Here in the United States, age 16 has long been an eagerly anticipated milestone, largely because teens are eligible to get a driver’s license at age 16. In the minds of many teens, age 16 = driver’s license = increased independence. In the minds of many parents, age 16 = increased insurance costs and anxiety regarding their child’s safety.
In fact, fewer teens are getting drivers’ licenses at age 16. According to an article published on Wired.com, just 71% of high school seniors have a driver’s license; that’s the lowest percentage in decades. Societal changes account for the decline: the prevalence of ride-sharing services such as Lyft & Uber means that many teens don’t need to drive to get from one place to another, and social media now allows teens to socialize without leaving home. Economic challenges are a factor as well: 36% of non-driving teens cite “overall cost” as a contributing issue.
Whether your teen gets a driver’s license or not age 16 is a big deal. It’s a step toward independence, and time to talk about responsible decision making.
In this episode, Janet & Jen discuss:
- Learning to drive as a rite of passage
- The importance of following your son’s lead (Some are ready to drive at age 16; some have no desire)
- How to tell if your son is ready to drive
- How to set limits and guidelines that fit your son
- Why parents may not be the best driving instructors for their children
- How to talk to kids about the risks & responsibilities of driving (Hint: sharing scary stats does not work.)
- How graduated driver’s licenses help teens build experience
- The role of role-modeling (Don’t want your teen to text & drive? Don’t text and drive!)
- The cost of driving — how parents & kids can share the expense
- Things to consider when purchasing/helping your son purchase a car
Links we mentioned (or should have) in Episode 154:
How to Intervene When Life Gives Your Grown Son a Lemon — article mentioned by Jen at about 20:00
Parent-Teen Driving Contract — template created by the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control
Street Survival driving school — driving school mentioned by Janet at 10:02
Age 16 & Learning to Let Go – blog post about what happened after Jen’s son got his license