Should I take back the car I gave to my 19yo son?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Lee_S, Jun 25, 2015.

  1. Lee_S

    Lee_S New Member

    My 19-year-old son just finished his first year of college, and I gave him my '07 Prius under the conditions that he
    1. Finish with a 3.0 or better GPA
    2. Have some type of job/volunteering this summer at least 30 hours a week
    3. Get his old junk car out of our driveway
    He accomplished 1 and 3, and for #2, he showed me all the jobs he applied for online and showed me 2 emails from employers who were interested in him, and said if they didn't pan out, he would take a delivery job at Jimmy Johns or a pizza place.
    I went ahead and gave him the car, and told him to register it in his name and get insurance before he took it from our driveway.
    He registered it, and when he came to our house yesterday, my wife asked him how much the insurance was... he said he never got insurance... and when I asked why, he said he didn't want to spend the money for it until he got back from his camping trip (he's now gone for 2 weeks, the Prius is in our driveway)...
    I gave him an angry lecture about the risks he was taking by driving with no insurance.. and said he had to show me physical proof of insurance before he could take the car.
    My wife disagrees... she says I should take the car back, because he's shown he's not mature enough to have a car if he's voluntarily taking that kind of a risk.
    She has a good point, but I'm wondering if he will be able get a job this summer without a car.
    I'm sure there are other options out there besides taking back the car, but right now I don't know the best way to handle this.
    Any advice is greatly appreciated.
  2. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Thats a tough one. I find it difficult to answer that simply because I never would have given my child a vehicle. And she does make an excellent point about maturity. Not sure what the laws are where you are but here you are required to have insurance, end of story. If nothing else, until he gets a job, he isnt holding up his part of the bargain.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Because you can't go backwards from what is already done... I'd say your son just added another requirement to the list: proof of insurance, which must be provided on-demand. If you can think of another logical point to add, do so (no traffic violation tickets?)
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't believe in free cars either. Is he planning on paying all the bills on it?

    If he's going on a camping trip is he going to be the driver? If so, then I'd definitely not allow him to have the car with no insurance. Is that against the law in your state? It is here with large penalty fees.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015
  5. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    It does not appear that he is showing that he is responsible enough to handle having the car. You gave a list of conditions in order for him to have the car. He has not gotten a job or set up any type of volunteer work and has left for two weeks to go camping. If it were me, I would take that car back. The part that does not set well with me is him taking off for two weeks to go camping.

    Let me also say that it's really great that he has finished his first year of college and with a good GPA. This shows that he knows what it is to work hard towards a goal.

    If there's one thing I've learned in all that I have gone through with my son it's don't "give" them anything. They need to learn what it is to work for what they want. I won't go into the long list of what all my husband and I have given our son over the years. Let me just surmise it by saying that he took advantage of everything we gave him, there was no appreciation. The only way to truly appreciate something and put value to it is if you work for it yourself.

    Wishing you all the best!!
  6. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    So he's a young man who got good grades and did (or honestly tried his best to do) what you asked. If I were Monday morning quarterbacking, I would say I wouldn't have given him the car until he actually had the job, but that's water under the bridge.

    Is it possible that he thought he was being prudent in not paying for 2 weeks of insurance when the car would just be sitting in the driveway? Even just 2 weeks of insurance for 19-year-old males is crazy expensive. Maybe he is excited about the car and just didn't fully understand the ramifications of not having insurance.

    But I'm a little said he came over to the mean driving the Prius? But the Prius is still in the driveway while he's camping? Did he take it from the driveway after you told him not to until he had insurance?

    If he did, he willfully disobeyed you. You can't go back on what you already told him, but I think there needs to be some consequences for ignoring what you told him.
  7. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    We went through the whole thing with both our sons, Difficult Child and easy child, about finding a job. One summer easy child fooled around a lot applying for jobs online wasting weeks on end, until the day we sat him down and said: tomorrow morning you need to get up and leave the house by 8 am to look for a job. Don't come home until you have one. He had one by 1 pm as a cook at steak and shake. He was 17. It sounds like you have a good kid who is playing you and of course, is still very immature. There are many ways to get to work without a car. That said, I don't think the car is the issue. I think the issue is he wants to halfway go by your rules and in my humble opinion, if he doesn't meet the established criteria, he has to live with the consequence. Every time. By doing this, you are helping him learn how to function in the real world and giving him the best gift you can ever give a young person.
  8. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    The difficult thing here is you already gave him the car. It's registered in his name. You can't, legally, take it back unless he agrees to put it back in your name. So, not much you can do there.

    But if insurance is required in your state, you CAN tell him that if you see it move without proof of insurance, you'll immediately call the police. Then he can pay the fine, impound, and insurance.
  9. Lee_S

    Lee_S New Member

    I do believe he thought he was being prudent in not paying for 2 weeks of insurance... and I'm sure it's expensive, but I don't think he realizes the gamble he took... even if he had to pay $200 for 2 weeks, it's better than the risk of getting pulled over and being cited for no insurance (in Washington, the fine is $550), or getting in an accident and losing up to $100k that he doesn't have.

    I gave him the car last week, trusting that he already had it insured (I had talked to him about this about a week earlier, and he said he'd do it). We knew he was planning this 2-week trip (in Michigan, so he would be flying there)

    Last night he came to our house and parked the Prius in our driveway, and I took him to the airport.
    (Sorry about the confusion).

    and yes, he did willfully disobey me, by telling me he'd get insurance and not doing so.
    and yes, I agree there needs to be some consequences for ignoring what I told him.

    so now I'm trying to decide what the consequences will be, and I'm planning to call or send him a text message to let him know, so he won't be blindsided when he comes back.

    Thanks "Albatross" for your input.
  10. Lee_S

    Lee_S New Member

    you're right, Lil... It's registered in his name, and I can't, legally, take it back unless he agrees to put it back in my name. What I was planning to do is park our other car in back of the Prius so he can't get out... then demand he give me the keys (I'll have to figure out what to do from there).
    I like your idea of telling him that if I see it move without proof of insurance, I'll immediately call the police.
  11. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Actually, compared to most of our kids, your son sounds very high functioning. He was successful in school and maintained a good GPA. Driving without insurance for two weeks sounds more like a stupid 19-year-old thing to do.

    Could you compromise? Take away the keys until after your son has found a job and saved up enough money for the insurance?

    I also don't think I would text him about this. I would let him enjoy his camping trip and have a sit down discussion when he returns.

    Obviously we have a lot of different opinions on this. Take what you can use and leave the rest.

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  12. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I guess we should know more about the relationship. Has he been argumentative in the past? Would he give you the keys? Are you paying his school expenses?
  13. Lee_S

    Lee_S New Member

    Hi Kathy, and thanks for your post... He has been argumentative in the past, but he does cooperate when I make a demand... I'm confident he will give me the keys and title... and yes, I am paying his school expenses, which I'm ok with because he's taking college the way, I noticed that you & your husband are math teachers... I had the same goal when I went to college.. but I failed student teaching due to lack of discipline in the classroom.. oh well
  14. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Well-Known Member

    Sorry, but I agree with Kathy here. He doesn't sound like a bad kid - sounds like a typical teenage thing to do. Most teenagers don't think about the consequences of driving without it. It IS crazy expensive. I put my daughter on our insurance because she had a hard time finding insurance on her own. It added a hundred bucks to our insurance and I bumped up the coverage.

    BUT I also agree that if I could turn back time, I wouldn't have given my daughter anything and would have made her work for it. Giving her things always backfired. Always. Now that she is clean and sober, she does not want handouts from anyone - she enjoys working for things and feeling that satisfaction. But my child was a very different child growing up.
  15. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I agree with Kathy and PatriotsGirl. I wouldn't disrupt his camping trip. It sounds like a typical 19-year-old thing to do to me.

    I don't know your son. With my daughter, the fact that she knew she had betrayed my trust was enough to devastate her. A stern talk when she got back from the camping trip would be more than enough consequence. My son couldn't possibly care less about my trust, so the consequences would have to be a lot more severe. I guess I would keep the consequences in line with what he needs to make sure disregarding your directives doesn't happen again.

    And gosh, Lee, thanks! I think we have all enjoyed discussing "normal" 19-year-old dumb things for a change!
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  16. Lee_S

    Lee_S New Member

    Thanks for all your advice... I noticed the next day there was a dent in the passenger's door..
    I picked him up at the airport, and on the way back, I first asked how the dent got there (he was backing up, and one of his buddies opened the door while it was still moving and it hit a post... at least he was honest about that).
    I told him I was taking the car back, he gave me the keys and apologized, and I told him we'd revisit this when his 2nd year is done... same conditions....
    and if he does it right, he'll get the car... with the dent in the door.
  17. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I hope you realize what a great kid you've got. Mine would have had a tantrum that would make the earth tremble! :overreactsmiley: I'm glad you and he worked it out.
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  18. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time sounds like you and he have solved this problem.

    We're here for you, and we are all thinking and hoping that his issues are just the normal bumps in the road of young boys turning into young men. Your son sounds like my older son, who is now 29 and doing great! He was always a great young man with the normal bumps and turns.

    You'll know very clearly if it starts to be something different, and we'll be here for you then too.

    So glad it is working out...
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    He sounds very much like a typical teenager with a good heart and remorse.
    I don't buy things for my kids though...I think they respect them more if they work for them, even if they are headed in the right direction.
    Good luck!!!