You may have heard of making a driving agreement with your teen…
Parent-teen driving contracts (or “parent teen driving agreements”) are gaining popularity online and have been featured on sites such as Grown & Flown and Chronicles of a Babywise Mom. It’s more common than ever to see strong recommendations to use a driving agreement, even the CDC has information about it on their website.
Parents and safety organizations alike have jumped on this trend, and with good reason. Parent-teen driving agreements open a dialogue between you and your teenager before they even start to drive alone. The contract indicates clear expectations, sets milestones, and builds trust. By using this tool, you and your teenager will have a written road map of their responsibilities and their journey to independence.
What is a parent-teen driving contract?
A parent-teen driving contract is just that: an informal contract. It’s a piece of paper listing your teen’s expectations of you and your expectations of them, and it outlines the important milestones that will be necessary to build their skills over the first days, months, or year of driving.
Don’t worry, your contract doesn’t have to be a complicated or long document. In fact, most parent teen contracts are only one or two pages long. The first section usually contains driving rules/promises for the teen and the parent (such as “I will always obey traffic laws” and “I will be a good role model behind the wheel”). The second section lists privileges and describes what must be accomplished to earn those privileges. Privileges may include nighttime curfews, number of passengers, and driving in certain weather conditions. By outlining restrictions in advance and writing down important rules, you are setting boundaries and creating clear expectations which can help you avoid conflicts down the road.
The parent-teen driving agreement should always be customized to suit your family’s needs. For example, if you are concerned about your teenager driving on a particular road in poor weather, you should discuss that with your teen and build it into the contract. Likewise, if your teenager needs extra support or understanding from you, this is the ideal time to bring it up and get your commitment in writing.
How do you use it?
The agreement is a simple tool, all you need is some paper, a pen, and a few minutes to sit down with your teenager. The online course, Teach Your Teen to Drive, contains a sample parent-teen driving contract that will help you get started. It’s important to go through each part of the contract and talk about it with your teenager. Once you and your teen have agreed on the contents, sign your names at the bottom… and then stick to your promises!
The key: enforcing the parent teen driving contract
The parent-teen driving agreement is only effective if you enforce it. Don’t forget, that means YOU should adhere to the terms, too! Once you have signed the agreement, be sure to revisit it often. If a driving rule is broken, be sure to point it out and correct it.
Are you ready to get started? Buy our online course and download the Parent Teen Driving Contract in the Resources section!