Having a teen driver can be extremely stressful on a parent. To the teen the words “driver’s license” sound like freedom, while to the parent they sound like a disaster waiting to happen. Understandably you’re worried, and you might wonder how you can lay down some ground rules with your teenager. One way to do that is by creating a parent-teen driving contract. Here are a few tips.
What’s a parent-teen driver contract?
A parent-teen driving contract is an agreement between the parental units and the teenager about the guidelines of the teen’s use of the car. There have to be some rules and expectations, and a driving contract explains all of those things clearly. It’s an agreement between the parent and the teen. There are a lot of things that need to be discussed and worked out before the teen in question gets their drivers license. And having a signed agreement can establish these things.
5 tips for creating a parent-teen driving contract.
1. Remember to convey the seriousness of driving.
The point of having the contract is to convey that driving is a big deal. It’s a privilege, and a pretty serious one at that. The contract shows that driving needs to be taken extremely seriously. It also goes over the consequences of breaking any of the rules outlined in the signed agreement, so that can impress the seriousness of the situation on the new driver. Driving needs to be done safely.
2. Set out rules and expectations for driving.
Like we mentioned earlier, it’s important to lay down some rules when it comes to driving. The contract is a way to establish the boundaries and the rules. Plus the consequences of not heeding the rules. Now, the purpose of all of this is safety, not just rules for rules sake. Your teen needs to understand that. The guidelines laid out need to encourage your teen to make good choices.
(And then, of course, you’ve got to make sure to enforce the rules and stick to the consequences outlined in the contract.)
3. Talk everything over and have both parties sign.
It’s also important to go over everything with your teenager so everyone is on the same page. Discuss what’s reasonable and what’s fair. Then everyone should sign on it to seal the agreement. There needs to be an open conversation between all parties in the parent-teen driving contract to make sure everyone’s in agreement.
4. Don’t forget to include the important stuff.
There are a lot of important things to include in your driving contract. It ought to include relevant laws and the other rules you’ve established. Here are some questions the contract should answer:
- What is the teenager’s driving curfew? (State law might dictate this.)
- Where is the teen allowed to drive?
- What’s the stance on distracted driving? (Namely – don’t do it and it won’t be tolerated.)
- What happens if the teen gets a ticket?
- What happens if the teen drinks?
- How many passengers is the teen allowed to drive? (State law might dictate this.)
- What happens if the contract is broken?
Anyways, these are some of the areas the driving contract should cover. Remember to take State laws into consideration. And again, remember to talk over everything together.
5. Remember that you can adjust the rules.
It’s also worth mentioning that these rules outlined in the teen driving contract can be adjusted as time goes by. Well, not the rules defined by State law. But other rules, like where the teen can drive, might be up for discussion as your teenager gets more time behind the wheel and they earn more trust. As your teenager gets more driving experience and prove that they can be trusted, some of the “parent” rules can be relaxed a bit.
Creating a parent-teen driving contract is one way you can set some boundaries and rules for your teen as they start their driving career. It’s important that everyone is on the same page with the guidelines. Make it clear that you are supportive and encouraging, but you want your teen to be safe. They need to spread their wings, but they need to be safe about driving.
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