This is an excellent guest post written by Donna Fitzgerald. She reached out to St. Louis Dad in hopes of spreading valuable texting and driving information. I asked her if she would be open to write up a guest post for the site and she agreed. Read her story below!
Today I wanted to share some of my troubles as a mother raising two difficult teenage daughters. As mostly all that are reading can imagine/relate, dealing with the hormonal changes, and bratty behaviors that accompany raising a teenage son or daughter can often be extremely challenging. I wanted to make a change in my daughter’s lives. I’m sure most will disagree with handing their child a car when they are first able to drive, but I wanted my daughter to grow up in a different manner than I did. I remember struggling to save all my money up to purchase my first car. I never had parents support, or even guidance as to which car would be most suitable for me. This made it extremely difficult to enjoy the simple pleasures of being a teenage girl! I’m hoping that by proving my daughter with a car, right after getting her license, isn’t a mistake! At least the car was inexpensive, and didn’t put too much of a dent in my purse.
One of the most important things parents forget when it comes to their teens, and first having the ability to drive, is warning them of dangers. The most important danger, being texting and driving- or any behavior that distracts them from the road.
My sixteen year-old daughter is in the age where you basically cannot tell her a single word, without her already “knowing everything” you have to say. Its at this age, that our sons and daughters have the mindset that they can tackle the world, and they know everything there is to know about life. We all know, this is completely false, and very worrisome as a parent.
As I began the distracted driving talk with my daughter, I found that she simply wouldn’t listen to what I had to say, and I could tell she was not processing the information I had to tell her. She seemed as though she had already had this discussion at school in her health class. Though this may be true, I wanted to make sure she was fully aware of how many teenagers are involved in serious accidents as a result of distracted driving. Furthermore, I came to realize how often I actually engaged in the behaviors that I was teaching her. I’ll admit, sometimes I use my phone to text a friend or my sister, right in front of her! I’m sure this is the case for many moms and dads trying to teach their children safe behaviors- our children probably think we are huge hypocrites!
I recently used a resource online, that has helped me learn more about safe behaviors, and how to reinforce them with teens. Ill admit, I’ve taken a few of the suggestions, such as putting my phone away when I’m driving, which I believe is setting a better example for my daughter. It’s important that we as parents, recognize that the problem doesn’t lay just with our teens, but we need to take responsibility for the problem as well.
Be sure to also check out the Q & A section on questions and answers parents commonly ask that come up when discussing distracted driving with their teens.