Let me start by telling you that this blog was inspired by my friend’s daughter who recently got her driver’s license. I was thinking about the Fourth of July coming up and I was making a mental note about explaining the importance of the day to my son. I wanted to explain to my son how lucky we are and how we should appreciate the freedom and independence we have. It dawned on me how a driver’s license is the epitome of independence and freedom to a driving 17 year old.
Every year millions of people look at their calendars anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Fourth of July. July 4th is the day when we celebrate the independence of our country with BBQ’s and sparklers. We pack the car with kids and cooler chests and head off to beaches and lakes to enjoy a day with our family. We bask in the sun and enjoy a day off from work and later watch as a fireworks show lights up the sky. We celebrate the independence of our country and reflect on how lucky we are to have such wonderful freedoms.
In most states we celebrate our 17th birthday with a new found independence. When we meet our great states requirements – usually the passing of written and practical driving tests – you are issued your biggest freedom to date – your driver’s license! While the driver’s license is one of the greatest privileges bestowed upon a teenager, you must remember that although you may not have to ask Mom for rides to the mall or Dad to take you to a friend’s house across town, you still have to get your parent’s to loan you their car!
BuyAutoTruckAccessories.com is committed to not only outfitting your ride with the latest and greatest in the aftermarket industry, but we are also dedicated to educating parents on how to keep their teenagers safe amongst their new found freedoms. First, and foremost, honesty works. If you are honest with your children you can expect them to be honest with you. Tell your son or daughter what your expectations are. Do you expect that your teenager will maintain a part-time job to pay for insurance, gas, oil changes, and repairs? Is there a curfew that you expect your teen to keep? Does your daughter or son need to keep up certain grades in order to borrow the family car? Is he or she only allowed to drive in within certain areas of town? How many of your teen’s friends are allowed in the car while your child is driving? Discuss with your child the consequences of not keeping these commitments and how it may impact their driving privileges in the future.
Keeping an open dialogue with the young adult in your family is paramount. Although some of the topics that you may talk to your children with may be uncomfortable, they may also save their life. Stress to your child how important it is that they wear their seatbelt and that every passenger in their car also be buckled. Don’t be afraid to share a newspaper article with them showing how a local teenager was killed while texting. Make sure that you or another family member buys your teenager a blue tooth for a 17th birthday present - hands free is the way to be! Discuss the effects of alcohol on someone who is driving. Let your teen know that they may end up dead or that they may end up killing someone else. Let your son or daughter know to call you if they’ve been drinking and they can trust you to pick them up without confrontation. Promise your teen there will not be a discussion about the evening’s events until everyone has had a chance to sleep. Don’t lecture to your son or daughter, don’t talk at your children, talk with them. Give your teen ample opportunity to ask questions and to tell their stories. It is as important to listen to your child as it is to talk to them. Most importantly, a friend once told me never to depend on someone else to educate your child – that’s your responsibility.
So while we are celebrating the 4th this year and thinking about the wonderful freedoms and independence of our country, let’s also take time to speak with our children. No one can argue that children are this world’s most precious commodity and we lose far too many to senseless accidents that involve a lack of seatbelts, texting, and drinking to name just a few. As a parent you should take pride in the new driver of your family – you raised a great young adult. But remember, the job is far from done. Continue to press upon your teen the importance of being a responsible driver and always remember to listen when they are speaking to you.
Wishing you a Safe and Happy 4th of July!!