What would you have done in this situation?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Iamwipedouttoo, Aug 28, 2009.

  1. Iamwipedouttoo

    Iamwipedouttoo New Member

    Let me know what you all think about this...

    After one of difficult child's therapy sessions two weeks ago, I wouldn't let her drive (learner's permit) because our route had us merging onto a highway during rush hour (she has never merged on a highway ever - she's not ready for that until we do it during non-rush hour) but, I did offer to let her drive for other errands once we got to the place she worked to pick up her check but told her that after our last errand I would have to drive home because our route had us making a left turn at a pretty bad intersection that I wasn't comfortable with myself.

    She wasn't happy and told me that I could just forget it then, that I was being ridiculous and that she didn't want to drive now. She continued on for another moment, accusing me of NEVER letting her drive when, in fact, she had been driving everywhere when we had to get in the car for weeks - In fact, we logged over 18 hours driving time. I have the journal I am keeping for DMV purposes to prove it!

    I told her that I understood her decision and was fine with it. (Honestly, I didn't get why if driving was so important to her she wouldn't take the opportunity to drive!)

    difficult child then proceeded to point out that if we didn't help her get her license she would be on her own learning to drive when she was 18 without any training or help and what that might mean for her. I told her I fully aware of that and reminded her I have been teaching her and was willing to continue to teach her if she if she was willing to take direction without getting upset and if she let me decide what situations she is ready to drive in and which situations she is not.

    And here it goes...

    There was silence in the car for a whole two minutes. Then she started to complain how she had not eaten all day. She asked if we could go to a fast food place to get some mozarella sticks. I told her we could do that on the way to get her brother and as soon as I said we could do that, she said, and I quote, "Okay. I'll drive then."

    Totally taken off guard by the whole situation, I actually agreed to let her drive. Should I have done that? I am feeling like I shouldn't have.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well, don't beat yourself up at all over this....but, she has learned how to turn everything around to manipulate you, it sounds like. It also sounds like you're starting to see that. I think you needs to start making comments like "ok, if you don't want to drive the times I'm suggesting then that's your choice". If she's stuck figuring out how to drive at 18yo because of it, so be it.
  3. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    That is a situation that could be taken two ways I think. Maybe you should have stuck by the original decision, maybe not. But the fact that you questioned it tells me you know it was on the line. I would just chalk this one up to one of those "whatever" times.

    But...as for her raging and yelling while driving, I told difficult child something before we went driving once. He is very bad about blowing me off when I tell him something...anything. I'm the mom, I'm stupid, he knows it all, etc. I told him flat out though...when he's driving with me, if I tell him something he needs to do/not do, he NEEDS TO LISTEN. This isn't something you can do what you want. He could hurt both of us or other people or total the car. He HAS to do what I say when he's behind the wheel. No if's, and's or but's. Once he got behind the wheel on a road the first time, he understood why I said that. In fact, he commented on how hard it was to maintain a set speed, watch his surroundings and keep the car reasonably straight.

    I don't know if that would work in your situation but you can always try it. Pick a time when she's calm and explain to her why it must be this way. If you've already done that....I don't really have any ideas other than possibly installing a driving instructor's brake pedal.

    Otherwise, if she continues to act like this...don't let her drive. If she thinks she can just run out and get her license when she's 18 without a driving test....she'll have to learn the hard way. AND she'll have to pay for the test herself.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This one could have gone either way.If you are not comfortable with it, then next time you will know to say no.

    I see that one errand was to go pick up her check.

    Is she paying for her insurance? It is pretty expensive to have a new driver on your policy. If she is NOT paying any of her insurance then she needs to start now. I would say that she needs to pay at least half of the fees, if not all of them.

    Before seh starts up the car she needs to show you a receipt for her payment that shows she is current. If she drives uninsured YOU will get the financial and legal brint of the consequences. Heck, I would be checking with the insurance co on a weekly basis to make sure it was paid for.

    Whatever happens, I hope that you are learning what options she has at age 18. college, dorm, apartment, training program, job, how long she can stay at home and under what conditions, if you need to formally evict her after she turns 18, that kind of stuff.
  5. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think it is totally fine to let her drive at that point. She changed her mind. Big deal. Yes, she did give you attitude at first, but the goal is for her to practice driving and her changing her mind helps accomplish that goal.

    My difficult child is very similar to yours. She tries to make me suffer when in fact it is her that ends up losing in the end. Yes, I did have to endure the attitude, but she would be the one that lost an opportunity.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Maybe she suddenly realized the reason she was acting grumpy was that she hadnt eaten and that she needed to get something in her tummy? I get grumpy if I dont eat.
  7. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    It sounds like that trip would be totally seperate from the stretch of road you did not want her driving on. If so, I think it is fine that you allowed her to drive. I think she had come to accept that she would not be driving home or to merge in traffic and was looking for the next opportunity to drive.

    It is typical for teens to spout off in anger about not driving when/where they want. I would however have reminded her that her previous attitude was not necessary and was not appropriate. You could have told her that in view of that, you had every right to ground her from driving for a few days. That may be a good thing to keep in mind next time she starts this behavior. Attitude is part of a driver's priviledge and if she is going to be lash out in anger about your decisions, she can not drive for 1 - 2 days while she figures out how to handle her priviledges.

    Our kids can throw things at us so fast that our reactions don't always include stopping and looking at the entire picture. You were still upset at her so when you did give in, you looked at it as her trying to manipulate you. Maybe she was, maybe she wasn't. All you can do is live and learn and have a plan in place for the next time this happens.
  8. maril

    maril New Member

    Good points.

    Maybe in her silence, your daughter realized you will stand your ground with the limits you put in place.

    My son said he'll go for his license when he turns 18 (has learner's permit now)and is well aware that he will not be permitted to drive our vehicles on his own until he has money to put towards insurance costs (which would increase when a newly licensed driver is added to the policy) and until husband and I decide he is ready for the responsibility.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2009
  9. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I would suggest that a humble attitude toward being permitted to practice driving, and toward being corrected while driving, be a requirement for difficult child to get behind the wheel. It's your car, your responsibility and your liability.

    As for changing your mind - we all have to make on the spot decisions. If something about that one bothers you, you may want to analyze it and maybe decide differently if the same situation arises again. Or you may decide you're comfortable with it. I think the bigger issue is that of difficult child understanding that driving your car is a privilege, and that she needs to respect your judgement. Don't let her confuse the issue with hints and threats about having to take the test untutored at 18. If she does that, it will have been her choice.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Going over it all slowly afterwards is a luxury we don't have in the moment. So whatever people advise now - you did what you did at the time and that's got to be OK.

    I think Janet has a strong point - she may have realised being hungry was making her unreasonably grumpy, and this is a good thing. ANY increase in self-awareness is a good thing.

    Her over-reaction to your decision (a good decision, I feel) is typical teen. Just about ALL teens react with extremes. "You NEVER let me do that!" or "I ALWAYS have to do this!"
    Just shrug and ignore. Also do what you did - explain calmly that you have valid reasons and will let her do it, but when YOU feel she is ready. Maybe you could even discuss with her how you could work towards it as a goal. If you had let her drive into that nasty intersection, it could have gone OOK, but it could also have been very nasty. She could well have panicked and frozen, or worse, had an accident. With the car off the road, when would she next get a chance to drive? And what would it do to her self-confidence? What if she or you were injured? Or someone else? How would she fell? How would you feel?
    She's a teen. Impulsive. Egocentric. And if she was also hungry, then even more unreasonable because at some level she was aware of other personal needs not met.

    She is the one who said, "OK then, I won't drive at all!"
    If she hadmaintained tat attitude al lthe way home and then regretted it, it would then have been too late. But she changed her mind while it was NOT too late and I think you did the right thing letting her drive. it was on YOUR terms (ie not through the nasty intersection) and so really, YOU won. In her mind, she may have fent she won because she got to drive.
    Therefore - it is win-win.

    Sometimes though, it's not about winning, it's about success in learning to discuss and compromise. It has been said that teen girls argue a lot, mostly to examine the issues in their own way. It sounds a lot more adversarial than they intend or would even realise. Boys instead simply sulk. But if you asked her afterwards if you ahd she had argued about driving, she may well not realise or define it as argument, simply as both of you examining the boundary conditions of her learning to drive.

    Your ultimate aim is for her to grow up to be independent, happy, productive. This is also her aim. it's just that she is the child and doesn't have experience in what it is like to go through ALL the stages of growing up. You've been there, she is still in transit. But with the big picture, you both have the same aim. Learning to drive is a small part of this. She can't accuse you of trying to sabotage her driving, can she? In which case - how and when she has her lessons, what she does and at what pace - YOU are the teacher but if she feels she is more capable than you feel she is, set up a test for her. If she thinks she is able to handle reverse parking, for example, and you don't want to risk bending other people's cars, then take her to a deserted carpark and set up some rubbish bins. Make her practice. Your idea to take her through that nasty intersection at a quieter time is a good one - so give her a date when you will do it with her. Or give her a list of driving goals she has to achieve, to earn the 'promotion'.

    A student can't learn about nuclear physics if they are still struggling with how to use a calculator. But a student who desperately wants to know more about nuclear physics can at least be shown the stages they need to learn, in order to make progress in their favourite subject.

  11. Iamwipedouttoo

    Iamwipedouttoo New Member

    Thanks for all the points of view and suggestions and input.

    I think she did have a bit of self realization there and I am going to try to stop beating myself up over every little decision and just focus on what I can do and cannot do the next time things come up.

    In this case, I think I did do the right thing. Whatever the reason for the change in her decision, she ended up making the decision I hoped she would to begin with and it was the one that would benefit her so that IS progress. I need to focus on that even if the way I saw her go about it was strange in my eyes!

    I called the car insurance again and got prices with and without good student discounts, etc. My husband is adamant he will not pay for insurance if she continues to be miserable about everything. I don't necessarily disagree but if she is honestly trying to make changes, I would like to help her. How much help she gets is yet to be discussed. Pinning my husband down to talk about these things is like pulling teeth!

    I told her I wanted to come up with a plan for her to work toward getting her license (earning drive, time, etc.) this weekend but she's blowing it off (she has more important things to do apparently).

    Thanks again, I cannot wait to see what she throws at me next (yeah, right!)!
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You od need to sit and talk with her about this. Or maybe if there is something you can do to talk to her while she is doing something else with her hands but her mind is available (for example, she could be doing her nails) you could talk then.

    Maybe the first things to talk about, are her own personal "to do" list (which should include planning her driving experience and oter necessary paperwork issues such as insurance). It's OK for her to also have on her "to do" list, doing her nails etc. But she needs to have, in her own mind, her reasons for putting things in a certain priority.

    She needs to learn the difference between "urgent" and "important". For example, homeowkr due at the end of the week is important, but not so urgent on a Monday. An assignment due first thing in the morning us both urgent and important. A play date with her best friend for a sleepver on the weekend is obviously very important to her but not urgent on the previous Monday. However, with both the homework and the sleepover, there could be some planning needed, things to do regularly in preparation (such as find the DVDs she borrowed from her friend so she can take them with her on the sleepover). These are all things she neds to learn how to prioritise.

    And of course, if she is planning a sleepover on the weekend, she needs to rearrange any other personal committments. Even the driving lessons - it's probably no skin off your nose if she chooses to not do her driving practice for a week. But it needs to be a conscious decision on her part, not simply something she forgot about in the excitement of everything else.

    Perhaps part of what she needs is to get practice in this sort of personal time management. All YOU do in thie process, is act as a sounding board and help her remember what she had said about it. "Hang on, honey - if you go to Rachel's to study on Thursday, you have your therapy session on Wednesday, your piano lesson on Monday, then there is only Tuesday left for a driving lesson after school. Did you forget about your piano lesson? Or are you OK with skipping your driving lesson for this week? Maybe we could find a way to fit it in. Can you think of a way that would work for you?"
    Don't tell her, let her think of what she is OK with. If it's unworkable you could try suggesting thta it could be a bit tricky, but if she wants to try for it, then you will support this. However, no tantrums permitted if it doesn't work out. Maybe a Plan B for the case of circumstances conspiring against her Plan A?
    If SHE owns it, then it's not your fault. If she still blames you, wait until she calms down and gently say, "This was your plan. It was a good try, I'm sorry you're disappointed in it. Now how can the plan be improved for next time? What went wrong this time, that perhaps can be taken into account in the next plan?

    THis is how we function as adults. Most kids pick this up easily. Some need help. All kids could benefit form assistance with this, but can only learn it when they're ready and capable. But continued exposure to this means that when they ARE ready, it's there for them to grab onto.

    It's your starting point. From here, they can begin to make more serious plans, more long-term plans about things you feel are more vital in their lives.

    But just as you did this time - you need to let her make her own choices, as far as possible. You can help by spreading out the range of choices she has (especially if it impacts on oter people, especially you - then of course you have a right to say, "I will allow this and this, but not that,") and with time and practice she should get a lot better at managing her time, her enegries and her responsibilities (to herself as well as to others).