Of all the hair-raising yet rewarding experiences of raising a teenager, one of the most difficult is letting your teen learn to drive.
That’s right, drive! It’s kind of a terrifying thought at times, the thought of that inexperienced kid behind the wheel of a car at 70 miles per hour– or, heck, even at 30 miles per hour. The understanding of how quickly a normal driving situation can become life-or-death suddenly hits home for the parent, while the teen is rolling his or her eyes and saying everything will be fine. So what can you do to make those early driving years the safest?
Choose the Right Vehicle
One mistake many well-meaning (and well-off) parents make is to purchase a sporty car outright for their child. However, this has a couple of drawbacks. First, a sporty or fancy first car, combined with the excitement of freedom and driving privileges, can go to even the most conscientious teenager’s head. The vehicle will seem meant for fast driving, slick maneuvering, and showing off! The second drawback is that the car was not earned, but was merely given. Most people take better care of items that they have earned themselves; gifts have a tendency to be taken for granted after awhile. So consider choosing a somewhat ordinary vehicle with your teen, and even creating a payment plan so that your teen “earns” his or her car.
Set Boundaries from the Start
Many teenagers are unaware of the potential for trouble that comes with the freedom to drive alone. Don’t wait until a situation arises that you, the parent, don’t feel comfortable with to set limits. Deciding when, where, and with whom your teen can drive is best done at the beginning, after plenty of thought about the possible consequences for each boundary. In this way, hurt feelings and anxiety for everyone involved are kept to a minimum, and attempts to break the rules can be firmly dealt with, if necessary, because the rules were clear from the start. The last thing you want to do for your child is search for the number of a DWI attorney in Saratoga Springs, NY!
Raising teens is challenging but intensely rewarding As children mature into adults, their personalities shine more than ever before, revealing their senses of humor, talents, and quirks as never before– along with their insecurities, faults, and weaknesses. Don’t forget to embrace this time, even as (gulp!) they get behind the wheel!