The teenage years are a difficult time for every parent. After all, your children aren’t just growing up; they’re becoming aggressive about gaining their independence. Having spent the first decade caring for all their needs, the rebellious phase of teenagers can throw many parents about how to act. You can see that they are still immature and not ready for the real world, but they are adamant about becoming adults anyway.
You need to allow them to test the waters, and one of the most fundamental ways you can do this is with a car. Having a license means they are allowed to drive, but you will want to use these tips to encourage your teen to be safe out on the road and to be more responsible about the car, and elsewhere in their lives:
Put Them in Charge of Maintenance
Rather than taking over and bringing in the car to get its oil changed or tires replaced, have your teen do it. They don’t have to pay for it, but they should be responsible for making an appointment, going to the best tire shops, garage, or mechanic in the area, and then picking it up again when the job is done.
Not only is this a good way to instill responsibility in your teen, but it’s also good life practice for when they move out and need to handle these tasks on their own. You may need to supervise certain things, like watching while they make the appointment, but after that, letting them handle the rest is a great way to teach them and make them care more for the vehicle in question.
Get Their Name on a Bill
Ideally, you will actually help them finance a vehicle of their own. Not only will this make the car entirely their responsibility, but you can also help them bump up their credit score and learn financial responsibility right out of the gate.
If you don’t have the funds to help them buy their own car, and your teen doesn’t have the funds, then they will need to share your vehicle if possible. To help them stay responsible, you will want to get their name on a bill. For example, you can both reduce the overall amount of car insurance by putting them on your vehicle, and also make them financially responsible for the additional cost.
Set Ground Rules
Very standard and fair ground rules will always need to be placed. If you are sharing the vehicle, then these are simple ones. You cannot use the car during certain times, or you need to ask before using it, or if you are going to use it, then you need to do errands while you are out. Other ground rules could include not driving it after 10pm (which some licenses do restrict, so it’s important to double-check). Simple, straightforward rules that are easy to follow are very important, but so too are consequences if these rules are not followed. Have both in place to encourage your teen to be more responsible.