Moms with Teens

How to teach 16-year-old that responsibility comes along with rights
October 7, 2013 at 3:58 PM

My son has had his driver's license for almost a  year.  He drives himself to and from school, which is awesome for all of us since we don't have to get up and drive him anymore (no bus svc), and he has used the car a couple of times for his own personal use -- driving to and from a friend's house; hanging out after school, etc.  

We've allowed this, but within reasonable guidelines.

So today I asked him to drive to the store ( a mile away) to get some soup for his little sister, who is ill.  I work from home and am in a time crunch with work.  He responded that he's in the middle of something for school, which could have waited.  His general attitude is:  why can't you do it?  He's actually asked me that before in response to a request to him:  Well, why do I have to do it?  why can't you do it? 

I'm too old-school for that crap.  You do it because I told you to, and I'm your mom.  Period.  It actually infuriates me when he asks me this or responds in this way.  And I'm kind of at a loss as to how to handle it.  I took his license away, and that was fine with him (so he says.)  Then I gave his license back and told him to get his butt in that car and go to the store!  

I'm reading it as though he thinks we're equals, which I did NOT perpetuate.  I never endeavored to be his friend, and I've never been afraid to discipline him (take away privileges, such as computer and game time.)  For what it's worth, he's a bright kid -- not a genius, but bright, and I sometimes suspect that he has a touch of ODD (If it's possible to have just a touch.)  Overall, he's a good kid with good goals set for himself in life.  But he has this attitude as if he's my peer rather than my son.  I don't get it.  My husband has been much more permissive and laid back than I have been.  Maybe that plays into it. 

What would you do?


  • lucky2Beeme
    October 7, 2013 at 4:16 PM

       My kids were very young when we taught them "I will ask you once to do something " I hope you will do it. If not then I will tell you to do it and you will loose privileges."

  • wakymom
    by wakymom
    October 7, 2013 at 5:08 PM

     Does he have his own car, or does he share one w/ you? If he's using a family car, he only gets the privilege of driving it if he takes the responsibility of occasionally running an errand for you. Refusing to do so = no keys.

    Actually, the same goes for if it's his own car, too.

    Ds1 is a couple yrs away from a license, but he already knows he will be expected to run occasional errands for us, such as transporting a sibling if necessary.




  • fammatthews4
    October 7, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    My son has always known that having access to the vehicle and driving means he might have to run errands for me, and it's never been an issue.  

  • Retrokitty
    October 7, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    Instead of saying "Because I said so" try actually explaining. Tell him you do a lot for him and he can do this one thing for you. Also Try setting time limits. Taking away the "do this not attitude" can change a lot of things. I would simply say within the next 15 minutes could you please drive to the store. If he didn't for some reason comply I would use a consequence that made sense to the action. Since he didn't do something for me I would stop doing all extras for him. 

  • boys2men2soon
    October 7, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    My answer would be that his running errands for me is MY benefit to him having his license.   HIS benefit is independence, the use of MY car, MY gas and MY insurance.     If he continued to balk, I would go to the store myself....and the next time he asked for the car tell him "Sorry, that doesn't benefit me in any way.  No."

    Taking his license only works if it is made clear that he will have to find his own transportation....not have you be his taxi.

  • GleekingOut
    October 7, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    When I ask for something to be done - I want it done in MY time not your time. Although - I will say that I would've taken into account that they were already doing something and said "By (e.g) 3pm I expect you to be back from the shops with soup. If you do not have it done by then - you will not have use of the car for anything but school/work and home for 2 weeks. You will also be grounded for those 2 weeks." My child would have been gone as soon as I muttered the word 'grounded'.

  • suesues
    by suesues
    October 8, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    thats today generation set him straight now

  • juno1
    by juno1
    October 8, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    My response would be very nonchalant, "Okay, I see, you don't want to help out a family member because you don't fell like it?  it is not convenient to you?  That is not how we work in this family.  Think about all the times things aren't convenient for me, or dad and we do it anyway."  I would explain exactly as you put it above...  with rights comes responsibilty.

    I don't see this as much as a wanting to be a peer thing... I see this as a respect thing... and how one behaves in a family.  Simply put, you help each other out. I would also tell him how I felt about his refusal..."I am really disappointed that it was more important to you to (whatever it was he was doing that was more important) than to help me out of a tough situation.  Your sister was sick and I was so busy.  That wasn't a kind thing for you to do and that makes me sad."

    The next time he needs the car, I would tell him I wasn't feeling so benevolent at the moment...and maybe the next time too...and maybe the time after.   

  • Niccalyn
    October 8, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    My oldest daughter has been driving since January. We got her a car because she drives her siblings to their extra-curricular activities (dh and I both work outside the home).  When I need her to do something for me I just ask nicely and I have never gotten an argument.  I don't say "I need you to..." but rather, "Would you please..."  She will text me to let me know she is at the store and ask if I need anything.  But, she has always been a very generous, helpful girl, and also very appreciative of any gifts she receives--like her car! She seems to inherently know that she should show gratitude for generosity by always being willing and able to help. I also don't ask her to help out if I know she has a ton of homework, or is in the middle of a project, etc. I wonder if these differences between kids could be more personality-related than anything else?  It is an interesting conversation! 

  • bcauseimthemom
    October 8, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    He would have use of the car to go to and from school.  Otherwise, the keys would be in my posession.  Your son sounds like a spoiled self entitled brat.

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