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Parents Forbid Riding in Cars with Friends

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: We won't allow our 15-year-old daughter to go out with friends that drive because a lot of them are inexperienced drivers. She says that we don't trust her and gets very angry, causing a lot of tension in the home. Please try to give me some sound advice.

A: Your concerns are well-founded. Older teens die in automobile accidents more than from any other cause of death. Recent studies have concluded that it's not only the inexperience of teenage drivers that contributes greatly to teen auto accidents, but also how teens behave with their peers in a car. Statistics show that as the number of teens in a car increases, so do the chances of that car being involved in an accident.

I would continue to monitor who she drives with and to make your decisions based upon the experience of the driver and how many kids will be traveling in the car with her. Of course, parents are not always guaranteed that the number that show up in a car to pick up their teen is the number that eventually will be riding in that car. Next year you may be confronting your daughter's wish to get her driver's license. You need to start discussing how you and your spouse plan to teach her how to drive and how many hours of supervised driving you will demand before you are convinced that she can be allowed to drive on her own.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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