Dear Amy:

Last Saturday night my husband and I went out for dinner. When we came home around 9:30, my daughter had some friends over.

I found out that during the course of the time that we were gone my daughter and her friends all had their bathing suit tops off. There were eight kids at our house -- three boys and the rest were girls.

My daughter and her friends are 14 and 15 years old.

I have a rule that boys cannot be over when I am not home. Obviously, that rule was broken. But more upsetting is that these girls did not see what they did as wrong or that it could lead to other things.

My husband was not concerned, saying that they are going to experiment. I have a trust issue now. I have not told these girls' parents yet and do not know if I should.

I found out about this because another mother heard her daughter talking to a friend about what happened at my house.

I tried talking to my daughter about the ramifications, but it was like talking to a brick wall.

She just said she would never do that again, which I do not believe.

Perplexed in Jericho, N.Y.

The fact that you and your husband are not presenting a united front about this is what allows your daughter to stonewall you. For girls, a lot of their feelings about their bodies and their sexuality come from the messages they receive from their dads. Your husband is partially right -- kids do experiment. But when kids experiment, it is up to the adults in their lives to explain our values and viewpoints. Girls, especially, need to be told that their bodies are not intended for the prurient enjoyment of 14-year-old boys. Unfortunately, they are surrounded by messages that tell them just the opposite.

That's where the parents come in. These days it is more important than ever to demonstrate to kids (boys and girls) that if they don't respect themselves and their own privacy, no one else will.

Of course you MUST contact all of these other parents (including the parents of the boys) to tell them what happened in your home.

Because your daughter showed such questionable judgment, you and your husband are not going to be going out to dinner without her anytime soon, right? You're going to have to dismantle her brick wall, brick by brick -- not by being punitive (because I don't think that would work), but by spending a lot of time with her and teaching her how young women who respect themselves should behave.

You might want to give your daughter the book "Deal With It! A Whole New Approach to Your Body, Brain, and Life as a Gurl," by Esther Drill, Heather McDonald and Rebecca Odes (1999, Pocket). This frank and funny book will give your daughter the information you and your husband seem unable to convey.

Dear Amy:

A few months ago an ex "love of my life" e-mailed me after eight years of no contact. I was shocked. We have been communicating via e-mail ever since. He is married now and living in another state, doesn't have children and says he is happy. He has told me how much he loved me and was sorry that he left me, and how much he misses me and wants to see me.

He hasn't told his wife that we have reconnected. I think he is just trying to make peace with the past. My girlfriends, however, think that if he were all that happily married he wouldn't be contacting me.

Why would a happily married man contact an ex-girlfriend?

The One Before the One

A "happily married man" would contact an ex to flirt, feel good about himself, reconnect with his youth and try to turn back the clock.

An "unhappily married man" would contact you to give himself the courage to either cheat on or leave his wife.

Do not allow yourself to be drawn into his reindeer games. Unless he is eager to introduce you to his wife and invite you over to the house for dinner, he is playing a silly, predictable game, which will turn into an emotional, soul-sucking, colossal waste of time for you.

But don't take my word for it -- call his bluff.

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