A Clinical Psychologist and Best-selling Author, Dr. Wolf received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the City University of New York and received a bachelor's degree from Columbia College. He has been a practicing psychologist for over 25 years, seeing children and adolescents in the Springfield, Massachusetts area. Dr. Wolf is the author of many books on parenting children and adolescents, including the best-selling book, “Get out of my life but first could you drive me and Cheryl to the Mall? A Guide to the New Teenager” and “I’d Listen to my Parents if they’d just shut up.” Dr. Wolf is a frequent contributor to parenting magazines including Parents, Family Circle, and has written for CHILD Magazine. He has won numerous awards, and his works have been featured in TIME and O Magazine.
Mother to her teenaged son:
“Ethan, I want to have a talk with you about safe driving habits.”
“Gosh, Mom I’m really busy. How about next week? No, how about next month?”
We want our kids to be safe drivers. We want to do all that we can to keep them from harm. For parents of teen drivers this means talking to them about what they need to do to stay safe.
But there’s a little problem. They’re teenagers. And as teenagers the last thing that they want to do is to have serious talks with you - about anything. A normal part of becoming an adolescent is that they want to feel independent. They do not want to feel like a dependent little kid.
Listening to you give them advice is precisely where they do not want to be.
“Mom, I am not stupid. I really don’t need to hear this.”
So what do you do? Talk to them anyway. And regularly. They do hear every word. And they know that you - above all others - do care that they be safe and well. Parents’ words are a powerful influence on their kid’s behavior. It may not look like it, but it is.
What do you say? Whatever you feel that they should know. Absolutely they should not drink and drive. How distractions – friends in the car, texting - significantly increase risk. The dangers of speeding.
Do not be disheartened. Keep the talks coming. Your words are in their head. You are more important than you think.
Anthony Wolf, PhD
National Advisory Board Member
Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org)
*The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) or any Responsibility.org member.*