As a parent, it can be scary to put a teenager behind the wheel. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, teens are more likely than any other group to be involved in a car accident. Although it may be tempting to delay allowing your teen to get her driver's license, there are some positive aspects of teen driving. Before making the decision, asses your child individually to determine whether or not she's capable and mature enough to drive responsibly.
Teenagers crave independence. As they grow into young adults, they feel the need to spread their wings and venture farther away from the nest. Driving is an important milestone that allows teenagers to transition from childhood into adulthood independently. Having access to a drivers license means that your child can get from point A to point B alone -- and this is of major importance to most teenagers. Remember, your teen will likely be going off to college or joining the workforce in just a few short years, and being confident and independent before a major transition could be beneficial. Imagine a new driver trying to navigate a new city or college campus -- it could be completely overwhelming. This can be avoided by teaching your teen to drive beforehand so that she's comfortable with it when the time comes.
With a driver's license comes a sense of responsibility. Go over rules, crash statistics, and car maintenance with your teenager and reiterate the importance of responsibility while driving. If she feels obligated to taking care of herself, her passengers and her car, this will give her a sense of responsibility. Because your teen will likely look forward to being allowed to drive, she will hopefully take her responsibilities seriously.
Convenience is something to consider when deciding whether to let your teenager acquire a driver's license. You may be doing all of the driving for your household, but when your teen learns to drive safely, you can delegate some driving responsibilities to your teenager if you feel comfortable doing so. For example, if you usually drive your children to sporting events or practices, your teen may be able to take over that task.
Teenagers are still children and need guidance -- and sometimes disciplinary action. A proven method of controlling and altering unwanted behavior is to remove possessions or desired activities in order to change the behavior. Teens typically really look forward to driving because it is their first step toward independence. If your teen is displaying unwanted behavior, you can take away her driving privileges. While this shouldn't be the sole reason for allowing your child to obtain a driver's license, it can be a great way to encourage positive behavior and for your child to have an incentive to perform well in school or at home.