Kid n’ Cars: You’re Crazy NOT to buy ’em one

Kid n’ Cars: You’re Crazy NOT to buy ’em one

Wait!  What?!?! I’m not buying my kid a car! First of all, I don’t have the money.  Second of all…

I’ve heard all the excuses.  It’s OK, I’ll wait.

Done?  Good, so let’s get started!

When I say you’d be crazy not to buy you’re kid a car, I’m not saying…

“Buy them anything they want without limitations”.  However, I will go further and say “Heck yeah, buy ’em a car they want.”

There’s a lot more of a reason than just to make your kid happy, or be the cool parent, or whatever.  The point is to teach them responsibility… and there is something in it for you.  You’ll never have so much control… again.  So, let’s talk about that.

How to punish a teen.

Ground them.  They sit on Facebook or text or watch TV.  Not much different than when they’re with their friends anyway.

Take away E-contact and you hear “Alright, good night, Dad” (unless you’re a mom… that’d be weird).

Punishments now-a-days to a teen are akin to being put on out of school detention.  Bummer!  I always hated out of school detention during the summer .  My daughter would kill for 24 hours to just sleep!

Enter the car:  “OK, Sweetie, if you don’t get all A’s, you don’t get your car.”  A light bulb just popped on, huh?  And for you nay-sayers, I did buy her a car when she turned 16 (sort of) and I did take it away until she got all A’s.  It took three weeks. 

When the Q1 grades came out, I was not at all happy! (Q1 is the last grades colleges traditionally look at).  I took the car away.  A few weeks into Q2, they were about what you see here (actually a little higher).  The biggest bump was a 77% to a 90%, but the others were good too.  They stayed up through Q3 without me having to say a word.

Sure, they’re beginning to fall off again, but I know a great way to get them back up! (although, I do let her slide a wee bit since she’s playing a sport right now… but that’s a call you can make). 

A car is a responsibility

A big one!  So, it’s not all dollars out on my part.  The deal was that I bought the car.  That was the end of the deal.  She pays for insurance.  She pays for gas.  She pays for maintenance.  With her paying everything, there begins to be some conscious thought into what she drives.  A kid cannot afford a 4-wheel drive that gets 10miles per gallon.  That’s simple math.

The learning continues!  I can’t come up with $1,600 on the fly.  You’d better believe she couldn’t either for insurance… but where I live, you have to be insured or you send your license back to the state.  Since my deal was that she paid insurance, it meant losing her license if she didn’t have the money.  You don’t think she had the money do you?

Of course not!  But, she had a month from the time the bill came in until it was due.  In that month, she found some ways (other than her part time fast food joint job) to get some extra cash.  She baby-sat and detailed cars and sold drugs.  Well, two of three.  The point is, it forced her to think out of the box when it came to making money.  She also finally realized what the word budgeting means when she gets her paycheck.  Apparently, if you spend everything you put in the bank, it isn’t really saving it.  She’s even setting a little extra aside, just in case the premium goes up.  That’s my girl!

Look at those lessons.  Buying things she can afford to keep up with.  Learning to budget and save.  Considering alternative solutions rather than borrowing money.  It’s win-win-win in my book.

**On a fun note:  I did also require that the car we got be a manual transmission.  If you missed my last post, I think it’s crucial for kids to learn to drive a stick.  Please take a moment to consider how much fun your kid has… and how they get to be uniquely them.  My cute little lacrosse playing ‘A’ student drives a manual.  Every time a boy sees what she drives they say “You know how to drive a stick?”  She loves replying “Yeah, who doesn’t?”  THAT is good clean fun.  🙂 **

Between giving me the best punishment for teenagery and setting her up for some awesome life lessons, hindsight tells me planning for her to have her own wheels when she got her license was one of the best parenting moves I made.

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