Your kids have heard it before, of course: don’t drive drunk. Don’t text while driving. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. How can you convince your kids that parental advice is really worth listening to?
Believe it or not, the idea of a total DUI arrest or a car crash may seem less relevant than a conversation with the parents. Why? Those events seem abstract to an adolescent in the present moment. And, kids actually do listen to their parents.
Talking to your child about how driving is a privilege, and the risks involved, may help them understand the potential danger. Discussing the relationship between alcohol and driving, before your child begins drinking at parties, can help prevent reckless behavior.
Make your own rules and expectations clear. Your teenager should not talk on the phone while driving, of course, and he or she should always wear a seatbelt. You may also want to consider whether your child can drive his or her friends in the car. The presence of other adolescents in the car greatly increases the risk of an accident.
If you’re not sure what to say to your new driver, just be straightforward and honest. Explain to your teenager why your supervision is necessary, and why you’re concerned. Carefully let your child know that the consequences of careless driving can ruin or end lives.
Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. Your role as a parent is essential. Do your best to have honest, heart-to-heart conversations about driving with your teenager, and be a good role model. In other words: drive carefully and attentively!