I always appreciate the advice you give in your column, so I was hoping to get your opinion on something going on in my family at the minute.
My second-youngest son started driving recently. From the minute he got on the road he was a lunatic behind the wheel.
He would often try to drive too fast, but it was never really much of an issue, because either myself or my husband were always with him and would slow him down.
We don’t know what to do with him, Miriam
However, even though he’s only 18, he’s after passing his driving test on the first go. I just assumed he wouldn’t pass it first time, so I didn’t worry about it, but now he’s off on his own flying around the country in my car.
We don’t know what to do with him, Miriam.
Also, he often has his friends in the car, as well as my younger son who’s 16 and has even less sense than his brother
We can’t keep him at home. He’s full time gone in the car and people have said it to me that they’ve passed him absolutely flying it.
I’m really afraid something will happen him. Also, he often has his friends in the car, as well as my younger son who’s 16 and has even less sense than his brother. I’m afraid something will happen to them too.
I can’t seem to keep him off the road, what do you think I should do, Miriam?
Dear Ulster Mother,
Thank you very much for getting touch. Raising children isn’t easy and there doesn’t seem to be any let-up as they get older. Teenagers, of course, can be tricky at times. They are at that stage in life where they are past being a child, but not quite yet an adult.
Your son very much seems to be in this period, striving for freedom and adulthood. There are a couple of things you could do in this situation.
Of course, you could lay down the law and take the car off him, but will that help him in the long run? Probably not.
I do definitely think you should set some boundaries for him
Irish Country Living’s resident psychotherapist, Enda Murphy, recently wrote (and I am paraphrasing here), the tighter you hold the reins the harder your child will pull back.
I do definitely think you should set some boundaries for him with regard to using your car. After all it is your car and he should only be allowed, within reason, to use it when you are not. But I would be of the opinion that highlighting the responsibilities he has as a driver is the way to go.
Also, he has the lives of all those in the car with him in his hands
Treat him like an adult and tell him that when you start driving on your own, it comes with great responsibility. I would sit down and very calmly point out that road fatalities are not uncommon. He must look after himself and other road users. Also, he has the lives of all those in the car with him in his hands.
Make it clear too, that if he gets a fine he will have pay it and take the penalty points.
I am not casting any aspersions here, but do make sure the adults in his life are setting a good example for him
You could also tell him that if the insurance goes up because of this, he will have to pay the difference himself.
Treat him like an adult and give him that responsibility he is craving.
Also, and I am not casting any aspersions here, but do make sure the adults in his life are setting a good example for him while driving, and not speeding or texting, which I am sure they are not.
Wishing you all the best,