I haven't posted here before. Today I found out that my 12 year old daughter has been carrying a secret around with her for nearly a year. We have blended families, and I have a stepson who is about the same age - this would have made them 11 at the time. She said that one night, he woke her up and asked her to 'make love' to him. She said he told he he had always had a crush on her. She didn't know what he was doing, think she was very confused, and that in her words 'they did it'. She says it only happened once, and I am sure she is telling the truth.
I have noticed for some time that she has been down, and have been trying to get something out of her. Today I just waited and waited. She started asking me questions like "mum, I heard about this brother and sister who had sex - what do you think about that?". I finally got it out of her. She is carrying all this shame, and didn't want to tell me because she thought I would be ashamed of her. She said she couldn't carry it any more and she just wanted to be normal. She hasn't told anyone in case they think she is a 'slut'. God, words like that from a 12 year old.
I told her I was very proud of her and that she had nothing to be guilty about. Upon further discussion, I don't think he got in very far. Does this go under 'doctors and nurses' as they were so young? I haven't had a chance to talk to him yet. As far as I know, he may be just as ashamed and confused as her. My partners kids lost their mum a while ago, and they are all still dealing with that too...
She is now smiling, after having unloaded this big secret, but has begged me not to tell anyone we know, especially her stepdad, who she thinks will be ashamed of her too -she loves him to bits. I have explained that she didn't do anything to be ashamed of, but I'm not sure what to do, or what approach I am to use with my stepson. I love them all so much, it's killing me that I didn't pick up what was wrong earlier. We have a lot of children between us, but that is no excuse. I feel like I failed them both.
Do I need to get counselling for them, or will this make things worse? What should I say or do? Really could use some advice..thanks for listening