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My friend Ashley and I were having a conversation about teenagers and parenting when she explained a program for teenagers who are about to get their drivers license.

Ashley Snell is an insurance agent for State Farm. Before insuring new drivers, Ashley sits down with them and discusses a myriad of safety issues along with showing them a video—all part of the “Steer Clear Safe Drivers Discount Prograrm.” Ashley gets real with kids and is one more voice, besides the parents, that teens will hear before they embark on their journey as a driver of an automobile.

The discussion prompted a few of my own thoughts:

Simply by virtue of their developmental stage, teens question and challenge everything; i.e. rules and authority (among others). It is often said that teens think they know everything. While that statement is not entirely exaggerated the opposite is also true.
Teens are aware that they don’t know everything and are still very interested (although they will never let you see this side of them) in learning.

A couple of stories with a few good tips:
1. I knew a teenager who would “borrow” the family car without permission.

Tip: hold on to the car keys and please be vigilante, know where your teen is and what s/he is doing and don’t, please don’t assume, that because s/he is a “good kid” s/he will always make great choices.

2. I knew a teenager who got a speeding ticket in the first month of driving.

Tip: don’t hesitate to over supervise your teen’s driving in the first months—go out with your child and observe—perhaps you sit with a newspaper in the passenger or back seat with a goal of observing your child’s instincts and tendencies while behind the wheel. When you get home, turn your observations into “teachable moments” sharing just a few of your thoughts. Remember to keep your comments brief.

If you would like to learn more about Ashley’s program please feel free to contact her at ashley@sandydodd.com over at State Farm Insurance.

A teenager was telling her mom that all her friends were allowed to text whenever they wanted insisting that she had to live in the the house with all the ridiculous rules.
My head was spinning as I heard this story. There is texting and instant messaging and there is facebook and my space and dozens of other places teens can go to connect with their peers.
This mom got very creative…something we all lose sight of when in the day to day trenches of parenting. She told her daughter to come up with what she thought would be a reasonable amount of time to spend using her cell phone (texting or talking), adding that she would be open minded about the subject.
Days later I heard that the storm in the house had blown over and all was resolved.
Kids will be more apt to follow rules when they have some involvement in its creation.
Saying no and setting rules are good for parents and even better for kids.