Having a beast that just turned 16 means I get to engage in all of the driver centered conversations. It’s “When can I, where can I, how can I” for #allthethings. I’m watching friend after friend post pictures of permits, of licenses, of cars. (Parent pressure, yeesh.) It’s not a decision that we’re rushing into lightly or one that we know we can just ignore.
We’ve decided that the fireman will be teaching her in late spring, which will trigger a natural timeline. She’ll start, she’ll practice, she’ll practice some more…and eventually she will test. At some point after that, she’ll get a car, which will accompany responsibilities and requirements. (No free rides in the Teamann household!)
There are SO many steps that we’re taking in order to ease her into this stage of her teenage life. The conversations are a constant, from pop quizzes to opportunities to have “Did you just see that?” conversations. It would be irrational to think that just talking about driving with her would mean she could immediately handle being out on the open road.
As an advocate for technology & for social media, I struggle when I see an “anti” approach by people in leadership positions. Someone posted a parent engagement idea last night in a group on Facebook that spoke to preparing families of middle school students to what “lies ahead” when it comes to social media. It involved a detective and a cyber forensics specialist that came in and showed all the different apps kids use, the dangers of them, the laws surrounding cyber harassment, and then gave them resources for how to monitor their children’s phone use. It was followed by comments centered around blocking, locking, and can I get the hand out’s that just made my heart so sad.
When I tried to rationalize why I immediately cringed, I thought back to the way that we teach our teenagers to drive. How along with the inherent dangers that are shared, or what the potential consequences of their actions could be…we also do a pretty good job of TEACHING them how to be safe. Why rules matter and are relevant. Why we stop at a stop sign even if no one else is there. How to be careful. How to yield, how to handle the fast lane. There are rules that are taught, that are practiced. Before we ever allow them to go out on their own, we have a pretty good idea of how they are doing with the responsibility we’re about to bestow upon them. We’ve been along for the ride up until then and do so even after they have that highly coveted license.
We don’t just NOT allow them to drive.
There’s more to driving than just all the things that can wrong.
There’s more to sharing with students and families about technology/social media than just all the things that can go wrong.
Allowing someone to drive without the supports and balances that we provide is dangerous.
It’s a responsibility as a mom and as an administrator, I don’t take lightly.
How can you engage and educate, rather than engage and scare?