Use of the family car marks another area in life involving separation of older children from their parents. The issue of the car can involve many scenarios:
- Using it for an evening out with friends, or to drive to work.
- Taking a trip away from home for an overnight or longer. This may involve out of state travel.
- Older children may want their own car. I wonder if this so because it might be embarrassing to ride the school bus?
All of this assumes an older teen has passed their driving instruction course work and has gotten a license. Each of these scenarios is different and may require different ways for parents to address these issues with their growing children. Responsible behavior and maturity are important things that need to be considered here.
Maturity is an important factor in all of the above scenarios; but more needs to be expected of a teen when it comes to out of state travel or purchasing their own car. First, I think that the use of the car apart from parents needs to link up with finding part-time work. If teens are going to use the car on a regular basis for going to work or social evenings, they (teens) should cover those expenses. They need to commit to no use of alcohol or drugs when they drive. If the need for a car is not that frequent, perhaps getting a job can be delayed for a short time, but it will need to be addressed.
To be mature and responsible means:
- Being able to take direction.
- Being able to follow the rules.
- Being consistent in the commitment/promises teens make to their parents.
- Being able to take responsibility for one’s behavior
As for a teen having their own car, I am not a big fan of parents buying a car for their older kid. It seems pretty simple to me. One gets a job, saves money, and buys a used car. Kids may still be carried on their parents’ auto insurance policy, but the increase premium cost, and car maintenance costs need to be paid by the new car owner. Until then, kids just need to ride the bus to school.
For an older teen to take the car for overnight travel and possibly out of state, they need to demonstrate maturity and responsibility over time in how they drive (i.e. obeying the traffic laws with no tickets if possible), and living within the parameters they have worked out with their parents in the use of the car. Finally, an older teen needs to hold down a steady job before they can take the car on an out-of-state trip for a few days. However, if someone has gotten to the point that he or she has bought their own car and is responsible for taking car of it, this would seem to be a good indicator of maturity and an ability to handle a longer, out-of-state trip.
So what happens if or when the above things are not in place? I will pick up on this next week.
Blessed Feast of Theophany to you all!
The unworthy +Paul