Most teens claim they already know everything. (Just ask them!) This can make it exceedingly difficult for parents to get anything new through to them. Not only must parents get their teens to absorb the new information, but also convince them that maybe, just maybe, parents actually know what they are talking about. It may not be easy, but talking to your teens about being safe drivers is incredibly important.
Step one is helping your teen realize that driving is a privilege, not a right. If they get to drive, it’s because you allow it. Let them know that you will only allow it if certain conditions are met. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 5 to Drive Safety Campaign is a good starting point for laying down driving guidelines.
- No cell phone use or texting while driving
- No extra passengers
- No speeding
- No alcohol
- No driving or riding without a seat belt
It’s also a great idea to sit down with your teen and come up with some specific guidelines, in the form of a Parent-Teen Driving Contract. Once all issues have been discussed, you and your teen can sign the contract. This contract enables you to lay down the rules, along with the consequences of breaking those rules.
Remember, don’t rely solely on a driver’s education class to teach your teen to drive. They need your guidance and experience to become a safe driver. You are more influential in your teen’s life than you realize.