Be Available To Your Child 24/7
When you finally hand the keys over to your teen, they’ll be thrilled with their new found freedom. That doesn’t mean they no longer need your help though.
Driving is dangerous and when you add in impairments like fatigue, drugs and alcohol, and rowdy passengers, the risk of a crash skyrockets. You can help by reassuring your teens that you are available to help anytime, day or night.
At some point, your child is going to be faced with a tough driving-related decision. A friend may not be OK to drive. Or your teen may feel too tired to drive home. Despite your best efforts, they may even be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
In any of these situations, you want your teen to feel comfortable to call you for help. Your picking them up at 3am may save their life, the life of a friend, or the lives of other drivers.
By encouraging your teen to do this, you are not giving them carte blanche to misbehave or use you as a cab service. You don’t want your teen to make a decision that could cost them their life because they were afraid you would yell and scream for calling during the middle of the night.
You should make it clear to your teen that their actions may have consequences, but that you’ll take into consideration the fact that they realized they were in no condition to drive. Making the decision to call you was the correct one. However, this shouldn’t absolve them of any wrong doing if they were drinking or abusing drugs.
It’s up to you, as a parent, to convince your teen that calling you for help is a better decision than taking the risk of driving impaired.
Experts encourage you to talk about this with your children years before they reach the legal driving age. Strong relationships forged at an early age prove to be beneficial when children reach their teenage years.
If a child knows from an early age that they can come to a parent for help at any time, regardless of what the situation may be, they will be more likely to continue doing so even into those trying teenage years.
If you happen to live in a larger city with readily available cab service, make sure your teenager leaves with enough cab fare to get home in case of an emergency. Many cab companies take debit and credit cards.
If you cannot afford a cell phone plan for every member of the household, let your teenager borrow the cell phone for the night in case of emergencies. Even an inactive cell phone can call 911.
Listening is one of the most important things to do when raising a teenager. Many teens feel their parents don’t understand them. Let them know that you just want the best for them and that you’re worried about them driving on their own. They may moan and groan, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t hear you.