Baby, You Must Drive Your Car, Beep, Beep Yeah

Which much thanks to the Beatles for allowing me to bastardise their lyrics for the title to this post, I once again turn the key to the engine to my blog and take her out for a spin.

butterflies emergingIt’s been an intriguing nine months or so since I last put fingers to keyboard. Enough time in which to create a human being or in fact move along the timeline of parenting stages. I’ve learned that I am no longer the mother of two teenagers, but rather one teenager and one emerging adult. This leaves me bemused, happy, sad and more than a little ill prepared. So in typical Curtain Raising fashion, I’ve been pulling at the curtain chords trying to work out exactly what is required to parent an emerging adult. This in introvert speak means ordering every book published on the topic.

Actually, is parenting even the right word? Is there, in fact, a statute of limitations on the use of the word parenting when referencing an emerging adult?

Talk about holy letting go, Batman!

None of it has been easy, hence the blog down time. Trying to be humorous whilst being barraged with a whole lot of uncertainty is a bit like trying to work an Iphone with a glove on. Sometimes you just have to put the damn thing down and finish what needed to be done with the glove first.

So here I am gloves off and back with another post, once again trying to make sense of the parenting journey.

About a month ago I received a lovely email from Donna L who wrote:

As a mother with two teenage daughters, I commonly find myself referencing the information on Raising the Curtain. I wanted to give you a quick shout and let you know all of the great information and tools you have provided me to acting as responsible parent to my children. I shared your website link with my group of Moms on my Facebook page, who I know will find value in your site

This is so cool, Donna L. Bless you and your Facebook page, mother’s group and your two teenage daughters.

It’s cool because we connected and I helped you and that makes me happy.

I had no expectation of ever doing that when I started this blog for I am no parenting expert. There have been many times over the last few months of hiatus where I have thought I’m not a particularly good parent, so to receive an email like this makes the doubts a little easier to bear.

As parent, I think we all have them. And just to know that I can provide some clarity that may  muffle those nasty voices in our parenting heads is a wonderful compliment. So thankyou Donna L.

Donna also kindly asked me to write about the topic of teenage texting and driving. So, Donna, I am happy to oblige you.

I think we have all been in circumstances where you look at the person in the car next to yours and think “What the…?” Not because they are doing anything racy, but because they are doing everything but driving. I mean where in the learner’s manual does it teach you how to drive and:

  • shave
  • apply makeup
  • write with a pen and paper
  • make breakfast
  • read a book
  • get dressed?????

And that’s possibly all at the same time!!

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Is it any wonder then, that our teens are texting and driving? I mean look at all that’s been possible even in the pre digital era? Having driven in the US last year, on my Curtain Raising straw poll, the problem seems to be much more prevalent over there. It is scary what some  people will do whilst hurdling down the Interstate.

We live in a multi-tasking world and unfortunately that together with FOMO (fear of missing out) has entered our teens’ motor vehicles.

Mr Gottlieb here shares some good tips on how to talk to your teens about the issue. And talk we must, but we must also lead by example. That means when we drive we do not multitask. Otherwise when we talk to our kids, it’s just noise. Even talking on a mobile hands free whilst driving, listening to music through ear buds or so loud that it makes your doors rattle can be distracting.

So how do we teach our children to focus whilst they are in a vehicle filled with other teens? I am not a big fan of showing kids carnage to try and change behaviour. They get carnage on the nightly news, so much so they have become desensitised to it. To me the key is mateship and understanding that your actions can do lifelong damage to your mate. To do the right thing by said mate you have to deliver the cargo safely at the end of the night. Guilt is a poor substitute for friendship and no text in the world is worth that.

What’s the worst thing you have seen a driver do in a moving vehicle whilst driving?

About the curtain raiserhttp://raisingthecurtain.netI have spent my life in offices. For now I am putting that behind me and preparing for the second act. Middle age didn't come with acceptable signposts so I am making my own through my writing. A journey shared is more fun than going it solo.

9 thoughts on “Baby, You Must Drive Your Car, Beep, Beep Yeah

  1. Judy, welcome back my friend. I was thinking of you the other day, when the little koala bear you transported fell over on my desk. I would not argue with your assessment of over-texting drivers here in the US. We also have a problem with texting pedestrians who will follow the crowd into intersections when cars are coming. Worst thing – people grooming in the car while driving – make- up, shaving, hair primping, etc. I hope you have a mild winter Downunder. BTG

  2. How nice to see a post from you! And I feel your turmoil. My oldest turned 18 and graduated high school last month. My youngest is 15. It will be a shift in family balance when the oldest leaves for college in August. And as you say, it can be difficult to know how best to approach the emerging adult.

    As for the driving and texting, you’re right about parents needing to lead by example. Why should we expect kids to listen to us if we’re pulling out our cell phones while driving? We need to make them off limits while behind the wheel.

  3. Oh my gosh, Judy, I almost nixed my morning blog reads and am so glad I didn’t!! I periodically click your site thinking, “where’s Judy? i hope she’s all right …” Welcome back. These family transitions are a mixed bag, aren’t they? But they are the core and essence of why we live and love. We are entering the Puberty stage with our grandkids. I’ve ordered books galore for Hub and me so we can ‘get wise’.

  4. Welcome back. Nice to see you. Hope you come back again soon? 😮

    I saw someone reading something. It looked like a letter. I don’t believe it was directions. i have no idea why I am so sure. Ugh. Why do people not take safe driving to heart? BTW, this was no teenager. o_O

  5. Good to see you back. It’s been a long time since I’ve had teenagers around and mine are grown and raising their own kids now.

    I see an awful lot of people texting and phoning while driving which is illegal in my state. One of the funnier things I’ve seen people doing is eating out of a bowl or off a plate with a fork. It’s like why can’t they just take their time to sit down and enjoy a meal. Really it’s not that big of a time investment.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  6. I saw a woman doing counted cross stitch in the car. That takes focus, so obviously she wasn’t paying attention. I also saw some guy was balancing his checkbook. While driving. He was all over the place.

    I had the misfortune on more than one occasion of being stuck behind this one guy who drove a car with a “United States Military Academy” decal in the back window. He would read the Wall Street Journal, apparently oblivious to the fact that traffic was moving everywhere else but behind him. People honking their horns and leaning out their windows to yell at him didn’t seem to faze him. Guess that’s what they teach you at West Point…

  7. It is good to see you back in the ‘sphere.

    Texting and driving is a real danger, and every day I am reminded of that fact. Five years ago (5!) a 16 year old girl drove down our road at midnight. She passed my part of the road, which is curvy, hilly and quite dangerous. She got to a straight portion of the road, pulled out her phone, and began texting. She didn’t finish that text. Or rather she finished everything. She hit a huge oak tree, head on, on the property of some people I know. There is now a memorial at that tree. Flowers. A bench. A stone with her name etched on it. It is a memorial to stupidity pure and simple. Because the girl should not have died.

I would really love to hear what you have to say. C'mon.. you know you want to!

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