DEAR HARRIETTE: My neighbor was going off about how he's not going to buy his fifth-grade daughter a cellphone because he thinks it's ridiculous for a child that young to have one. We were riding up in the elevator with him -- we, meaning my fourth-grade daughter and I. We just listened. It wasn't a time to say anything. He was just blowing off steam. But it was awkward because my daughter has a cellphone. It has limited functionality, but she has one because we thought it was a safety option we wanted for our only child with two parents working.
My daughter wanted to talk about it, saying she felt sorry for the other girl because her father sounded so strict. She wasn't quite sure how to take the whole conversation. I want to give her context. How can I do that without passing judgment anywhere? -- The Blasted Cellphone, Detroit
DEAR THE BLASTED CELLPHONE: First, remember why you gave your daughter a phone so young and evaluate whether you stand by your reasons. If so, continue. Talk to your daughter and remind her of the reasons you chose to give her a phone. Remind her of the importance of being responsible for knowing where it is and how to use it. Then tell her that every family is different. This is why we listen sometimes when people speak rather than make comments. That family has not made the same choice as yours. No need to bring that up to them. Live your life.