Talking To Your Teen

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Parent/Teen Contracts

Some parents opt to enter into driving "contracts" with their teens, with certain expectations about safety and driving behavior (such as number of passengers, cell phone use, etc.). Regardless of approach, what's most important is that parents make sure teens understand their expectations and understand the consequences if those expectations are not met.

Download Contract Form: You can use this parent/teen contract form to create a driving contract with your son or daughter.

Incentives

Some parents also choose to offer incentives to reward or encourage good driving behavior. In one case, a parent offered his teenage son a post-dated check in the amount of $1,500. If the son made it to his 18th birthday without any violations or accidents, he could cash the check.

Set an Example

Remember, regardless of what you say to your teens, how you drive probably has more impact. Like it or not, they take their cues from observing your behavior. So try to curtail any bad habits you may have acquired over the years, like speeding or tailgating.

Set ground rules for the road

  • Limit the number of passengers in the car. As the number of passengers increases, so does the likelihood of loud music, laughter, food and other distractions that can make it difficult for your teen to focus on driving. Also reinforce that each passenger must wear a safety belt at all times.
  • Limit the time of day your teen can drive. Your teen may be looking forward to getting behind the wheel to take friends out on a Friday or Saturday night, but weekend nights can be the most dangerous times for teens to be driving. Setting a curfew for your teen can help keep them off the road during these times.
  • Limit where your teen can drive. Based on where you live and the activities your teen is involved in, you will need to decide the distance and time it is reasonable for your teen to drive. You may set a limit on the number of miles or hours your teen can drive each day, or how far away from home he or she is allowed to drive.

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