Thursday, January 15, 2015

Some Tips to Protect Your Teens

This story came up on my feedreader this past week and there were so many fails that it is really no wonder these teens died (although to be fair, many many kids do stupid stuff like this in their teenage years and live to recount their escapades decades later so there is that...).  Here's what should have happened which may have led to a different outcome:

  • At 18 years old, teens pretty much make their own decisions.  At 17 they are well on their way to doing what they want.  But the 14 year old?  She should have been home in bed, not partying all night with 18 year olds.  
  • Driving around at 3am is a bad idea for most everyone (the number of drunk drivers on the road at that time is staggering...pun not really intended but anyway...).
  • Even though intermediate driver license regulations are in place, mostly for 16 and 17 year olds, these limitations should be mandatory for anyone under 18.  No driving at night, no driving with other kids in the car...that reduces driver distractions exponentially.
  • Kids are going to find a way to party.  Even "good" kids.  But any adult who hosts or knows of such a party taking place at their home should insist that no one leaves until the next morning.  The only thing worse than aiding and abetting teen partying is doing so then letting the kids drive home afterwards.
  • Most parents give their kids a car with the happy thought that they will no longer need to chauffeur them around.  Rarely do parents think of the negative things that can happen when they give their kids a car.  When you provide your teenager a car, you need to realize that either your kid can get killed when driving and/or they can kill someone else when driving.  Rare, but it happens.  In this case, not only is the kid facing real prison time for vehicular homicide but the parents will probably be sued five ways from Sunday by the parents of the dead kids.  
  • The longer you can put off your teen's driving, the better.  In my generation, getting a license the moment you turned 16 was pretty much expected.  Fortunately our kids weren't really interested in driving until they were around 18.  Based on brain science, even 18 is a bit young for driving as the important parts of the brain necessary for driving aren't even fully developed until the mid 20s.
  • Being a good influence on your kids is important.  I saw the driver's dad's Facebook page and it was all about the awesomeness of marijuana.  Then a later article reported that the young driver was stoned on marijuana when he crashed.  Go figure...  Obviously event the most Puritanical parents can end up with messed up kids, but every bit of positive influence helps.
  • Lay down the law.  These days it seems that parents want to be friends with their kids.  Kids, however, have enough friends.  What they need are parents who aren't afraid to lay down the law and provide consequences for bad behaviour.  All kids are going to mess up occasionally but by providing rules and consequences for breaking the rules (starting at age 2, not when the kid starts going off the rails at 13), parents can nip a lot of bad behaviour in the bud before the kid gets too far out of hand.

No comments:

Post a Comment