Buying cars for our difficult children...discussion

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by MidwestMom, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This has come up lately and I thought maybe we can have a discussion about it because I don't get it.

    How many here have bought a difficult child a car, old or new? If so, why?

    Since most substance abuse or are very reckless drivers or both, aren't you afraid they'll die in a car accident? That was a huge concern of mine with Daughter. Also, she did not have her own car. She drove ours.

    So...why do they need their own car?

    Do you feel safe with them on the road?

    Am I missing something, but do you feel you SHOULD buy your kids cars?

    I have never understood this and am honestly curious as to what parents think when they buy cars or offer cars to kids who are obviously irresponsible and probably at least smoking pot or drinking? I never understood all the new cars in the parking lots at our high school. I always thought "Why?"

    The closest we have come to giving a car to any of our kids was Jumper. I gave her my van to take to college. So I guess we did give her a car, although she has to keep it up and put gas in with the money she has from school. She drives sparingly as she isn't reckless and so far never had even a dent in our car. It is actually a twelve year old van. Since my hubby is a car mechanic our vehicles last forever.

    Ok, can somebody make me understand? I really don't get it. It's not like we can trust most of our difficult children to put on their seat belts, drive the speed limit, and not have road rage.

    I am not trying to point fingers. I have always wondered about this question, not just on this forum but in real life. So many kids I know have cracked up their cars and some keep getting other ones and some don't. And, of course, a few of those I know who use drugs DO work and buy beaters and they pay their own insurance too and are a hazard on the road. I got hit by such a kid a few years ago. His parents called me and begged to settle without insurance getting involved.
  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I'll start. I bought a car for my difficult child. For a brief period of time I really thought my difficult child was trying to get it together. He and his girlfriend got pregnant and they got married and for a while he appeared to be really trying. His girlfriend's parents had let them use one of their cars but it broke down beyond repair. I was mainly concerned about my granddaughter and getting her to the Dr. for checkups. I bought a decent $4000 used Ford Explorer. I drew up a loan agreement that he signed, his payments were $100 a month. Needless to say I only got one payment. In the meantime my daughter in law became pregnant again and my son started giving me the sob stories of how hard it was to make ends meet. Then he quit his job (a long line of jobs that he has quit) My daughter in law started seeing his true colors and started calling him out on certain things he was doing like using the little money they had to buy pot and booze. He started complaining about what a nag she was and one day he said that was it and left her with two small children. That was straw that broke my back. Over the years I have put up with so much crap from my difficult child, I have forgiven him for so many horrible things, I have always been there for him and have gone above and beyond to help him but when he abandoned my daughter in law and my grandchildren that was it for me.

    I knew buying the car was a risk and that I may never get paid back. I went into it with my eyes wide open. Had it not been for my granddaughter I never would have considered it.
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  3. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    I have never bought a car for any of my children and 4 out of 5 are drivers. Babyboy will be permit eligible in 2 months and he's the last one.

    Nobody ever bought me a car, except myself, and my H actually bought his dad a car when H was 14 and his dad totaled their car in a drunken stupor. He used his paper route money.

    We let our kids use our cars, the NEWEST of which is a 1994. I joke that maybe one day I'll have a car that's from this century. Oldest boy and PC18 like driving the 8 seater van because it holds a lot of their friends. It's not a question of money, I can afford a new car but I don't want to spend my money that way. For the few times when we need to drive a long distance and our cars can't do it, I rent a vehicle. Insurance is cheaper on older cars.

    If I ever caught my kids driving drunk or impaired, that would be the end of driving my cars.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    svengali, looks like you and me think alike.

    Tanya, I'm not saying you were wrong and I get it about the grandkid as I have two. But I'm pretty sure I'd drive the Grandkid myself to the doctors before I'd buy a $4000 car for a difficult child. That's just the way I work.When my difficult child was young, I knew for a fact he'd never pay me back. He makes a good buck now and still would rather not pay his father back and his father gives him a lot of money.

    I also have long experience with difficult child. I still don't get the car obsession with people whose kids do not have any kids. Especially if they substance abuse or are plain irresponsible. I did not expect a lot of answers, but I am truly curious.
  5. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    MWM I agree with you 100% but at the time they lived 2000 miles away from me and were on the outskirts of the town they lived in.
    It was an expensive lesson for sure:(
    If anyone were to ask me whether or not to get a car for a difficult child my answer would be NO!!!
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, I hear you. Trust me, the grandchildren were a good explanation and I'm trying to understand and that made tons of sense.
  7. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    We didn't buy our son a car, but we did buy a 3rd car. The car our son was given privileges to was a 2001 SUV. This was 2-3 years ago. He was told, get a job, pay the insurance and your own gas and when you turn 18 it's yours. He never did. So then when he went to college we said, "Get good grades, get your degree, and in 2 years (it was community college) you'll get the car." He didn't. The car is now parked. He asked if we'd take payments the other day, we didn't say yes or no, but at this point I don't think we'd trust him to pay us. We might sell it cheap if he could get his own loan. That would build his credit and protect us.

    We live in a small city and the public transportation isn't great. He didn't get his license until he was like 17 or so. He walked a lot.

    But, I had a car as a my parent's name in high school, but it was still "my" car; one my brother (4 years older) drove before me and my mom drove before him. In college (2nd year) I got my own car. My parents paid for it, but I forfeited a cow and calf to them (obviously a farm kid), still...even the cow and calf had been given to me by them, so it isn't like I was out any money at all. It just kind of never occurred to me to not give my son access to a car.

    Of course, until he was 17, the term difficult child really didn't apply. He was difficult, but not really trouble.
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  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Lil, it didn't occur to me not to give my kids access to a car either. My car. My older car. And since I had two kids the same age, they had to share. I wasn't going to get a third car. Neither of them had a problem getting around and they did drive each other and pick each other up places although they didn't like each other very They had no other option if they wanted wheels. I had just divorced and was not able to even consider another car, not that I would have.

    My daughter, like the other two, had access to our car, and this was after she had been arrested once for pot. I thought, like a big boob, that she had been truthful and wasn't doing that anymore. But after she took that car on a road trip to Minnesota, drove so fast that it started on fire, and it never ran again...well, let's just say she did not drive our vehicles again. Amazingly, some of her friends let her drive and she cracked up two of their cars. difficult children seem to share a lack of common sense.
  9. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty sure at the time, Jabber was working nights and I didn't want to be home and let our son take the car and be stranded without one....which is why we got the 3rd car. Plus, both our cars were paid off, so we didn't have a car payment at the time.
  10. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I do not buy kids cars nor do they drive mine. I also do not pay for drivers ed. I can not risk being without a car. My two older kids got jobs and paid for their cars and drivers ed. They took care of their cars. They did not get a ticket, because they paid for their ins. The alternative was walk/bus.
  11. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    When my difficult child got her dad old truck it was because he was deployed and I was a single mom. We lived in the country with no bussing and a 5 mile walk to either kids school on a busy and narrow country road. difficult child was cheerleading at the time and it was just impossible. She basically used her dads truck to and from school. Eventually for more.

    Then she totaled the truck. I had just gotten a new car so I gave her access to my 2005 prius that I only drove to work. Then difficult child started becoming a real difficult child. Prior to that it was typical teen stuff I thought.

    Almost 2 years later she totaled the Prius. We live on a military base with no public transit except cabs which are very expensive. We decided to assist her so that she could keep her job but she is paying the payments or we will take it back.
  12. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    We will have to talk about this one honey.

    Nope, I had been promoted to my current position at that time. The issue was him having a vehicle when he went to college. We went to the dealership in January just to get an idea of pricing and payments and ended up buying for some reason. Still regretting that purchase.
  13. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Miss KT got her grandfather's 1977 Chevy pickup when she got her license. We agreed to pay for insurance as long as she was medication compliant, behaved like a civilized person, and kept her grades up. She would not have had a car if not for the truck being given to us when her grandfather passed. We still had rough times with her, but after she moved in with my mom for 9 months, she was much better behaved at home.
  14. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    We did not buy difficult child a car and he is still car-less. His junior year in HS he drove DHs suv at night & on the weekends as needed. During his senior year, he had full reign over husband's suv while husband drove a much older & less luxurious work van so that difficult child could have the suv 24/7. Of course it was a mistake in hindsight albeit that difficult child was a easy child then. But
    That's a whole other story.

    We actually purchased a 4th car (a well maintained 10yo Taurus w 100k miles ) in 2011 when pc20 got his license (at 16) realizing that our older boys would need to share a car that summer when difficult child returned from school. Long story short- difficult child came
    home stoned his first night home from school and never actually drove that car.

    When difficult child appeared back in our lives a two years ago, we allowed him to use husband's suv with the idea that if he paid the insurance + $100 p month- it
    would be his car. Of course, he did not
    hold up his end. husband actually just sold that beloved SUV tonight.

    The Taurus has since become pc17s to drive to and from school and work. It's so hard to live in the burbs without a car and both pcs are such joys that it's a pleasure to give them "wheels". It's also been a necessity with me back at work f/t.They've never had a conflict over who had dibs on driving it! Next year, pc20 will be a college senior & pc17 a college freshman- so p20 will have the car at school for the first time. We hope to swing a new car for easy child as a college grad gift but that's still up in the air.

    Our insurance requires anyone living in our household to be insured on our vehicles - so we will probably have to re-add difficult child if he sticks around. Ugh. But we won't tell him! We don't let him drive our cars and he seems nonchalant about it and is apparently in no rush to buy his own wheels. Baffles me, but I am glad he is not driving!
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  15. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    In my case we bought a car for easy child when she turned 18 so she could get to college classes 30 miles away and her part-time job. Before that she had established her reliability with walking to work, keeping her grades up, etc. husband and I got sucked into the "not fair" game with difficult child and bought him a car when he turned 18 as well.

    In retrospect we probably knew it wouldn't end well, but I think we as parents think of all the things that are preventing difficult children from doing what we think they are supposed to be doing. Lack of transportation certainly would have been one of his defenses if he DIDN'T have a car, but having one didn't change anything.
  16. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Cars are one of the evils of our materialistic, consumerist, polluting, corrupt dictatorship (apparently), symbols of the shallow, destructive society in which we live... my son wouldn't want me to buy him one.

    Not that I would anyway :)
  17. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My car stories:

    Oldest: When my parents stopped driving, they signed their car over to me. I let Oldest use it. Then one morning I noticed her trunk was open, so I went to close it - and found a couple of six packs in the trunk (she was under 21). I went inside and demanded the keys, meaning to take the car away temporarily as a "natural consequence." She threw such a tantrum, refusing to give me the keys, that I took it away permanently and sold it - this was a few months before she moved out (got kicked out). For a while after that she found cars through various means (one she bought at one of those high interest places, but it was repossessed, a couple were borrowed). Her license was suspended for not paying insurance and she moved downtown so she could be on the bus line, and lived that way for years. A couple years ago I made her a deal that if she would save money towards a car for three months, I'd match whatever she saved so she could use it as a down payment. I kept my promise and she bought another vehicle from a friend.

    Youngest: I bought her a cheap, old car because of doctor appts etc. after she got pregnant. I had taken too much time off work getting her to and from appts., and didn't want her using my car. Then, the car seat wouldn't fit in the back (it was an old Sentra, before car seats got so dang huge) so I sold it, used the cash down on a new car for me, let her use mine (it was paid off). She drove that until her boyfriend totaled it. The story gets too convoluted after that.

    The grandkid(s) definitely swayed my decision to give Youngest a car at first .. but taking them to appointments myself was not an option as far as I was concerned. First, because I couldn't afford the time off from work, and second, because it would start a pattern of me taking care of those kids that would dissuade her from being a responsible parent. I made her pay the insurance on the vehicle (she didn't always have enough to cover it, but she made the effort as often as she could). If she hadn't gotten pregnant, would have been a completely different story.
  18. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Off the car story but I had to comment on this. Isn't it amazing how much crap from the difficult child's we will take on ourselves but when we see them do the same crap to someone else we are finally able to step up and say "no more"?
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    And we find that whether or not we buy them transportation they still find excuses not to work, to quit a job they have, to go where they aren't supposed to be etc. And then they want gas money and drive recklessly so the car always needs repair and, let's face it, most of our difficult children are not on track to get high level jobs...maybe burger flipping at best.

    Sometimes it only gives t hem more mobility to get into trouble, as I learned. Once we took Daughter's car away she had to rely on friends and I knew, in my heart, that if anything happened, I had done all I could to prevent it. It would not be in MY car. My daughter was no more reliable when she took drugs than her friends. I did not want to be the one paying for the trouble she may get into.
  20. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    My father helped my buy my first car when I turned 17. He was salesman and drove a fleet car. After a year in fleet service, the cars were sold at auction. Because I was too young to sign a contract, he purchased the car and I made the payments to him.

    I paid the car off in two years while also paying my share of the insurance, paying for gas, and paying for all repairs and maintenance.

    I think I appreciated that car, a NICE 1 year old Chevy Impala, a lot more than my peers whose parent's bought them cars did.