- By Jana Rhodes
- Posted March 20, 2015
Talking Safety and Responsibility with Your Teen Driver (FREE Download!)
The time has come – your teen is ready to drive. And it seems like only yesterday she was taking her first steps. Where did the time go?
As with any parenting milestone, watching your child enter this new stage of independence comes with its share of emotions. You’re probably feeling a classic combination of pride, fear, and maybe a little joy when you realize you now have another able body in the house to help run your errands. (Enjoy that part, you’ve earned it!)
But let’s face it – this is still your baby we’re talking about. As parents, we will always remember that rush of emotion we felt when our little ones cautiously toddled into our arms for the first time – so exciting to witness, yet we couldn’t help feel just the tiniest bit sad, realizing how fast they grow. Oh, and then there was that other feeling – that, “Oh, boy… she’s on the move, we’re in for it now!” feeling.
Helping your teen start to drive brings that “Oh, boy!” feeling to a whole new level. Because this time, they’re not toddling to you, they’re driving away – and you can’t always be by their side.
What you can do is work closely with your teen as he or she gains driving experience. Continue to teach and talk with your child about his or her driving skills even after they’ve received their license. Having regular conversations about safety and responsibility is key.
At MOTOsafety, our mission is to provide families with tools to help coach teen drivers to develop safe driving habits from the start. Our MOTOsafety Daily Driver Report Card (part of the MOTOsafety Teen Driving Coach program) is one tool designed to help foster communication between parents and new teen drivers.
Here is another helpful tool for parents of new teen drivers that you can download and use for FREE, whether or not you are a MOTOsafety subscriber:
Free Download: Teen Driver Contract
A formal teen driver agreement helps parents establish a clear set of rules and expectations, while the ‘contract’ format further reinforces that driving is a privilege that comes with real-world, adult responsibilities.
Before asking your son or daughter to sign the driving contract, take some time to talk about the specific rules and why they’re all important. It is also a good idea to discuss and agree on the types of consequences your teen will face, should he or she break any of the contract’s “terms.”
Lastly, address how you will respond if your teen reaches out to you in compliance with any of the contract terms (i.e., if she feels she is unable to safely operate the vehicle for any reason). Will you agree to be available to pick-up your teen any time they need help? What if your teen calls home for a ride because, admittedly, she has made a poor choice involving alcohol? It may not be your favorite possible scenario, or even a likely one, but opening the door to these kinds of conversations now just might prevent your child from endangering herself or others, should a worst-case scenario occur.
Be sure to let your new driver know that you take this agreement seriously and that you TRUST them to do the same. Help your son or daughter understand that a driving agreement isn’t intended as a form of punishment and that this is still a fun and exciting time. Celebrate this milestone with them. And of course, remind them how much you love them and how proud you are of the responsible young adult they are becoming (even if they will always be your baby).
Learn more about how MOTOsafety can help you work with your teen to keep them safe and focused behind the wheel.
We’re here to help. Have a comment or question for us? We’d love to talk to you. Contact Us
The MOTOsafety Teen Driving Coach was developed by parents, for parents.