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Teens and Driving
A Parents Definition of a Mixed Blessing

young teen driverRemember when you were little you wanted the Barbie Jeep or the Hot Wheels Racer to speed down your street and make all your friends drool?

Although it seems different when your children grow into teenagers and want to drive... it usually isn't. The only difference is that now it is a Jeep Grand Cherokee or Cadillac Escalade that is on your child's wish list.

For some parents, allowing their teens to drive is not an easy decision. Teenagers are just learning about responsibility. Graduating high school is difficult enough, some parents say, without having to worry about paying for a car and everything that goes with it.

Scheduling conflicts might be resolved if your teen could drive because it would alleviate the stress of running around town. Perhaps your teen wants to get a job and it would be impossible to get your teen to work if you are still at work yourself.

Learning road safety & responsibility

Many factors like these and others should be included when trying to reach a compromise. Parents should consider the safety issues involved. Research car reviews online to find out more about the car of your child's dreams. Does it rank high in safety and hold up in the crash tests? The local department of motor vehicles in your area has tons of statistics that will be helpful as well.

Call some auto insurance companies and ask for a quote. Some parents split the cost of the insurance with the new driver. This helps teach responsibility and teen money management so that the full brunt of the cost is not only on the parents.

Setting the ground rules

first carBeing involved in your teen's life as much as possible is a great way to make sure he or she stays safe. Giving opportunities to drive will be valuable lessons for you and your child. Set a time for the two of you to drive together somewhere. If you need to run an errand, take the passenger seat.

Getting to know your child's friends and who might be riding in the car is important. Set limits that will not be negotiated. Allow only one friend to ride at a time and stick to a driving schedule. Some parents only let their children drive to school or to work, not both.

Remember that driving a car is a privilege and not a right. If grades start to fall or behavior is less than desirable, revoke the privilege. Make sure to follow through with any punishments or restrictions that are placed. That might mean sacrificing on your part since it comes in handy for your teen to run to the store while you cook dinner. If you give in when it is convenient for you and not when you originally agreed, the wrong lesson will be learned.

Although parents should hold the reigns, parenting is not about wielding power on a whim or controlling your child. Teaching that actions do have consequences... and there is no way around them, is a valuable lesson that everyone should learn.

Many families are faced with this decision daily and survive! It is a huge milestone that changes life for all involved. Parents discover an entirely new realm of worry and teenagers a newfound freedom. Life changes are difficult at best to adjust to. Chalk this one up to one for the road!

More about teaching your kids to drive around the Web:

Teen - Chock full of tips for new drivers including instructions on parallel parking, driving in bad weather, plus related advice on buying a used car, advice on auto insurance, with related resources and suggested reading.

How to Crash Proof Your Teenager - guide in 5 parts including advice on safety, laying down ground rules, how to find the best driver's ed program, and related tips.

Teaching Your Teen to Drive - Extensive guides from State Farm Insurance with tips for parents and teens including related facts and driving laws by state.


About the Author...
Katrina Cramer-Diaz is a working mom with a background in education and plenty of experience in parenting. She lives in Virginia with her four children.


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