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How to Talk and Listen To Your Teen About Safe Summer Driving

Kate 13 July 2015
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Guest Contributor: Nicole Runyon, LMSW

Effective communication with teens can be difficult, but getting it right is important.  If we want to positively influence our teens, especially during the summer months when they are more likely to drive late at night and impaired, we have to be able to talk to them, hear them and get them to talk to us. 

Here are five tips for parents on talking, and listening, to teens about safe summer driving: 

  • Encourage open communication 

Allow your teen to feel open to talk about things they have encountered with their peers.  Perhaps they have fears similar to yours about their safety, but they do not know how to communicate these fears.  Create a calm and peaceful space for them to talk. 

  • Listen

Above all, teens want to be heard by their parents.  Too often parents talk at their teens and do not listen to what they have to say. Teens may already know a lot about safety.  First, let them tell you what they know, instead of the other way around. You can always add things that they are missing.  Avoiding a lecture is in their best interest.  Teens tend to shut down when they are lectured to because they are trying to have autonomy.

  • Have a plan

Be open about what to do if there is a situation that could become dangerous.  A good plan is to let your teen know that they can call you anytime they feel unsafe, as a driver or a passenger, and that you will provide safe transportation.

  • Set rules

Rules such as a curfew are good for parents and teens.  It allows the teen to feel they have freedom and it allows the parent to feel that they control.  Also, teenagers need boundaries to feel safe. Setting a curfew and other rules help them to know that there are boundaries to their freedom.

  • Trust your child

Let your teen know that you believe that they will make the right choices.  This makes them feel motivated to keep your trust.


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