My daughter is talking about lots of girls in her year having already had sex. She's in Year 10 and not yet 16. How should I react and should I be expecting her international school to do more to keep its students on the straight and narrow? My friends with children in high-band local schools say there's no such talk going on in their schools - why is there such a difference? Teen coach Jaime Simpson, of Teen Success, responds: You should feel encouraged that your daughter is open to talking to you about this. It shows she is very comfortable around you and still values your input about relationships. Many girls are already sexually active by Year 10 and it is important for parents not to react emotionally. The way to keep an open relationship is to respond with respect for her having the confidence to open up and talk. This will draw you closer together and show your daughter that she can talk to you about other issues too. The family rather than school should be the first contact for sex education. Many young people will remember more about what parents don't say about sex and relationships than what they learn in a biology textbook. Teenagers look to their parents and family to be mentors and guides or they will look elsewhere, such as movies, television and friends. Parents should be the primary educators because there are no general standards and values about sex and relationships. Most schools will teach about the biology of sex and the consequences but mainly will stick to facts without guidance. It is parents who should pass on values, as well as set boundaries as to the hours they allow their teenagers to spend out of the home and the homes they visit. Sex education needs to occur long before a student enters into a dating relationship or even before puberty - normally before a child enters secondary school. One of my teenage clients mentioned that they often have speakers come to her school. However, much that is said is cliched and she wonders if anyone listens. As for attitudes in local schools, my Chinese clients tell me that in their families sex is very much of a taboo topic. Parents leave it to books and biology lessons to educate their teens and to solve any problems. They say they talk among their closest friends but many would never tell their parents that others had sexual relations for fear of not being allowed to visit their friends. Some local clients mentioned sex is also very much an unmentionable topic in local schools. Beside the use of textbooks and biology lessons, they don't hear their teachers talk about it. Because no one at home or school is talking, they assume that they should also not talk. This can cause a lot problems as teenagers can grow up with incorrect ideas about sex, and feelings of guilt. We can make many other generalisations about why there is a difference, including the exposure to many popular television series and movies that international teens watch which may have sexual references - such as The OC, Desperate Housewives and North Shore - and also their high degree of freedom. Overall, it is up to parents to set boundaries and to take the lead in educating your teens about sex.