What is your "criteria" for a difficult child & learner's permit for driving?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by timer lady, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I'm seeing so many huge changes in ktbug. So much maturity. It's like everything she's been taught, all the interventions, therapy & Residential Treatment Center (RTC) stays have kicked in all at once.

    kt has been very responsible with doing her chores daily, setting up & taking her medications; she's very involved in her treatment planning & is working with her psychiatrist. kt called psychiatrist herself to check about a side effect. (Who is this child?)

    In the meantime, she is slowly, ever so slowly, earning back some cell phone privileges & is accepting the limits I put on her phone with-o arguing. Internet access is only in the kitchen when we are in there together.

    I gave ktbug $100 to shop for school clothes; she spent time with a calculator in the dressing room. kt came home with 4 new tops, 1 pair of jeans, a skirt & a cardigan sweater. Total $104 & a few cents. I covered those few dollars.

    So far she's not lost it for quite a while (except when wm visited). Earlier this spring there were issues @ school. It will be interesting to see her back at school & if she begins the "attitude" again.

    kt has asked me several times when she could learn to drive. I think she's been asking for over a year now. I told her that anger management was non negotiable. Taking her medications on time everyday was non negotiable. Grades had to improve ~ she's heading in the right direction in that area. kt passed the mandatory reading requirement for her h.s. diploma with flying colors. Way above grade average & above the state student averages.

    I'm considering signing her up for driver's education. What is your criteria for allowing your difficult child to learn to drive?
  2. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    My criteria for allowing my difficult child to get a driver's license are:

    1. Ability to manage emotions. Not just anger, but fear, sadness, worry...all the things that he can obsess about, which can severely impair his performance. Anger is a big one, but the others are also in play.
    2. Ability to focus.
    3. Ability to attend to multiple streams of information at once.
    4. Ability to make quick, sound decisions without dithering.
    5. Recognition that the right of way is not ALWAYS his, despite what his grandiosity would tell him.
    6. Ability to keep his mouth (or windows) shut, and not curse out other drivers.

    Essentially, all of my difficult child's criteria relate either to impulse control or judgement issues. So far, difficult child is nowhere near ready. Honestly, I don't think difficult child will ever be ready.

    Your kt is a different story, though. It sounds like she has made so many strides toward maturity over the last few years. It might be worth a go.
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Must be 18...we are not taking the liability of them driving

    With Eeyore, he will be 18 as a junior in high school so he will likely be getting his DL along with his classmates (a time when being 2 years older is a huge help).

    With Piglet, she may be our exception to the rule and get her DL at 16 but I'd need to see much better control of her ADD to allow her to drive after her medications wear off.

    With Tigger, I don't know, he is still only about 5-6 developmentally, so much needs to change in the next 7 years before he will be capable of driving.

    With Kanga, never. Enough said.

    It sounds like ktbug is doing great. I know that treatment teams seem to think bring sibs together is important but I disagree. She may never be able to handle a relationship with William but if she can manage the rest of her life, that is success.
  4. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    In my state, it's 16 for a permit. difficult child got his last Wed (his birthday) and will start Driver's Ed next week. He can get a senior license at 17 with DE, 18 without. difficult child, however, is NOT impulsive and doesn't lose his temper very easily. He also has excellent visual-spatial skills and a knack for seeing things in his mind's eye (he is an excellent chess player). He's not competitive (sadly, in terms of his GPA), doesn't drink or do drugs and doesn't even have a cell phone (choice, not punishment) so no driving while texting or on the phone.

    As for KTbug, who is going to teach her? My state has a program for kids in services where they will provide a trained instructor; you just provide the car. Many of oldest boy's friends learned that way. I have not participated in teaching any of my kids to drive yet and doubt I will with the rest.
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    We sent Miss KT to driver's ed, knowing she would never allow either me or Hubby to teach her. She would have had to take the class anyway to get a license before 18. She was almost 17 when she got her license. In order to be able to drive, she had to work on the anger management, be medication compliant, and maintain a B average. If she stayed involved in marching band, we would cover gas because of the amount of time required, but if not, she had to find a job.
  6. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member


    Depends on the kid - trying to leverage and manipulate behavior with ' driving lessons ' may work for some - others might resent this attempt to exhort behavior with driving lessons and the plan back fires.

    I would try to do some CPS - what would be your concerns about giving driving lessons - I can't think of many - maybe distracting from studies , beyond your budget , difficult child lacks maturity ( at home because of issues ) -out of the home difficult child may be well behaved .

    kids concerns - driving is a milestone , independence , a skill , all other kids are learning

    Brainstorm solutions whch will address both concerns , also a decision to review how things are going.

  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    In my state, a child can get their learner's permit at 15. Many of difficult child's friends already have their permits.

    We told difficult child that any driving priviledge comes with the responsibilty for driving expenses. Period.

    After figuring out that this means she will need to get some kind of regular job...difficult child has decided that she is not interested in learning how to drive.

    Fine by me.

    But, I would say that the same could hold true for your daughter. If she is responsible enough to hold down a job, and earn gas money, insurance costs plus put some money in savings toward the purchase of a vehicle...then there is no reason she shouldn't be able to learn to drive. I would not make it a priviledge you hand to her. Let her earn it herself.

    Hope this helps!
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It sounds like she has come a long way. I would probably discuss it with the psychiatrists and tdocs to get their opinions. If she can keep up the current behavior, then she would likely be allowed to drive in our home. Here, things are rather messed up because the health problems. WIz was forced to get his license after having his permit for two years and rarely attempting to drive - he was afraid to, afraid that he would hurt someone. So he had to be pushed. At 18 1/2, this summer he finally started using a vehicle on a regular basis. At least 3-4 mos after getting his license. in my opinion he liked being driven around, lol.

    Kt sure seems to have a lot of maturity, and if it is lasting, along with the other requirements, and with some about no one else in the car, rules on meeting those of the opposite sex, etc... I would think getting her permit would be reasonable.
  9. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sounds like kt is showing a lot of positive growth-she may be ready for her permit!

    My difficult child, on the other hand, yikes! I don't even want to think about it-he would have to mature a whole lot in the next 3 years and I just don't see it happening!
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    For us, the law says a child can apply for a Learner's Permit at age 16 (they have to pass a fitness test as well as a written test on road rules) and must do 120 hours of driving, including 20 hours at night, before they may sit their driving test, minimum age 17. IF they pass they have to display a red P whenever they drive for the next year (I think - they're extending it to 2 years now, I believe) and after the red P, they graduate to a green P for another year (or maybe two). The licence itself is the same colour, so the colour of the licence you show the cops if you get pulled over, or at any other time having to shoe your ID, shows your driving record. After some years of good driving on the standard licence (black) you can earn a higher colour, up to gold. Any traffic infringement, and you lose the higher level licence.

    All this means that a learner driver has a lot to achieve before they qualify. That is a big comfort to parents like us, who worry about our difficult children' ability to cope with the pressure of driving.

    What we've found - as difficult child 3 gets more driving experience, he is learning more coping skills. He is learning what to NOT worry about, and what to be alert for. He's also learning more about his own distractibility. For example, when I drive, I often have the radio on or iPod on. But we don't allow it for difficult child 3 unless he's driving under conditions where it won't be a distraction. We've only allowed it very recently at all, under any circumstances. He's driven about 35 hours now (we have to keep a log book, it's the law) and yesterday was the first time I let him listen to his favourite music as we drove. But I only let him listen once we were out of the heavier traffic. Our drive home is mostly an uncomplicated bush road, very light traffic. He was singing along as he drove, but also still able to focus and slow for the corners (some of them are nasty). However, he is realising how distracting it can be. As we came into the village I needed difficult child 3 to angle-park the car and he made no protest as I turned off his favourite music mid-song. He immediately understood. Now, before he began to learn to drive, he would have gotten angry.

    We wouldn't let difficult child 1 learn to drive at 16. What is more, difficult child 1 said at the time, "I don't think I will ever be able to drive a car, it needs too much being done at the one time and I can't multi-task." However, when he was older he said, "I think I'd like to see if I could," and as he was 21, we let him. We felt he was right in his self-assessment.

    The main problems are not so much anger management (because learning to drive, with control and support, is teaching difficult child 3 a great deal very fast about anger management) as being able to maintain control of the car and not let anger take over. it's a fine distinction. We're also finding difficult child 3 is learning more about social interaction, as the motivation of other drivers is a useful tool especially when driving in peak hour traffic. For example yesterday, we were in the centre lane of a four-lane road, but the outside lane had parked cars. At the lights the car beside us in the outside lane began to creep forward. difficult child 3 said, "I hate it when they creep forward!" (anger beginning) Then he continued, "But he doesn't want to get stuck behind a learner, plus he's trying to get ahead of me before we get to that parked car. I'll let him go. He won't hold me up."
    When the lights changed, the car beside us surged forward as predicted. difficult child 3 has become a lot more skilled at recognising the likely direction another car will go, based on his observations. It is making him a better driver a he learns the value of anticipating the traffic.

    What I suggest you do with kt, is first work out which car she would drive (and get the insurance set up accordingly) then work out who would be her instructor. Next, work out where she can learn. Quiet roads or even a farm paddock can teach a great deal. MAny Aussie kids learn to drive long before it's legal, but they never drive on the public roads, merely around the farm paddocks. The first lessons we set up for our kids, are slow driving and manouvering. The kids have to use a manual car to move forward as slowly as they can. Really slow, an inch a minute. Then set up witches hats or rubbish bins in a deserted car park, and have the child practice parking around them or between them. If the car park has marked parking spaces, so much the better.
    Yesterday afternoon as difficult child 3 laboriously parked our enormous people mover in the small village square, a couple of former teachers and parents of former classmates watched with amusement (and, I think, some measure of fellow-feeling for me!). The Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) had come to the fore and difficult child 3 was edging back and forth to ensure the car was right in the middle of the space and perfectly parallel to the marked lines on the road.

    So you can't be sure, before you start, if your child's current problems can't be turned to advantage; or, conversely, if some hitherto masked problem won't turn out to be insurmountable.

    All you can do is say to the child, "We'll try."

    husband has really rammed the following point home - "When you are behind the wheel of a car, you are in charge of a lethal weapon. YOU. MUST. Be in control."
    It is a big responsibility.

  11. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I appreciate your replies & wisdom. I've already laid out the groundwork for ktbug. She has been told repeatedly that a vehicle can be a 3 ton weapon if not respected. We've discussed while I'm driving the need for calm under all situations, the need to have her radio station at a feasible volume & the cell put away in her purse on vibrate.

    In our state there is the mandatory 30 hour class before 10 hours behind the wheel. After the 30 hours of class work kt can test for her learner's permit. This will be a step at a time with input from therapist, psychiatrist & her staff. I will be in touch with school & need to know her actions & reactions to challenging situations there as well.

    I'll be printing this thread out & keeping it for further reference. Thanks again, ladies.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    This is a great thread for reference. Thank you, Linda.
  13. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Here, a teen can get their "temps" at 15 1/2. That would make Onyxx eligible (GASP) on Friday. However... husband refused. He told her IF she maintains, keeps her nose clean, gets good grades... We'll look at it again in JANUARY. (2 months before 16...)

    She doesn't have a car to drive. She was supposed to save half of her allowance (put into her savings account) to help pay for a car. She has $78 and change.

    She doesn't have a job. And I told her - she has to pay for her own gas, repairs and insurance. AFTER she gets a car. I can see her getting a license... But... She's not driving uninsured - it is a crime here. So...

    Tomorrow is the meet with her counselor (husband and I) to discuss what she thinks & treatment options... Hmm.
  14. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    Here they get their temps at 15. But permits and licenses are suspended if they are not enrolled in school. Now that she has her diploma, she can get her permit reinstated. But, at just about 17 she does not have a license and she has to be the one to call driver's services to get her permit reinstated. They will not talk to me about anything. We are talking about getting a third vehicle since mine is almost paid off but I told her I am NOT handing my car over to her. She needs to work for an earn all of that on her own.
  15. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    When our kids started driving I laid down some rules which we kept for the other three and are now being applied to difficult child 3.

    I will maintain the car in a safe condition and, while they are learning, pay for it entirely including fuel.

    Once licensed to drive unsupervised (Learners must be supervised by a holder of a full licence sitting the front passenger seat); our laws have a points system, very low for first year drivers ('red' P), higher for 2nd & 3rd year drivers ('green' P) and more for a full licence. Traffic infringements not severe enough to rate automatic disqualification lose points until zero when you lose your licence and go back to the start. I know most places have a similar system.

    If one of my kids loses their licence in this way or if they are EVER caught driving under the influence of anything the law does not allow; they will NEVER drive a car of mine again. I also include low range drink driving for which the law only gives points, high range is a disqualification offence.

    The licensed child driving my cars is expected to keep a log of the distance travelled. Once they have gone the distance equivalent to a tank full of petrol they are expected to pay for the next fill. They also have to pay for any incidentals of the trip like tolls, parking stations, etc as they are incurred. While this doesn't cover the full costs of running a car it does reinforce the idea for them driving is NOT free and that public transport (where possible) is often a better option. All part of their education.

    Marg's Man