Help! My Husband and I Don’t Agree on When It Is Appropriate to Give Our Child Access to a Cell Phone

BY: - 21 Mar '17 | Parenting

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Dear Dr. Buckingham,

My husband and I have different views about age appropriateness when it comes to the use of cell phones by our children.When is it appropriate to give a child access to your cell phone? What if one parent does not think the child will read his or her text messages? What if it makes his or her spouse uncomfortable?  Should an 11 or 12 year old have access and the code to a parent’s cell phone to play games on it?


Protective Mom


Dear Protective Mom,

The debate about when a child should use a cell phone has heated up recently. Many experts, like me, would probably agree that a child’s age is not as important as his maturity level or level of responsibility.

Giving a child access to a cell phone (and your cell phone in particular) should be done with a few things in mind.

First, you and your husband must be mindful of your child’s maturity level regarding the use of technology, especially a cell phone. Maturity is a subjective term, but often means that one has the ability to engage in discernment and decision making with good logic and judgment. Given this, I do not personally believe that an 11 or 12 year old is mature to handle the responsibility that comes with a cell phone.

In today’s world, technology opens the gateway to information that young children cannot process and comprehend. If you are concerned about your child reading your text messages, you probably should not send or receive inappropriate text messages.

You might be thinking, “I am Grown and Can Do As I Please with my phone.” While this is true, your child will also pick up on and model your communication patterns, wether it be through e-communication or in person.

I realize that cell phones have safety features that prevent linkage of certain information, but these features are just as good as the users. Remember that maturity and responsibility are learned.

Secondly, you and your husband must be mindful of developmental stages. As part of the child developmental phase, curiosity typically overrules maturity and logic. He or she will play games and probably search for other things as well. This will occur because impulse control does not fully develop until the mid-20s. We are curious beings and display our curiosity the most during childhood.

In my professional opinion, the best solution is to wait until you all expose your child to the cell phone lifestyle. Your child can play games on devices like computers and tablets. These devices can be monitored more closely than your cell phone.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

About the author

Dwayne Buckingham wrote 216 articles on this blog.

Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, author of Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and Unconditional Love: What Every Woman and Man Desires in a Relationship, is a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, life coach, relationship and resiliency expert, motivational speaker and corporate consultant. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Service, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. To learn more about Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham visit his website at


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Have We No Shame? 7 of the Craziest Things Parents Do When They’re Potty Training

BY: - 30 Mar '17 | Parenting

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I’ve been reading a lot of cute stores lately about all the funny things that kids say and do while they are being potty trained.  And when I think about my potty-training experiences, I can’t remember any of the funny things my kids said. But what I do remember is all the crazy and funny things that I did as a parent while potty training our four kids.

  1. Shopping for potties like you’re shopping for a new car.That’s right, my kids had to have the best, top-model potty — with all the bells and whistles.  My girls got princess potties that played music when a deposit was made.
  2. Celebrating poo! We cheered when our kids went pee-pee in the potty. We even had a “Pee-Pee in the Potty” song.  But  OMG…if “number 2” was done in the potty, then the celebration was taken up a notch.
  3. Wanting poo! That’s ridiculous right! Who wants that to happen? Potty training parents do…that’s who.  And now that I think back on it…it’s kind of crazy.
  4. Stalking our kids. Once I decided to replace their training pants with underwear, I stalked the kids.  I was looking for any indication that kids had to use the potty.  I was definitely on edge!
  5. Updating friends on social media. Again, thank goodness I did not have social media accounts back then. But, I have seen one or two parents in my stream make potty announcements. And I thought… TMI!
  6. Putting the potty in the kitchen.I was a work-from-home mom.  I drug that potty all around the house with me when I was juggling work and the kids.  But yeah…that was gross.
  7. Using a traveling potty.OK, so I might be the only person that has done this…. but my mini-van had its own potty. I found a portable potty online and that thing had a permanent spot in my van.  And it came in handy countless times. It was the best investment ever!

 I really wonder what our kids were thinking back then. They were probably thinking

Mommy has lost it…but I’m going to play along and sing and dance to the “Pee Pee in the Potty” song anyway.

Breakup with the Brush


Thank goodness I did not lose all of my senses at that time.  I kept it together enough to know that I had to keep a clean bathroom for my kids.  I was constantly cleaning in and around their potties.  My oldest daughter had this habit of laying on the floor beside her potty until she was ready to go.  So, you know I had to keep that bathroom clean.

Did you know that toilet bowls can contain millions of bacteria per square inch and some of it can remain, even after you’ve cleaned it with your toilet brush?[i] And what’s worse, when you flush the toilet, germs (i.e bacteria and viruses) can shoot up to 15 feet into the air.[ii]

Now that’s just nasty.

That’s why I’m so happy to have found the Clorox® ToiletWand® System.  It allows me to quickly clean my toilet with its disposable refill head that is already preloaded with Clorox® Toilet Bowl Cleaner (that kills 99.9% of germs.) I sure could have used this during my crazy potty training days. For some reason, I put the kids’ potty right next to the grown-up toilet.  In hindsight…that probably was not the best place to put it.


With the Clorox® ToiletWand® System, cleaning the toilet is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Simply click a refill head onto the wand, scrub to unleash the preloaded Clorox® Toilet Bowl Cleaner, then toss the head away.

It’s time to breakup with the toilet brush and get the Clorox® ToiletWand® System!

BMWK Parents – what are the craziest or funniest things that you found yourself doing while potty training ? Share with us in the comments below.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Clorox® I’ve partnered with them to spread the word about the Clorox® ToiletWand® System. All opinions are my own.



[ii] Source: Sean Kane, Here’s why you should always close the toilet lid when you flush, Tech Insider, March 24, 2016

About the author

Ronnie Tyler wrote 528 articles on this blog.

Ronnie Tyler is the co-creator of and co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing. The proud mom of 4 has been selected by Parenting Magazine as a Must-Read Mom and is one of Babble's Top 100 Mom Bloggers.


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