Q&A: My Tween's Friend May Be Having Sex. Should I Tell Her Parents?

Teen parenting expert Rosalind Wiseman on whether to discuss rumors about a child's sexual experience with her family.

Q. My seventh grade daughter says another girl in her class is sexually active. The girl's mom is just an acquaintance, and I don't even know if the story is true. What do you advise?

A. Here's what I don't suggest: "Hi, Kathy, my daughter just came home and told me your daughter is hooking up with all the boys in the grade. Just thought you should know. Bye!"

Instead, ask your daughter who's the best counselor at school. Set up a meeting with that person and tell her what you've heard, saying, "I don't know how accurate this information is, but I figured there's a chance this girl may need some help." Tell your daughter why you're going, as in, "I'm making sure a professional is looking out for your classmate." And be very clear that she's not to gossip about any of this with her friends.

Originally published in the January 2010 issue of Family Covers magazine.