Nobody said raising a teenager would be easy. If you’re co-parenting with your ex, there are probably tense and challenging moments at times.
Here are some tips to co-parenting and keeping your teen driver safe:
Before You Hand Over the Keys
When your teen gets their license, it’s a huge rite of passage for you and your teen. You’ll no longer be your teen’s chauffeur.
Now, your teenager will have the freedom and responsibility to get to where they need to go. While this is an exciting time, it can also be a little nerve-wracking for parents.
Before you had over the keys to your teen, make sure you and your ex sit down (preferably with your teen) and discuss your expectations. If possible, talk to your ex before you schedule a sit-down meeting and make sure you agree on driving expectations like curfew and other related driving privileges.
Don’t Try to Be the “Good” Parent
Some divorced couples find it easier to co-parent than others. When you’re enforcing driving rules with your teen, it’s important neither you or your ex are trying to be the “good” parent (i.e. permissive, relaxed and fun).
Once you’ve shared your expectations, consistency is crucial.
Sign a Pledge
In efforts to make their teens more responsible and safe drivers, many parents create a parent-teen driving agreement with their teen and they sign it together. This is a good way to make sure you, your ex and your teen stick to the plan.
An agreement also ensures there’s no gray area about rules behind the wheel.
Stick to Your State’s Laws
While you should always consider and follow the laws for teen drivers, refreshing your knowledge of the rules of the road can help settle and avoid an unnecessary argument.
Always Discuss the Dangers of Driving
When you and your ex are speaking to your teen about driving expectations, avoiding getting into “Scared Straight” mode. However, it’s important to discuss some of the biggest dangers. Teen drivers, due to their inexperience, are the most at-risk drivers on the road.
They are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors behind the wheel. Distracted driving, drunk driving, and lack of seat belt use are some of the biggest factors in roadway fatalities which could have otherwise been prevented.
In addition to telling your teen how to be a safe driver, you and your ex need to model safe driving behavior, too. Even though teen drivers are often at risk and inexperienced, their safety on the road starts with responsible parent drivers.
Not driving with passengers, advanced route planning and playing the music low are some of the tips parents can use to keep their teen driver safe.