Questions From Readers

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By Gregory Ramey, PhD, child psychologist at Dayton Children's and Dayton Daily News columnist

Edition: March 13, 2011 | Topic: Questions from readers

Have kids check their cell phones at the door when coming to a sleepover. Have kids check their cell phones at the door when coming to a sleepover.

Iím a divorced mom of a 9-year-old, and we are planning a family party for her birthday. When I asked my daughter what she wanted, she said the best present I could give her would be to allow her dad and his new wife to attend her party.

Iíve always had a good relationship with my ex-spouse, but this would be a very awkward situation for me and the other family members. Do you think I should go ahead and honor my daughterís request?

No. While her feelings are understandable, she should also be respectful of how difficult this would be for you. Her enjoyment should not come at the cost of a very unpleasant situation for you and others at the gathering.

Explain to your daughter that while you respect her feelings about wanting her dad at the party, she also needs to be sensitive to your thoughts on this matter. Childrenís wishes and feelings should not always take a priority over the needs of you and others.

My 11-year-old daughter is having a sleepover for her birthday and most of the kids, including my daughter, have cell phones. All they seem to do when they are together is spend time texting rather than interacting with each other. I find this rather annoying but it is very common among her peers.

Is it reasonable for me to limit their cell phone usage during the sleepover?

While texting can be enjoyable and entertaining, it can also be distracting and socially inappropriate. What a great message to tell kids that you would like them to have fun and interact with each other, rather than their phones. This is all about communicating and enforcing your values, rather than doing what is popular.
Hereís a great idea I recently heard about from a mom. On the invitations to the sleepover, the parent indicated that all cell phones would be placed in a basket near the door, to be picked up when the sleepover was over. Of course, kids could use their phones to reach their parents in an emergency, and parents were given a phone number to contact their children if needed.

My 2Ĺ-year-old does not seem to be developing normally. This is my first child, so perhaps I am over reacting in some ways. Iíve taken him to the doctor on several occasions, and he told me we should wait another six months before having my son evaluated. I donít understand why waiting is good to do

Contact your family doctor, and ask for a referral to a developmental pediatrician or a developmental psychologist. Competent and compassionate physicians are never threatened by seeking anotherís expert opinion. If your child does have any developmental problems, itís critical to identify and treat them early rather than waiting several months.

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Dr. Ramey Gregory Ramey, PhD, is a child psychologist and vice president for outpatient services at The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. For more of his columns, visit and join Dr. Ramey on facebook at

©2010 The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. Columns may be reproduced with the permission of Dayton Children's.


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