Driving Can Help Teens Develop Responsible Habits

Is your child driving, or about to obtain a license? Parents often ask me what is appropriate in terms of financial responsibility for the new driver.
While some parents provide the vehicle, cover the insurance and pay for gas, this does not give the teenager any sense of the responsibility involved in owning and operating a vehicle.
If the vehicle is a necessity because the family lives in the country, and a car is required to get to school, university or lessons, then it is appropriate for the parents to make a greater contribution. However, if the car is simply a convenience, and is used for social activity, certainly the teen should be contributing to insurance and gas.
Ideally, the student would have a part time job with which to gain the earnings to cover this. If the student is a secondary driver on the parents’ car, then he or she could pay the extra required for this coverage. If the car is registered in the student’s name, then, of course, the insurance costs are much higher.
If the parents want the student to drive because it makes life more efficient – the student does errands or drives siblings – then there is an argument for sharing the costs.
If it is the student who is pushing to drive, and is using the car for social activities or to avoid taking the bus to school, it should not be assumed that parents are obliged to cover the costs.
Students who work part-time, keep up with school, drive conscientiously and assume the financial responsibility that comes with doing adult things are well on the road to becoming responsible, successful adults.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books, cds or MP3’s, visit www.gwen.ca. Follow Gwen on FaceBook for daily inspiration.