Parents and teens naturally experience conflict as the teen matures into a young adult. It is part of the tension that naturally occurs as the teen sets childish things behind and reaches ahead toward responsibility. Enmeshed in this turbulent time are the first years of driving--as if it is not hard enough just watching your kids grow up.
Here are the top 10 reasons parents don't want their kids to drive:
1. Driving is dangerous. Small mistakes while driving can have big consequences--life changing consequences. Parents want to protect their children from these consequences.
2. Kids don't drive. Allowing a teen to get a driver's license forces the parent to admit that their baby is growing up. Childish innocence is giving way to adult responsibility and the baby will soon leave the house to start a new family.
3. A teens driving record is a reflection of the parent's driving and teaching skills. Tickets and moving violations on the teen's record reflect negatively on the parent.
4. Parents are liable for teen driving mistakes. Many teens do not understand the weight of responsibility they assume when they drive. The cost of a collision could exceed insurance coverage, thereby putting the family household at risk.
5. Less control. Most parents exercise control over their kids to protect them. Some parents exercise control to guide their kids down a particular career path. Regardless of the motivation, the freedom a teen obtains by driving inevitably results in less control for the parents.
6. Insurance rate increase. Insurance premiums for teens are much higher than for adults because teens have less experience on the road. Insurance rates will go up approximately $100.00 per month for a teen driver. As a side note: most insurance companies no longer differentiate between male and female teen drivers with regards to insurance premiums.
7. Parents feel older. If the child has aged 16 years, then the parent must have aged 16 years too.
8. A precursor to major expenses. The driver license heralds other major expenses that the parent will be asked to help with; to include a car and possibly a college education.
9. Late nights. Not only are parents getting older, but now they will have to stay up later to make sure their independent teenagers get home safely. They may have to start taking naps in the middle of the day.
10. Grey hair. Yep, if they don't have grey hair before the teen starts driving, they are sure to after the teen gets a license.
Ok, I admit, I could only come up with 6 serious reasons parents do now want their teens to get a license and all of them have to do with protecting the teen or the family. A parent's job is more than protection; however, and the parent must balance protection with preparation. The fact is, in most states a young adult over 18 can get a permit and a license in a very short time frame with no formal training at all.
Driving is a vital skill in our culture. Parents, your teen will most likely get a license with or without your help. Teaching your teen to drive safely yields benefits for you, the teen, and society as a whole. As a rule, I encourage parents to help their teen get a permit as early as practical for your family situation and then make sure that your teen gets at least a year of practice before getting a license. The promise of a license can be a great incentive for better grades and better behavior.
If the teen is unable to demonstrate the maturity and responsibility needed to possess a license, keep the teen on a permit until you see evidence of maturity or as long as you can.