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Many parents are left wondering whether they should allow their children to get a car of their own or if they should maybe help their children get a car. The following will explore a few things that you might want to consider.
When your children are at the age when they want to explore more of the world, when they want to be able to get themselves from one location to another without having to deal with your schedule, when they want a job that they’ll need a drive to every other day, it can get overwhelming. They still seem so young, but they’re growing up and need more independence to continue developing.
You Know Your Child
While your teen has been more private as of late, you still probably know them better than anyone else. Despite how black and white laws make things seem, there’s not some magical age where a kid becomes a responsible adult. Your child might be emotionally and mentally ready for a car; they might not be. This is part of the decision that no one can make but you. It can get easy to read too many parenting books and posts and not focus on your teen as an individual with strengths and weaknesses.
It is worth noting that your child’s friend group is a big part of how the outcome of this decision will affect your child. If he or she is constantly left out because everyone else has a vehicle or goes places where you can’t drive your child, this will have an impact on them. Humans are pack animals, and so belonging is a big part of being well-adjusted.
If you do decide to allow your child to move ahead with finding a car (or you want to find one for them), you might want to brush up on what makes a vehicle trustworthy. Think about how well-maintained the options are, as you don’t want your child having to deal with a vehicle that is going to cause them trouble.
You also want to think about the safety features and how well a particular vehicle does in safety tests when buying a new car. Of course, your teen will likely have a preference for aesthetic reasons, but the trustworthiness of the car needs to come first. It is particularly important to note that older cars tend to be harder to maneuver.
Teens have a bad reputation that is likely unfair but is something everyone has to deal with. When it comes to making insurance decisions, prepare yourself. Insurance is one of the few industries where all-out discrimination is still allowed. Adding a child to your own policy is going to be expensive, as is getting a new policy specifically for your teen. You might want to discuss the cost with your child so that they understand the full consequences of driving. You may even want them to pay a portion themselves if they have a job.
Make sure you stress the consequences that could occur if your child gets caught doing something they shouldn’t be by law enforcement. For example, if they have too many demerit points on their license due to risky driving behaviours, they could get their license suspended. Demerit points stay on your license for up to two years and accumulate with each driving infraction. They could avoid the need for SR22 insurance, which comes with high fees, restrictions, and long wait times, if they pay attention to the road, slow down, and drive sober.
Have A Serious Talk About Intoxication And Texting
The truth is that most teens are extremely careful when they begin driving. They don’t look at their phone; they refuse to have a hot drink to distract them—most of them still keep two hands on the wheel at all times. This being said, if kids are afraid of getting in trouble, they might try to keep their activities secret, and part of this could involve intoxicated driving. You need to make it clear that your kid can still call you for a ride, no matter what, if they don’t feel capable of driving. If they’re tired, emotional because they’ve just had a breakup, or intoxicated, they need to be able to ask you for help.
If the weather is bad, they need to be able to ask you to pick them up. And finally, it is of the utmost importance that you talk to them about the chemical addiction that is cell phones. Every notification, like, share, and comment creates a dopamine release in the brain when looked at. This means that everyone (even parents) is slowly becoming addicted to their phones. Talk to your teen about ways they can resist or eliminate the temptation to look at their phone while driving. This can save lives.
The above considerations are important parts of your child getting their first vehicle. It’s worth noting that this might be an incredibly emotional time for you. You might want to reach out and speak your mind to a trusted friend about your worries and that sting that comes with your child taking one more step away from you.