By Tara Gray
I am a mom of three daughters just simply wanting to share some tips and or advice for all the parents of teens. When my then 16-year-old daughter was testing the rules and as my grandma would say, getting too big for her britches ... haha. I knew she needed a reality check.
In my opinion the years between 16 and 18 are so crucial for their growth and I knew it was really a blip in time. I suspended her driver's license for 6 months. When I went into DMV, it took them a few minutes to even locate the form. In our state as the parent you do not need a reason, other than you are the parent! This was my trump card. I knew this was only temporary, I felt I had to make her understand I was still in charge. The option was available to me and I took advantage of it. Humbling her real fast.
Fast forward the 6 months. She got her license back and I explained there are no gifts. You have to earn your responsibility. She had to maintain good grades, have a part time job, and pay half of her car insurance. At first as you can imagine this was not met with an okay, sure thing attitude. I am the meanest mom ... hahaha. I knew I was doing right by her. She asked how was she going to be able to pay half of her car insurance only working part time making minimum wage. Enter the opportunity to discuss budget. I would go to her at the end of the month and ask for her half. Which forced HER to budget. Getting paid bi-weekly she had to set money aside. A couple months went by and it finally clicked. She got it!
Honestly, I think she appreciated what I was doing. Her attitude went from"My mom makes me pay half of my car insurance" to "I pay half my car insurance". She was blossoming and transitioning right in front of my eyes. Pride showed on her face, her self confidence really grew, too. I was forcing her to think of herself as capable.
She is now 20, living in Hampton, with her boyfriend working full-time, very independent and paying all of her bills. Now, I realize every parent will not have the need for my tough love approach but, the take away from this is as a parent in Virginia, that their driver's license suspension is the scare tactic ... if need be. You have total control if and or when they drive. It is a powerful tool if need be. It is cliche but it is not a right, it for sure is a privilege til he or she is 18. A lot of parents do not even know this is an option. So many other little lessons hidden here but, I realize most people do not like to be lectured haha ... Yes, all of those life lessons really came from me making her cool her heels a little when I suspended her license.I am a mom of three daughters so I am learning as I go, too. Just wanting to share, nothing more nothing less.
Blog by Special Correspondent Tara Gray