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Should my 10-year-old have a cell phone?

Question

I’m recently divorced and ex-wife insists on giving a smart phone to our 10-year-old daughter for Christmas. My daughter doesn’t have the maturity or self-control to handle internet access.

Do you think kids that age really need a cell phone?

Answer

The issue isn’t whether your daughter needs a cell phone at her age. She doesn’t.  The question is how you resolve such disagreements. You’ve got to figure out how to communicate and compromise for the sake of your daughter. How you resolve this issue will set the tone for future parenting challenges.

Be cautious in your discussions with your ex-spouse. Avoid name calling or bringing up past hurts. Imagine yourself in a business situation, where you are looking for a win for both sides. Maybe a cell phone without internet access may be reasonable.

Question

I was very sad to read your article about “statutory rape”.  You mixed up two words. Rape is sex without consent. A child is not the same as adolescent.

A 13 or 14 year adolescent can be tried as an adult for crimes. They are old enough to babysit and be completely in charge of another human being, and old enough to enjoy love and sex.   A human being that has reached puberty has a right to their own sexuality as they determine it.

I assume you had little or no sexual experience as a teenager and that your lifestyle as an adolescent, however barren and empty it was, is an ideal you need to justify to feel superior because the opposite sex rejected you.

Answer

You have no understanding of the vulnerability of teens if you think that adults should readily engage in sex with a “willing” 13-year-old! The research is clear that such sexual relations often result in harmful effects for these adolescents, which is why our laws try to protect young adults. Kids engaging in these “consensual” sexual activities are easily manipulated and need our protection.

Question

My preteen daughter screams at me and tells me she hates me. I’m wondering if this is just her age, or if something else is going on. My daughter seems to have a perfect life with lots of attention from me and her dad.

Answer

Irrespective of whether something is bothering your child, you need to set limits on your daughter’s inappropriate behavior.  Make certain that she understands that yelling at you is never acceptable.  Specify a clear penalty (e.g., restriction of privileges, TV, etc.), and consistently enforce that expectation.

Kids with emotional problems typically exhibit a variety of symptoms such as decreased school performance, lack of interest in social activities, and problems getting along with others. If you have seen any negative changes in her behavior, then it may be helpful to have her speak with a counselor.

 

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