Your teen can take on the responsibility of driving.

Reasons Why Teens Should Drive

by Erica Loop

Although there are statistics galore that point to the perils of teen driving, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventions' figures, which show that 16- to 19-year-olds are at the greatest risk for having a motor vehicle crash, plenty of reasons exist as to why teens should drive. From getting to work or school to transporting family members, your teen can use driving as a means to act in a responsible manner.

1. Work

Finding a part-time after-school, weekend or summer job can help your teen learn valuable lessons in responsibility and financial planning. Unless you plan on chauffeuring her back and forth to her retail job at the mall or waitressing job at the local burger joint, driving is a necessity for a working teen. You can pair driving and working as a connected responsibility to teach your teen what it's like to act as an adult, instead of just handing the keys over to her, help your teen to understand that driving is a privilege that comes with many different types of responsibilities. While she is earning her own cash ask her to contribute gas money to the family car to make up for what she uses driving to her job. If she balks at this idea, suggest she use the money to take the bus instead. Chances are that she will choose the comfort of the car over standing at the bus stop.

2. School

As your teen grows and matures, he may not want to take the school bus with the "little kids" in the younger grades. Unless you live within walking distance, driving is often the only method -- for a child who can't or won't take the bus -- for getting to school. While you can drive your teen to and from school every day, many parents work schedules don't permit this from happening. As long as your teen understands that his car privileges during the academic day consists of going to and home from school, driving himself is a perfectly reasonable mode of transportation for many older teens.

3. Family Transportation

If it seems like you are spending your time being a permanent taxi for your kids, shuttling back and forth between soccer, dance and other lessons, let your teen help you out and help driving her siblings to some of their after-school activities. Although your teen most likely has her fair share of extra-curricular activities to attend to, she may have some time to give you a helping hand and take on the carpool. Driving on a schedule that revolves around other people -- namely your younger children’s' -- can help your teen become more responsible and better organized when it comes to keeping track of time.

4. Independence

Driving during the teen years your child helps your child working become more independent, According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, on their Healthy Children website. Along with this independence comes more responsibilities and a more adult-like way of acting. Driving can provide your teen with the opportunity to act independently and show just how responsible he is. Instead of putting your child in the passenger seat and taking him to and from every activity, event or social time, the ability for a teen to drive himself allows him to function in a much less dependent way. Additionally, driving safely, getting himself home on time and making sure that the gas tank is full can help your teen to act in more responsible way.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

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