Why do we have to let our children drive?

23 Jul

Beloved has been driving for a while now on her permit.  In case you’ve forgotten how it all started, click here.  The truth of the matter is that she was “technically” eligible for her license in September.  By technically, I mean according to county law; not technically as in a technically good driver. 

teen girl driving


Since the thought of her behind the wheel of  a vehicle still makes me nauseous, I have secretly discouraged her from driving any chance I get.  She is on to me. It used to be a bit simpler since our rule was that if she didn’t remember to bring her permit, she couldn’t drive without it.  Beloved is very forgetful so score one for Helicopter Mom. Then she started leaving it in the car so that foiled my plan. 

I made up so many rules and requirements for her driving that eventually she sort of gave up and quit asking.  But as we neared the eligibility date, that all changed and now my home is a constant barrage of “I’m driving, can I drive, I call driving, why can’t I get my license, can I just get my license but I won’t drive alone I promise”.  My answer was always “not now, no, it’s rush hour, I need to get there quickly” but now I usually acquiesce…if only for the quiet it brings me. 

Lately, we’ve been really working on letting her drive every chance we can that doesn’t involve the freeway.  We are not ready for that yet.  If the speed limit is 40 and under, that’s our path.  So my gas bill has gone up as you can imagine since we drive all over the back country in order to reach our destination.  It’s crazy but works for me.  Poor Beloved is frothing at the window as we pass by the major thoroughfares…to her dismay…for the road less traveled.  She is certain that she is ready; she’s not. 

Each time we are driving together, I narrate the road rules as we come upon them.  Slow down for the 90 degree turn, remember to break softly when it’s wet, use your directional, look both ways once the light turns green-my God, I’m so tired of talking when we finally arrive.  It does seem to help her remember, or at least that’s what I tell myself.  Most of the time, she is yelling back that she knows what to do and was just about to do it…but I spoke too soon.  Aha, right.

Part of the license requirement is at least 10 hours of nighttime driving; as if I’d allow her to be out at night alone!  It’s apparent by the DMV rules that once your kid has their license, they are free to roam with wild abandon.  I try explaining to her that even if she had her license, the family rules still apply.  I can tell from her reaction that the drivers ed instructor forgot to mention that part.

Beloved’s wish: Got permit, get license, parents buy a Jeep, traipse the tri-state area unfettered. 

Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad’s reality: Got permit, drag out license as long as possible, a car, really, and shouldn’t we update the house alarm code so she’s unable to escape? 

Joking aside, we realize that this delicate dance won’t go on much longer and she will be ready for driving alone.  Scary thought but a necessary evil.  Man, I yearn for the days when a high chair could corral this girl.  Pray for us!  

Hovering high and low, Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

60 Responses to “Why do we have to let our children drive?”

  1. Angela Addington March 19, 2015 at 8:19 PM #

    I’ve got a daughter who will be behind the wheel in just a few short months. Where has the time gone and who can I hire to teach her to drive!!

  2. Ellie Murphy March 19, 2015 at 3:31 PM #

    I loved your “voice!” It scares me when my brothers drive so I understand! It will get easier!

  3. Felicia March 18, 2015 at 11:29 PM #

    Oh my gosh do I understand!!! I have a 17 yr old Mini Me who is learning to drive and I am so queasy about it! I try and make sure that she doesn’t hear my nervousness when she’s driving. I so feel your pain and understand what you are saying!! Thank you for letting me know I am not the only one!

  4. ChristinaHdgPdg March 18, 2015 at 4:05 PM #

    I don’t envy you having a daughter who is driving. My oldest will be 9 in July and I keep asking myself, “Where has all this time gone?” Can’t I just keep my boys in the sweet cuddly stage forever? But then I’d have to give up seeing them become amazing men.

  5. jenifer March 17, 2015 at 11:14 PM #

    I enjoyed this. My oldest is only 8 so I have a few more years until hes ready to drive but I am not looking forward to it by any means. lol

  6. Joyce Duboise March 17, 2015 at 9:33 PM #

    Very funny article! I know it is difficult, but she will do great! I am sure you are feeling like she is growing up WAY too fast!

  7. Emma March 17, 2015 at 9:27 PM #

    Gah! I’m terrified of the time when my kids can get their permits. My hope is that Daddy will be teaching them whenever possible.

  8. Jennie March 17, 2015 at 3:23 PM #

    I didn’t get my license until I was 24. No need to be in a rush, lol! And it was years after that before I was comfortable enough to want to try the highway, lol!

  9. Penny March 17, 2015 at 12:29 PM #

    I agree! Although we made the rule when he got his permit that we decided when he was ready to get his license. I would definitely have her drive the busier roads several times with you before she gets her license. Good luck!

  10. Tammy March 16, 2015 at 11:26 PM #

    Oh, boy, my oldest is 12 and once she starts, we have 4 more every other year. We might not be alive by the time the last one comes a long!

  11. Camille March 16, 2015 at 10:43 PM #

    Haha. I totally love this article. I remember my dad when I was just starting to drive. He wouldn’t let me drive when he’s in the car, he holds too tight at his door handles and he tells me all about what and what not to do when driving.. Hahaha. Parents! I can’t imagine myself when my kids are so ready to drive. Maybe I’ll be as annoying as my dad and my kids will just scratch their head!

  12. Laura P March 16, 2015 at 8:30 AM #

    My oldest is 6 years away from driving & I know it’s going to come way too fast! Thx for sharing!

  13. Melissa March 15, 2015 at 10:44 PM #

    I got my learners permit the day I turned 16, and then got my actual right after the allowed number of days. I was so glad to just get it over and done with. It’s a big stress.

  14. Sinziana March 15, 2015 at 2:26 PM #

    I still have years until I will have this problem but, to be honest…I am afraid myself to drive…some other drivers are so rude and don’t pay atention not at all…Nice writen post!

  15. Gwen March 15, 2015 at 11:10 AM #

    Ha, I have all this to look forward to! However, you cannot get your learner’s licence here until you are 17, so still 3 years until my son is let loose on the public roads! Thanks for sharing

  16. Mary Beth March 14, 2015 at 11:11 PM #

    My kids are still young, but my husband is a youth pastor, so I have lots of time with teenagers getting their licenses. The more experience they get with mom and dad, the more comfortable you will feel with them driving later on! She will be driving eventually, so may as well ensure she is well prepared. Good luck!!

  17. Lexi March 14, 2015 at 9:36 PM #

    Practice makes perfect! hahaha I really look forward to teaching my sisters how to drive 😉

  18. Debbie Williams March 14, 2015 at 2:08 PM #

    I remember your pain! As each of my children reached this age, I dreaded every request to drive the car. You hate to see them grow up, you fear for their safety, you wonder what they will do with their new found freedom. Relax. They DO remember what you have taught them — they will be fine, mostly! : )

  19. Howard March 14, 2015 at 1:29 PM #

    I don’t have any children, but I have a nephew who lives out in the country and has been driving vehicles off-road for years. The difficult part for me is not so much that he will eventually be on the road, but that he has to grow up in the first place. Missing the early days . . . .

  20. Corinne Rodrigues March 14, 2015 at 12:34 PM #

    I have no kids, but I can imagine how you must feel! Why, I think my Dad might still feel that way about my driving even though I’m almost 50! 😉

  21. SusanLower March 13, 2015 at 10:24 PM #

    So glad I still have several years yet until I have to worry about driving lessons!

  22. Jennifer Sanders March 13, 2015 at 12:31 PM #

    I have a teenager in the house and we have not tackled it yet I appreciate your uncertainty of the situation. Thank you for the encouragement and the struggle that you are facing going through this. Best of luck to you and your family.

  23. Carrie March 13, 2015 at 12:25 PM #

    This post made me laugh out loud (literally!). Our oldest daughter is approaching the age for driver’s ed as well. She is scared to death, but we plan to make her drive as often as possible so she becomes a great driver before leaving home. Driving is definitely one of the hardest things about being a parent! Thank you for helping me to see it with humor!

  24. Karmen March 13, 2015 at 10:25 AM #

    Hahaha! Letting my daughter drive was terrifying, but taking her 5 hours away and dropping her off for college made driving seem like a walk in the park! Hang in there. It gets better.

  25. Hannah March 13, 2015 at 10:20 AM #

    This gave me a laugh this morning! I certainly do not look forward to teaching my kids to drive when that day comes….actually, I didn’t even enjoy learning and pushed it off as long as I could. My mom was the one that said I needed to! I was 18 before I got my permit, and then when I failed the first road test, I bawled so hard….ugh…it was awful. I always say if I ever lose my license for some reason, I will never drive again, cause that was way too traumatic! Haha!!! Thanks for your post!! <3

  26. Patrice March 13, 2015 at 9:48 AM #

    I just went through this with my daughter and driver education class was an only to check to see that she was doing fine. My experience turn out ok even though I was scared at time for her. I enjoy reading.

  27. Sherri S March 13, 2015 at 9:00 AM #

    Hey, let me know where you live so I can steer clear! Haha just kidding! I have younger kids, so I’m not at this stage YET, but I’m not looking forward to it! I’m sure everything will be just fine and a few years from now you won’t even remember the anxiety this caused you. 🙂

  28. Laurina March 12, 2015 at 11:09 PM #

    As a mom to 4 sons (of which 3 have their driver’s license), I have been there and recognize your feelings of trying to corral a young wanna-be driver. We set a house rule of 18 for their license and have been able to uphold that. Good luck with your eager young driver!

  29. Meagan March 12, 2015 at 8:31 PM #

    Thankfully, my parents were car people. I grew up between the kitchen and the garage. They instilled a love for cars in me from an early age, so not letting my drive was not an option. Of course, they also taught me responsibility so when I got my car I was pretty good with it. I’m sure it gave them grey hairs and I’m not looking forward to eventually being on the other side of the situation.

  30. Victoria March 12, 2015 at 8:23 PM #

    I am definitely overprotective at times, too. It is difficult to see our kids growing up and becoming more independent, isn’t it?

  31. Melissa March 12, 2015 at 6:46 PM #

    Oh dear, my boys are not even 5 yet and already I’m nervous about them driving! Apparently, they will be driving motorcycles to school… Ummm….

    Good luck with the new driver. I always had fun freaking out my mother when I started! 🙂


  32. Chrystal March 12, 2015 at 6:25 PM #

    My parents were more than happy to let me get my permit at 15 and start learning to drive. I know hubs and I have sat here and discussed how we seem to be counting down until kiddo is old enough to drive. She divides her time between her father here, his mother, her grandmother where her siblings are that are not my husbands, and her mothers when it is allowed. That is a lot of driving around. And they don’t live in the same town. It will be nice when she gets a little older and can decide where she wants to go and what she wants to do. But, she’ll have to get a job to pay for the car and/or insurance! For now, we just enjoy all our time with her.

  33. Patricia March 12, 2015 at 12:31 PM #

    Haha… I so remember those days.. Now I am grateful that they are available to drive me when I am not so inclined. You are fortunate to have a sense of humor as one is needed in this case!!

  34. TOTS Family March 12, 2015 at 9:26 AM #

    I just read a story the other day about a mom who took her daughter driving (I think for the first time) and they drove right through a fence and almost into a pedestrian when her daughter mistook the gas pedal for the brake. Ack. Sorry…that’s probably not reassuring…but it could be a good cautionary tale for your daughter…

    • Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad March 14, 2015 at 11:44 PM #

      Holy moly. That must have scared the daylights out of them. Luckily we haven’t had that issue and Lord, I hope we don’t.

  35. Crisi March 11, 2015 at 11:24 PM #

    This sounds like the same dance I will be doing when our son comes of age to drive lol. I don’t want to even think about it, it will be here way too soon.

  36. Katie March 11, 2015 at 10:43 PM #

    You would have wanted me as you daughter – I did not want to drive at all but had to get my license in order to drive myself to college because I was going to a commuter school. Had I gone somewhere that I lived on campus I probably wouldn’t have gotten my license until I was 20!

    • Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad March 16, 2015 at 9:33 PM #

      That would have been wonderful and 20 works for me! hah I was sort of the same way. Grew up in small town where we could easily walk everywhere; nobody needed a vehicle. But since we’re in Tampa, it’s so far from most places you have to drive.

  37. Mitch Mitchell March 11, 2015 at 8:21 PM #

    LOL! As a non-parent this is something I don’t have to do. I can only imagine how my dad felt when he had to take me out for lessons. Heck, that might explain why they signed me up for driver’s ed. 🙂

  38. Toiia L. Rukuni March 11, 2015 at 3:52 PM #

    As a parent the day that my children are able to get behind the wheel will be a terrifying but wonderful day. I am looking forward to the time when I can send my son or daughter to run errands, to their own sports events, and when they are independent young adults.

    • Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad March 11, 2015 at 8:45 PM #

      You know we thought the same thing…except when they can drive alone and have their own cars…they never come home long enough to find out what errands you need!

  39. Eyeland Gurl March 11, 2015 at 10:40 AM #

    As a parent myself I can totally understand how you feel even though my children are not at that age to drive yet. I had the same feelings when my boys were learning how to ride their bicycles. I never wanted them to venture onto the road. Hang in there. I’m sure Beloved will be ok!

  40. Lisa March 11, 2015 at 10:05 AM #

    Good luck with your daughter’s driving lessons.

    Here’s a tip… consider getting those “student driver” magnetic stickers for your car. Get the ones that are also night-reflective.

    When we practice driving, we put one sticker on the back of car, one on the driver’s side door and one on the passenger door.

    It definitely seems to give my young driver a little extra consideration from fellow drivers (which we need-lol).

    Have a great day.

  41. Jennie March 11, 2015 at 6:39 AM #

    Helicoptor Mom and Juse Plane Dad! That’s great. My 4-year-old daughter asked me just yesterday when she could start driving. Seriously!? Ei-yi-yi…

    • Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad March 11, 2015 at 3:43 PM #

      Oh gosh…watch out for that little one. If she already wants to drive, you may have your hands full in 11 years. And believe me, it goes fast!

  42. Angela March 10, 2015 at 11:54 PM #

    We are going through the same thing. Our son has his permit and needs a lot of practice! We haven’t even attempted access roads and definitely not the highway! The whole idea of him driving by himself freaks me out! Plus, my daughter is 14 and she we will be going through this with her soon. Ugh.

    • Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad March 11, 2015 at 3:45 PM #

      Stick to the smaller backroads and neighborhood driveways for practicing pulling in/out. I can’t imagine having two driving; I’d have pulled my hair out.

  43. Quirky Grandma March 10, 2015 at 11:50 PM #

    It doesn’t get better. Mine is 22 and I still bite my nails every time she drives. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to stop it. Just try not to bite the nails, mine look awful.

    • Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad March 11, 2015 at 3:46 PM #

      Quirky Grandma, this isn’t helping! ha hahh I so appreciate what my own parents went through. I was hoping there was an end in sight to my worrying but you’re right; they are always your children. PS: I don’t have nails anyway….

  44. Crystal Green August 26, 2013 at 12:26 AM #

    I’d delay that step as long as humanly possible! I dread having to deal with that with my kids!! They will probably be like both of their parents and be speed demons and get loads of tickets and accidents before they are really ready to be on the road. I hope it doesn’t happen, but…

    My heart goes out to you!

  45. Jennifer H January 24, 2013 at 12:11 PM #

    its always good to have family rules.

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