“Ask Amy” Q&A for parents of tweens and teens
Parent: My son recently got his drivers license. The law says he can drive with one other person in the car under the age of 18, and no more. None of the other kids are following this rule. It bothers me because I understand that distraction is the cause of many teen accidents.
Amy: This is a sore spot for me, as well. What we have to remember is that driving a car is a privilege rather than a birth-right for a teenager. I think our drivers need to know that we expect them to follow the rule, for the safety of themselves and their friends and because they signed the paper saying they would follow this law. When and if we find out they have been driving with more than one other under 18 kid, we need to take the keys. And we keep them until we feel confident they understand that we are very serious about respecting the rule. If we have a zero tolerance approach for this one, they will expect that we have the same for texting, drinking, drugs, and just goofing around while driving a car.
Something else that is helpful is to find the other parents who agree with holding their kids accountable when it comes to driving and keep tabs for each other when the kids are in cars. You will feel stronger when you have other parents to support you and they will feel the same.
Parent: My 11 year old daughter begs me for things whenever we are out shopping. She also begs for things she sees while looking on-line. I am so tired of arguing with her about this and sometimes I cave in just to stop the begging! I know this is so wrong but am not sure how to change the situation.
Amy: I think a great way to stop this is to give her an allowance, weekly or monthly. Let it be generous enough that you need only take care of her needs. Then, anytime she wants something extra, like all of the things she generally begs for, let her know she is welcome to purchase it with her money. At first, she will moan and graon about the new system. But don’t argue and don’t give in. Just repeat something like, “you are welcome to buy that with your money.” In the long run, this will not only save you from a begging daughter but will teach her much about managing money.
Send your questions regarding parenting tweens and teens to firstname.lastname@example.org.