If your teenager has recently received a driver’s license or will soon, you’re probably feeling anxious about what’s ahead. Even if your teen is an exceptionally responsible person, driving is a major milestone. The amount of freedom it brings can sometimes cause teens to feel overeager. However, shifting your parenting strategy to match driving-related topics could be a big help.
Trust Your Teen When Warranted
Perhaps your teenager has always been very respectful of your authority and never gotten in significant trouble. In that case, you shouldn’t worry that everything will change once they get behind the wheel of a car. It can be easy to let your mind get the better of you and cause you to start thinking about the worst-case scenarios.
But, if your teenager is a generally well-behaved person and has been that way over a long-term basis, you should continue to give the trust that’s deserved. And, even if your teen has made some mistakes that make you wary to give trust, remember that they’ve hopefully learned from what happened and won’t repeat the same error or a similar one.
If you show your teen that trust exists, it should be easier for your new driver to have confidence about being out on the road. You can build trust with the teen by celebrating successes, not thinking about what might happen. Then, if you do need to take disciplinary action because of misbehavior, have an in-depth discussion about why what happened was wrong and is being punished.
Set Reasonable Limits
Throughout the time you’ve been a parent, you’ve probably created restrictions related to bedtimes, how late your kids can stay out on school nights, whether they can have sweets before dinner, and much more. You’ll need to do the same with your teenage driver.
For example, you might say that they can’t drive more than 10 miles away from home or have to be back by no later than 9 p.m. When you make these rules, always keep safety in mind. Making mobile phone usage off-limits when the car is turned on and insisting that your teen can never have more than one other person in the car at any given time are a couple of things that should reduce distractions.
You may also want to invest in technology that helps you ensure that your teen follows the set rules. Some apps give you alerts when a driver takes a car outside of a designated zone or drives over the speed limit.
Then, as your teen demonstrates the willingness to uphold your rules, consider appropriate times to loosen the restrictions. Doing that rewards your teen for good behavior and shows that you recognize the compliance with the set limits.
Let Your Teen Contribute to the Cost of the Car or Maintenance
It may be tempting to give your teenager a car as a gift, plus provide money for things like gas, oil changes, and other necessities. But, if you let your teen assume some of the financial responsibility for the vehicle, you’ll be helping them learn good spending habits that help them afford the things they need to get through life.
Keep on mind that there are some great auto loan solutions that allow people to get approved despite their credit history. Perhaps you could make an arrangement with your teen where you are the person who takes out the loan, but the teenager will transfer you a certain amount of money per month to cover part of the cost of your loan payment.
Auto loans open up the possibilities for cars that your family can afford, even if on a limited budget. It’s a good idea to see what your options are as you figure out the logistics of getting a car for your teen driver.
Being the parent of a teen driver isn’t always easy, but these tips should help you feel more relaxed while your kid gets behind-the-wheel experience. Soon, you’ll see that there are numerous to give support as your teen goes through this new experience.