Getting Real With Shadra Bruce


The teenage years are wrought with challenges that parents have to come to terms with, but one of the biggest is teen driving. There is something terrifying, in my mind, about placing a teenager (we’re talking about someone whose frontal lobe has not yet finished developing; someone with impulse control) behind the wheel. Yet for all the obvious reasons to worry about your teen driving, they normally take driver’s ed and are required to spend time driving with you, so they get the skills.

No, what really worries me is the fact that a license equals freedom.

When you entrust your teenager with the keys to a vehicle –  yours or their own – the mom brain in me thinks of all the horrible things that can happen. Letting your teen have the freedom to drive is something that should be accompanied by a lot of communication and understanding.

Before your teenager ever leaves the house with their new privilege, there should be clear ground rules established, such as where they are permitted to go, who they can offer rides to, where they will be the entire time they are gone, and when they will be back – and that’s just for starters.

Driving is a privilege. It should only come with earned trust. It simply isn’t feasible or safe to allow your child to meander off in a car if you aren’t sure that they are being honest about their plans. The safety of your teen shouldn’t be compromised by a teen who (being a completely normal teen) will try to barter, wheedle, or badger out of you.

Driving is a privelege. If your teen has not earned the privilege, do yourself the favor of keeping the keys.