This is a sponsored post for Cars.com. Thoughts and topic are my own
The third boy is 6 years away from driving while the older 2 have been driving a few years already. A teen learning to drive is about the most nerve wrecking of our parenting phases. It can be bittersweet as we fear them hitting the roads solo yet we now have an extra driver for errands and pick ups which is nice. Having taught 2 boys and eventually the third, I can look back and know that they not only survived the teen years, but survived driving through the teen years.
Drivers Ed teaches them the bulk of hat they need to know as drivers, but as parents we have to finish that off with a few rules and tips of our own before their first solo drive. Before this day even comes we have some tasks such as finding the best and safest cars for our teens. Cars.com has the Best of 2018 Car Awards to help you get a feel of what makes these the best cars to own right now. Here are 3 things to go over with them before their first solo drive!
Driving is a privilege NOT a right
We used this phrase from their practice drives to their solo drives. Driving is a privilege and NOT a right! It can easily be explained with less eye rolling from them if you help them visualize their expectations and consequences like this.
We would tell the boys our honest feelings, that we are very nervous and a bit scared letting them go. We assured them we love them “…and because we want to protect them handing over keys is like handing you the end of a rope. On one end is US and and the other end is YOU. YOU get so much slack to start off and as long as you obey curfew and rules, the slack will be there for you. But, as soon as you break the rules we get to pull in that slack. If it gets pulled in enough, we control both ends of that rope and you hand over the keys. Obey often and keep within the rules and we can let even more slack out giving you more freedom as time goes by.” This type of conversation is a great analogy for them and typically they should respond well if they understand why the rules are most important (because you love and protect them) and that there is a potential to earn more freedoms yet there is a point you may need the keys back for a bit.
Technology Is On Our Side
Before you think I am going to make your child feel like a prisoner of being watched and tracked by their every move, understand that we have the ability to track their every move! When the middle son began driving this technology was just coming out and we used it. The 2 important options you can use with your new driver are: tracking and online usage viewing from your cell providers app. Tracking is a great tool to not only feel comforted you know where your teen is but it is a great way to send them off with a constant reminder that driving is NOT a right but a privilege. I would never track your child without their knowledge and let them know you respect them enough to never do that without being transparent about it, however have rules up front if they turn their phones off at certain times to disrupt the tracking. No teen ever turns off their phone unless absolutely necessary so if it is 8pm and they are “out with friends” and their phone is off? Hmmmm?! Make sure they know you just pulled in a lot of slack on that driving rope and another incident means the keys are yours!
The second piece of technology is your cell providers app. Why? Here is how we used it when they were new drivers. It’s simple-when you set your rules the most imperative is distracted driving like no cell phones, crowded car or blaring music so they can concentrate on the roads. So when I knew my ‘bonus’ boys were (say) leaving their Mom’s house to drive to ours which was about a 20 minute drive, a little peek at the app once their arrival time is noted will show you if they sent a text or message during their drive time. There were those moments we got to pull in slack because they had no good excuse for the text sent outbound 10 minutes into their drive home?!
In helping the boys through drivers ed, I noticed something. Weather was a very short mention in the book. Please take the time if it is harsh weather to remind them about distance and stop time. Not to mention that the biggest concern for them needs to be OTHER drivers so they need to remember to keep their head up and stay alert for others who may be having issues and keep distant. Also, remind them to NOT get out of their car in trouble spots unless very necessary because if they had problems on that road then others will too and they are sitting ducks for a car coming along that loses control near your child standing in the way. It sounds like common sense, but remember their age and ability to think these things through in an instant are not as sharp as it is for us adults!
For more car buying and driving advise, visit Cars.com. It is so great to have these sites to guide us and make sure we have checked all our parental boxes before our teen hits the roads.