DEAR ABBY: I am very worried about my 12-year-old daughter, "Carrie." She's in seventh grade. The other night, I came across a letter she was writing to a girlfriend from school. It said, "I have 'Frenched' with him twice in the hallway.'" I was shocked! After taking a little while to get it together, I calmly asked Carrie about it. She refused to explain.
Abby, this is a girl who wanted (and got) a Barbie Talking Dream House for Christmas! How can she be French- kissing anyone?
Carrie and I have always been close, but now I realize she has confided in me less and less over the last several months. As she's gotten older, I'm afraid I don't know who she is anymore.
Her father and I are separated. He is currently enrolled in a 28-day alcohol recovery program. Carrie has not had much of a relationship with him for a couple of years now. I know that you are going to suggest counseling, and I am not opposed to that. However, my real question is, how do I convince my daughter to go? I know she'll fight it, and I hate the idea of forcing her to do anything. -- WORRIED AND CONFUSED MOM IN DELAWARE
DEAR MOM: If you haven't already done so, it is time for you to have a frank mother-daughter talk with your daughter about sex, and the responsibilities that go with it. Children are maturing faster than ever, and Carrie is right on schedule. There are many books for parents and teens on this important subject.
After you have done that, family counseling will improve your level of communication. As long as she knows the counseling isn't being aimed solely at her, she'll be less likely to object. As a member of the family, Carrie should be included.