As a mom, you’re probably looking forward to various times in your child’s life as they gradually move toward adulthood. Those might include their first steps, when they tell you about their first crush, or when they get an A on a test. If they’re about to get their driver’s license, you might be proud of them, but you might have some trepidation too.
As an adult, you know your teen wanting to get their driver’s license is normal and natural. There is no reason to try and stop them from getting one. On the contrary: it might be you who teaches them how to drive.
Even as you’re doing it, though, you might think about things like car wrecks. You likely know that teens cause car accidents far more than older adults do. Because of this, you will probably want to have a serious conversation with your teen before they get their license and start driving on their own.
Here are a few things you might want to bring up as your teen reaches this important milestone.
They Should Never Drink or Do Drugs and Drive
It’s likely that you have talked to your teen about drinking and drug use. These are conversations that parents need to have as a child grows up. You might speak about your own experiences with these things, or you may explain your stance on these particular issues, so there is no uncertainty about your expectations.
When you throw driving into the mix, a little experimentation with alcohol or marijuana can turn deadly. You’d hate to think a situation might happen where your teen is liable for a T-bone collision, a head-on accident, or even something less serious, like a fender bender, because they decided to drive while impaired.
You should explain to them that you don’t want them drinking or using drugs, but if they do, they should never drive. You can tell them they can call you for a ride, or they can take an Uber home.
Make sure they know you will not be mad at them if they do this. Because impaired driving is so potentially dangerous, you have to stress that is one thing you don’t ever want them doing.
They Should Keep to the Speed Limit
Teenagers like to try to push the rules or even break them sometimes. This is also not uncommon or unnatural. It is a way they are testing society’s boundaries.
Unfortunately, teens also sometimes don’t think about what consequences their actions might have. This’s because their brains are not fully developed yet.
Speeding is a normal thing a teen might try to do, but it’s not safe at any age. Speeding on the highway is an easy way for an inexperienced driver to lose control of the car. Speeding through a residential neighborhood can turn tragic if your teen hits a cyclist, jogger, or beloved family dog.
Stress that you don’t want them to ever speed, under any circumstances. If you emphasize how serious you are about this, then hopefully, they won’t do it.
You Should Talk About Whether or Not You Can Get Them a Car
Some moms feel like they are in a position where they can get their teen a vehicle when they get their license. Maybe you think it makes sense for you to give your teenager your older car. You can get a new car if you have the money for it, while they can start driving to school or over to a friend’s house. This way, you won’t have to drive them around everywhere.
You will have to consider your financial situation. This is an option for some families but not others if money is tight.
Also, you should make this decision based on how responsible you feel your teen is. Some teenagers are a lot more trustworthy than others, and if you feel like your teen is not ready to have their own car yet, there is no reason to go out of your way to get them one.
Maybe you are willing to match the money they make working at a part-time job so they can get a used car. That might be a way to teach them responsibility, so this is not a bad idea to consider.
Talk to Them About Using the Car for Sexual Encounters
Most moms are not eager to talk to their teens about sex, but, like drugs, it’s something you should speak about with them. If you have a frank conversation with them about sex, it’s probably best you advise them to wait until they’re older. At the same time, you can’t watch them every moment of every day, so they might choose to experiment if they’re dating someone they like.
If this is happening, they might use a car for a make-out session if they know you’ll keep an eye on them if they come inside with their crush. You can make them keep the bedroom door open if they’re studying together in your house. It’s harder to know what they’re doing if you let your teen borrow the car.
It’s probably impossible to stop them from having sex if they’re dead set on doing so, and the car might be the place where it happens. If you don’t want your teen to do it, though, tell them so. If you’ve got a solid relationship with them, and they love and respect you, they might obey your wishes and take your advice.
If you feel that it’s likely they’re going to have sex, at the very least, tell them to use protection. That will likely prevent pregnancy and STDs.
A driver’s license means freedom for your teen, a gradual autonomy that will only increase as the years pass. As they get that license, you will probably feel all kinds of things, but you should talk to them about safety and your overall expectations.
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