B2, our oldest at 15, got her official "restricted driving license" last week. She got her instructional license in May. Her driving has much improved since that first outing but let's face it, she's still a NEW driver.
With the restricted license comes the ability to drive oneself to/from work and school without an adult in the car.
In her mind this should be an automatic. As well as her own car.
Lawman and I are not so quick to oblige. We realize that we will have to let the girl go out at some point without us in the vehicle. The fact is though, we're not as excited about it as she is though.
She informed us a couple of nights ago that she had accepted a baby-sitting job for Saturday evening which would require her to drive. She also mentioned that it's about 12 miles away and it would require her to drive home at 10pm by herself. On a 2 lane road. No shoulders. Lots of curves. Uh, I don't think so. Fortunately, I knew Lawman would be on my side. As it turns out, the mother who asked her to baby-sit had a conversation with her husband the following day and they both decided that they didn't want our daughter driving that particular road by herself or at night. They thought about where they'd be in a few years with their own daughter and they knew they wouldn't want her on that same road by herself at night. Driving a car. So, all is well as B2 will be riding with the mom to/from the baby-sitting job. (Answered prayer.)
We did allow B2 to drive herself last night to a baby-sitting job. It was only 1/2 a mile from our house so we thought this might be a good way to test the waters. She did great. She called us when she got there and called again when she'd be heading home. Perfect.
Today she drove herself to school. It's a half-day so she'll be done early. She forgot to call us when she got there because she and her friend, Bailey, got so caught up in the fact that they were able to "park next to each other" that they got a case of the giggles and concerned parents slipped her mind. Go figure.
There's so much more to driving than steering, using turn signals and that sense of independence that comes with it. Lawman and I remember how excited we were when we were at this milestone in our lives. What new drivers don't realize is that you have to be a defensive driver - always be aware of your surroundings. Even further down the road than just where you are right now. The responsibility you have as a driver is huge. Not only for yourself but your passengers, pedestrians and other drivers. One mistake on the road and it can cost you. Big time.
And granted, given Lawman's line of work, he's seen more than the average parent/driver and he doesn't want his daughter to be a statistic. Many accidents can be avoided. It requires patience from our new driver (you'll get your independence in due time) and standing firm in making decisions/choices from us as parents (if we think we should say no, then we're probably right). I know our choices won't always be popular with her but that's just part of parenting. I know she'll "get it" when it's her oldest baby that's 15 and asking for the car keys.