My Car, My Rules
My 17-year old daughter asked to borrow our car to go to the movies with her friends. I said sure, as long as she bought the gas. And I reminded her of our Three Rules About Driving:
— No more than one friend in the car.
— No using a cell phone.
— Always wear a seat belt.
Well, I saw her out that night and:
— There were three girls in the car with her.
— One was talking on a cell phone.
— They all had on seat belts.
One out of three is bad. Rules are rules, so I revoked her driving privileges for two weeks (it would have been a month, but she did wear the seat belt).
She is flipping out, refusing to speak to me, or when she does, it's to tell me how unfair it all is and that she is an adult. (Funny, I never heard an adult whine about how unfair life is, at least not this much.) I told her I was sorry, but it was my car, my rules and her consequences.
Of course, I feel like I'm being too strict about this. She's too old for me to "ground" her, but this is almost the same thing. "Punishing" a high school junior, especially one as responsible as she is, almost seems silly. But I just can't let it go. It's a serious matter—it's about her safety. But also it's about following rules, not just ignoring them because you think they don't matter or because you think you can get away with it.
This punishment has also shown me how much of a "taxi driver" she is. Most of her friends don't have cars of their own and have a much harder time getting their parents to share, so they've started to take her and her car for granted. It turns out I'm punishing everybody, including her friends.
I'm going to stick with it, though. Two weeks without wheels. My car, my rules.