April 17th, 2008 04:40 EST
Hey, Glenn Brandon Burke, What Should I Do?
Hey, Glenn Brandon Burke,
What Should I Do?
(Weekly Advice Column)
Glenn Brandon Burke, M.A.Ed, is a
Motivational Speaker * Author * Columnist * Educator * CEO
And now offers a No-Holds-Barred Advice Column on your Education * Life * Career
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(Students / Inmates / Professionals / Non-Professionals / Anyone seeking advice)
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Send Questions to: gbb@TheSOP.org
Hey, Glenn Brandon Burke, what should I do?
My daughter is 15 and her boyfriend is 16, and he just received his driver’s license. She wants to go out with him driving for the first time, and it freaks me out. How do I prevent her from going driving alone with him? And will I ever stop worrying?
Worried Mom in Florida Dear Worried Mom:
Being a stepfather to two girls, 18 and 23, I completely understand your plight. First of all, you're the parent. You're not the BFF. So do not pretend to be. Just say no!
You may want to consider speaking with the boyfriend's parents and see how they feel about their son driving at night on a date with your daughter. You just might find they agree with you. If they do not, as the parent, you still have every right to say no until you feel comfortable enough with him behind the wheel. Perhaps you should have the boyfriend drive you around town (without your daughter) this weekend running errands (but pay for his gas) so you can personally judge his driving skills. And yes, I know, he'll be on his best behavior. But this way, if you trust his driving, you can call him to the mat and hold him accountable since you witnessed his cautious and defensive driving skills.
On the other hand, if he lacks the driving skills you deem acceptable to drive with your daughter, then you can logically, though your daughter probably won't care, explain why she cannot yet drive with him. As far as your second question...if you're anything like me, you'll never stop worrying. However, as your daughter matures and becomes more responsible, the worrying will lessen. It just won't go away.
Just remember, parenthood is not a popularity contest. It's about raising your children with love and with certain values they will, hopefully, take with them as they, too, become mature, responsible adults. Personally, when my children were younger, my theory was that I'd rather they hate me for being a responsible and respectful parent, than to think of me as their "cool friend." If not, they would probably hate me when they're adults because I hadn't prepared them for being responsible adults in the real world. It's all about choices!
When my 18-year-old comes home to visit from college, I begin the hardcore worrying again. But now I let her know that she's an adult and she's now 100% responsible for her actions, and remind her to make SMART CHOICES! It's all up to her. But I do still worry.
Here's my latest quote for teenagers: "I know as a teenager it's hard for you to see your life in 5, 10 or 15+ years. But trust in the fact that your choices now WILL affect your future-- be it negative or positive. So think twice and make smart choices!"
-Glenn Brandon Burke, M.A.Ed, www.GlennBrandonBurke.com