While your teenager may triumphantly celebrate the chance to start driving, you may have concerns about safety and inexperience. Expressing your feelings and setting clear expectations can encourage responsibility from your teenager.
A driving contract between you and your child provides a place for you to define ground rules. Within this agreement, you can also disclose consequences for non-compliant behavior.
Your teenager wants to know that you trust him or her to drive safely. Similarly, you want to trust your child to meet your expectations and refrain from irresponsible or illegal driving activities. A driving agreement allows both parties to clarify expectations. You can make a list of rules that your child must follow in order to retain the privilege of driving a family vehicle.
When your child minds your rules, he or she can avoid unwanted consequences. Your encouragement and praise for appropriate driving behaviors may improve your child’s confidence and willingness to follow the rules. With a mutual understanding and reciprocated respect, both you and your child may notice an improvement in trust.
Establish good habits
Driving requires vigilance and attentiveness. Even you may sometimes experience distractions that pull your attention away from driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some risk factors your teenage driver may encounter include the following:
- Driving in the dark
- Driving under the influence
- Driving too fast
- Driving while distracted
- Driving without a seatbelt
- Driver inexperience
Setting concrete consequences for participating in such behaviors may encourage your child to establish good driving habits. These positive behaviors, when developed at a young age, can have lifelong benefits for your child.
Periodically discussing the effectiveness of your driving agreement can help you verify that it continues to provide optimal benefit for you and your child.