photo by nanamarie
He's got a permit. Gulp. She passed the driver's test. Two gulps. They're on the road. Double by-pass. Listen, there's no way around it. One day they are going to drive. Yep, your baby, on the highway with the rest of America. For the moms that are living with new drivers, we all feel for you (and will be there soon enough). But worrying incessantly (which won't stop anyway) is not enough to keep them safe.
One anonymous mom of a new driver wants to know how to cope. Well, the best thing you can do for yourself--and for your driving teen--is to make driving safety an ongoing (everyday, if necessary) conversation. I really like how mom salexander put it: "Set rules and limitations. Start slow, don't let her drive at night or with loads of friends in her car-- that sort of thing. Tell her with time comes experience, and you will loosen the leash. I can see her eyes rolling in her head as you tell her for the 12th million time "a car is not a toy but a two-ton weapon," but say it anyway. I had my kids call when they were leaving and when they arrived for a short period of time and I felt better. Share in her excitement and good luck!"
One other thing you can do is to make the consequences of irresponsible driving clear from the outset. Sure, remind them that if they're caught speeding, texting or heaven forbid, drinking while driving, they lose their privileges. Period. But also let them see articles like this one (A 22-year-old was court-ordered to wear an "I was stupid" sign after driving drunk and crashing into a garage), and encourage them to check out helpful sites like teendriving.com. If you're up for it, even make them read articles about the horror stories of teens who were careless on the road. In the case of grooming new drivers, scare tactics seem like fair game. Let us know how you handled the new driver in your house.