Getting behind the wheel and finally achieving independence is really important for a lot of teens and that 17th birthday just can’t come fast enough. As a parent, this can be quite a daunting time because you are naturally conflicted by your desire to keep them close and safe and their need to spread their wings.
It is inevitable that many teens will want to splash out on a car as soon as they can afford to so as a parent, your role is to make sure that they are sensible in what they buy and how they behave on the road.
Encourage Your Teen to Save Up
Having a car is quite a big financial responsibility. Not only does the car itself cost but you have ongoing costs such as insurance and petrol to consider, not to mention smaller things like buying parking tickets and permits. Understanding the financial responsibility of car ownership should be the first thing you teach your teen.
If you are the parent of a teenager who can’t wait to turn 17 and start learning, encourage them to save up for lessons and even start saving up for a car. Getting a weekend job might be a good way to do this but saving as much of their monthly allowance is another good method. You might well end up topping up the fund but the experience of saving for something big will be invaluable to your teen.
Research the Right Car for Them
The next step is to start researching the type of car they might like to drive. While they may not be able to afford the most popular cars for sale brand new, you could look at other sites to see whether something similar might be available second hand.
Check things like the cost of car insurance, road tax and fuel consumption and make a list so that you can compare each car. Everyone has a dream car but you and your teen might need to build up to that. Settle for something sensible that will get them from A to B in safety – they can continue to save for that dream!
Choose a Good Teacher
They have finally turned 17 and it’s time to get driving. This means that you need to find a driving teacher they will get on with to make sure that they don’t just pass their test but become responsible drivers too. Don’t worry if you go through a couple of instructors before finding the right one – this is very common and your teen needs to feel safe and happy while they learn.
Once they have started learning, you might like to get them insured on your own car and go out together. Empty car parks are great for a bit of manoeuvre practise at night and as your teen develops, giving them a bit of experience in different weathers and times of day is a good plan. Just remember to stay calm and put the L plates on!