The dynamics of a conversation between a father and his teenage son or daughter have significantly changed. One of the reasons is that it is simply hard to even focus. Parents have to compete with phones and screens and other distractions.
Among the conversations that dads need to have with their teen children is about cars or about driving. Apart from the technical aspects, the most important subject of car conversation with teens is responsibility. If you are a teenager or a young adult who would like to drive his or her own vehicle, it is important that you ask the right questions and the right intentions. This shows you are ready and that you understand what you are getting into.
Are you ready to take the big leap? Your dads are the perfect go-to guys. Here are things you need to find out, and why.
Is it important that I know about cars and driving?
Driving is a life skill. It is one of those things that can get you places, literally and figuratively. It is of course not mandatory, but it is always a plus.
You want to have the right intention for even asking about cars or driving. Asking why it is important or necessary is a good conversation starter. From here, lead the discussion to dependence. Those who are not skilled and trained to drive need to depend on other people’s time, availability or resources. Talk about flexibility, too, and how driving can give you more options in terms of managing your time, getting yourself from point A to point B, and so on.
Can I handle it?
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Admit it: your dad’s approval matters to you. If he trusts that you can handle a wheel, you will be able to handle a wheel.
This is important to be part of your conversation because this shows that you value your dad’s opinion. And the truth is that this is one of the most important questions you’ll have to ask yourself before taking the driver’s seat. You need to be able to convince yourself that you can handle it, and your dad’s assurance and approval will help boost your confidence.
How tough is the financial responsibility?
You will most likely not pay for your car, and you’ll probably drive the family car anyway. But this does not mean you should completely excuse yourself from all the financial responsibility.
This is important in engaging your dad on the conversation on cars because it shows that you are willing to shoulder some responsibility and make sacrifices in exchange for the convenience. This includes shouldering parking expenses or fuel costs.
How tough is the maintenance?
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There’s more to car maintenance that just having it washed regularly. No car conversation between teens and their dads should go without the cost of maintenance, not just monetary but also time and effort.
Some of the basic questions regarding maintenance that any teen should ask are: how often do you need to perform a tune-up? When do you change tires? What is the lifespan of a car battery? What’s an air filter and how often does it need to be replaced? How do maintain the car’s paint? Does waxing and washing too often make it lose its original shine?
Dads will have a ready answer to everything. He is also most likely to provide you with the cost and the scenarios you are likely to encounter if you don’t know a thing about proper preventive maintenance.
What do I need to do before driving off?
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A teenager can be very excited, and sometimes reckless, about cars. The moment they get behind the wheel, they step on the gas and drive off. Such act demonstrates carelessness and irresponsibility.
On the other hand, if you ask about essential car tips, specifically on the drill before driving off, it shows some semblance of being responsible, accountable, and in control.
Your basic driver checklist should include these questions: Have you inspected the vehicle? Is your tire pressure okay? Inside the vehicle, are you alert, tired or feeling sleepy? Are you buckled up? Are your rear and side mirrors aligned to your vision? Are your doors locked? Do you know where you are going? If not, set up your navigational app first. Are you capable? Are you calm or emotionally stressed? These questions are important because they basically show your regard for your own safety and everyone else’s.
What if I get a ticket?
Getting a ticket can be very intimidating to a teenager who is a first-time drivers. What are you supposed to do? This is also a good conversation starter with your dad because it shows that you are responsible, that you want to do things right, and that you have high regard for the law. It also teaches you about accountability in so many ways.
A privilege and a responsibility
This should be the core of every car conversation with a teenager — your dad knows it, and you know it. Having a car or a license is not a right; it is a privilege given to you by your government and your parents, if you are still under their guidance. This privilege comes with a great deal of responsibility. If you are behind the wheel, safety should be your top priority. You owe it to yourself, other motorists, and pedestrians.
A conversation about cars or driving is one that is bound to take place, and one that parents, especially dads, prepare themselves for. A teenager or a young adult who wants to take this leap are blessed to have dads who will walk them through the basics, as well as support them along the way. Ask the right questions, and have the right intentions.