Few words strike as much fear into the hearts of teenage children’s parents as “Can I take the car keys?”
Letting your recently qualified child loose in a vehicle that has the potential to kill them and others is no easy proposition. Yet most kids return fine most of the time. Instead of flat out refusing, and risking that they travel in the vehicle of an equally inexperienced classmate, consider helping them stay safe.
This does not mean sitting in the passenger seat and barking instructions. Accompanying them now and then is wise, but kids need their freedom, and you do not want to spend your nights hanging around with a bunch of adolescents in the mall car park.
You decide when to lend them the car
Sometimes it is best to say no. No, there is too much risk someone tempts you to drink, no, your friends will distract you when driving, or no, you do not have the experience to make that trip yet.
Sometimes it is best to add conditions
Yes, you can take the car, but you need to be back by 10. Or yes, but you can only carry one other person.
Sometimes they may lose their privileges
If your child has driven after drinking or while using their phone, refuse to lend them the car for a while. They need to learn that some things are never acceptable.
Set a good example
It will be much easier to persuade your child to drive carefully if you do the same.
If you can show you encourage your child to drive safely, it can help fight the ageist assumption that they were at fault in a crash.