay, or that she’s been abused.
If you have concerns, talk to the NSPCC in confidence (nspcc.org.uk, 0808 800 500).
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There is also information on their website about children’s sexual development.
You and your wife should try talking to your daughter again gently, making it clear she’s not in trouble, but that you want to help.
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