Next Step – Driving

We’re about to reach a milestone of sorts in our house.  17.0 is about to hit the roads as a solo driver.  I’ve purchased a second car, next step is driving for the older one.  Much as I did when I got them mobile phones six years ago – she’ll have to sign a contract of responsibility.

Here’s what I have so far – wondering if anyone has any additional thoughts:

Agreement for Using My Father’s Second Car

The following outlines terms and conditions Teen Driver freely agrees to, understands and acknowledges for use of the second car belonging to my father, Car Owner.  These terms as presented and agreed to should be seen as a contract between Leah and Ethan for use of the car.  Penalties are outlined herein.

Section 1 – Basic Rules

  1. The car belongs to my father, Car Owner, and my driving of it is a privilege I have earned. _____
  2. The car will be kept generally clean and in good running order at all times. _______
  3. The car will be parked either at the top of the driveway with Car Owner’s car having access to get off the drive way first or in a proper overnight parking spot. _______
  4. No more than four additional passengers are permitted in the car. _______
  5. There can be no additional drivers of the car without the express (and situationally) granted permission of Car Owner. _______
  6. House curfew will be strictly enforced. Failure to keep to house curfew will result in forfeiture of use of the car for a period of time to be determined by Car Owner. _______
  7. Teen Driver will follow and obey all traffic laws. _______
  8. Any incident related to the car or its operation will be disclosed immediately. _______

Section 2 – Car Related Costs

  1. Under terms of this agreement Teen Driver will pay monthly insurance costs of $ XX.XX _______
  2. Teen Driver is solely responsible for keeping gas in the car. _______
  3. Teen Driver is responsible for all maintenance costs of the car including but not limited to oil changes, tire rotation, tire replacement and general maintenance. _______
  4. Teen Driver is responsible for any traffic fines relating to tickets or violations. _______
  5. Should any fines or violations result in points on her license Teen Driver will pay any additional insurance costs on a monthly or annual basis. _______

Section 3 – Expected Driver Behavior

  1. Teen Driver and all passengers will wear seat belts at all times when in the car. _______

  2. Teen Driver will not use her cell phone at any time while driving. _______

  3. A ticket for texting while driving will result in loss of driving privileges for a time period solely at the discretion of Car Owner. _______

  4. Driving while intoxicated or under the influence will result in loss of driving privileges. _______

There’s not stopping the next step, driving. But at least she’ll know she has skin in the game.

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The Tween Who Would be a Teen and the Soon to be Tween

Although the difference in age between my girls has not changed (and yes I know it’s not supposed to) at this moment in time it seems like the difference is a lifetime.  11.0 is a full-fledged tween, trying hard to be a teen and 9.0 is somewhere on the outskirts of becoming a tween, but not completely sure she wants to be all that all the time…

And so we’ll go into the new year as the tween who wants to be a teen and the soon to be tween-albeit perhaps reluctantly.

While this may have been clear to people on the outside looking in, it was Chanukkah this year that made it clear to me.  As I mentioned last week, the first night’s gift was a cell phone.  With the cell phone came responsiblity.  And with the responsibility, came a contract to sign.

I’ve fielded comments pro and con my idea of a contract, and as I usually do, I did just what I thought was right-although I do agree there were some good comments made by those who think my idea was a little over the top.

But when it came to the girls.  I went over each clause with them individually.  9.0 happy to have a phone initialed each of the clauses and signed her name.

11.0 did her best to negotiate with me.  She doesn’t have the experience yet to know she should not negotiate from a spot where she has no strength.  The biggest argument she had was her friends did not have to sign a contract for their phones.

When that came up, I tried out my mother’s favorite argument from when I was growing up and made the comparison a friend’s home life, “Go move in with them,” she would say.

I probably did not say it with enough conviction, because it did not resonate with 11.0 or with me for that matter, so I quickly moved on.  I tried to point out that 11.0 really was not in a spot to negotiate terms, since I could easily take the phone and put it in a drawer.

Knowing I would do that, worked and 11.0 reluctantly signed.

But the difference in attitude is duly noted.  11.0 just short of rebellious, and 9.0 happy to have a phone.

I guess I’ll be living with a teen girl soon-and with two teen girls before I’m ready, unless of course I can figure out a way to mess with their birthdays…but that’s not likely is it?

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The Mobile Lesson In Responsibility

As 9.0 said this morning-my girls are getting a little spoiled this year at Hanukkah.  And given all that has gone on-I think it’s OK.  Or at least it’s not the worst thing that can happen.

By the way that declaration came after the first night-because they got their big present, the cell phone.

Neither of my kids had any idea a cell phone was coming their way this year.  In fact, I had told them talk to me when you are 13, but a variety of things have gone on over the last few months that made me re-think my position.

But that’s not to say it did not come with strings.  You see before being allowed to explore the features and functions of their Droid X (pictured) phones they had to sign a contract of responsibility.  Yeah, I”m like that.

Basically the contract points out what I am committed to paying for and clearly states overages are out of their money.  It also puts the onus of maintaining the device on them as well as using it responsibly.

They both have experience with losing iPod’s and DS’s devices for significant chunks of time for not following the rules and not being responsible-so they know there are consequences.  The contract though is a first.

Here’s a look at the contract:

Contract of Cell Phone Ownership and Responsibility

As part of my ongoing policy with them of teaching them social responsibility in the connected world I thought in this case it was important for them to know the rules, know what they were getting and put consequences in writing for them.

We’ll see in six months if this works-but at least they know for now what the ground rules are and they know that if there is a problem, the phone is a privileged that can be rescinded at any time and not a right of passage.

In the immediate future-look out for a text from one of both of my kids-they are slowly working their way through every mobile number they can find.

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