Darger Family on Parenting Teenage Drivers

Grayson and LIesl, our youngest drivers

Grayson and Liesl, our youngest drivers at Grayson's 16th birthday.

Another teenage boy just got his drivers license. In a polygamous family that usually means that right behind him is another teenager in line to get his drivers permit. You know the one? They take a test at the DMV and if they pass they can start driving with a parent to get in 40 hours of practice time. The next one in line for us is Shad, who is 15-1/2!

You would think after having had seven kids go through this process already that we would be pro’s. Not so much. There is nothing quite so unenjoyable (and sometimes frightening) as driving with a miniature adult who THINKS he knows how to drive.
The other night Shad asked me if I would go with him so he could get some driving time in. It was late, it was dark, I was tired and a little bit irritable…yes, me! I didn’t think it was a good idea for me to go on one of his first practice runs. I mean maybe if it was a bad experience he would end up being a terrible driver for life and it would be all my fault for giving him a complex at a formative time. So I begged off and hoped he would get his dad or one of the other moms to go.
Later, I saw him walk out the door with Joe. He looked pretty confident, keys jingling in his hands. I sat back relieved. Half an hour later they walked back in the door, Shad looking a little dejected and Joe, with a frustrated look on his face. I got the feeling it didn’t go so well. Come to find out he ran a four way stop among some other stressful mishaps.

We have 10 cars now on insurance. We recently told all of the older ones that were moved out they had to get their own insurance. We believe that driving is a privelege, not a right. They have to get and keep good grades, have no accidents or speeding tickets, and to have their own car they have to pay for it. As it is the younger ones are stuck driving the old minivan to school. From that standpoint they help out with the family, because having the extra chauffers in the family is invaluable. If you have a scary teenage driving experience feel free to share.


This entry was posted in Children, Parenting, Polygamy. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Darger Family on Parenting Teenage Drivers

  1. Marsa says:

    In our family, we don’t allow driving until you turn 18. You can get a permit before that, but not your drivers lic. I know most of our friends think its kind of strict, but our boys don’t have a problem with it. I think because they saw how a severe car accident changed my life forever. We too feel driving is a privilege and not a right. I think having the responsibility means more to them when they have to maintain grades, etc. Just like in your family.

    It is stressful when they learn how to drive. Scott is in charge of that, thank goodness. But I can remember talking to the boys about driving long before any of them were ready to drive. Even in their car seats, I would say things like “Yep, its safe to go, no one coming, I can move into the other lane. Or “looks like Mom has to wait her turn at the stop sign”. I thought if I could say these things, then they might have it more ingrained in them to think them when they were driving.

    I can remember when I was learning to drive, in CA we had driving classes at school as part of the curriculum. The first time I went to drive with my Grandmother, as part of our homework… I had only driven half a block, poor lady… She started whispering, “Martha, Pull over please.” I was like, “What? What did I do?” She said, “Nothing, its me. I can’t handle it.” And she couldn’t, bless her heart. I never understood, I felt terrible about it for years. Then, it was time for a friend’s daughter to learn. She was exactly like my Grandmother, she couldn’t handle it. Not that she didn’t think her daughter would be a good driver, she just couldn’t handle teaching her. So, my husband worked with her instead. Both were fine once the license was given, but prior to it, they just weren’t able to teach driving.

    I was really worried when our oldest had to drive in the winter weather, those things are hard to teach here in the Valley of the Sun. We talked to him about driving on snow and ice, but until you’ve done it.. You don’t really know. I’m thankful that my Grandmother was then able to teach our oldest about it when he went to Indiana. She said she had learned to worry less over the years. So, she didn’t whisper to him in a panicked voice to pull over. LOL

    Blessings to you and your family, thank you for sharing these stores! I enjoy your blog and your facebook!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>