Lately I have been viewing teenagers as the driver of their own life with parents riding along. Today when having lunch with Kari we were discussing this and I realized another important truth in regards to parenting these teens.
Metaphorically, the teenager insists on driving. They are going to be in charge of their own lives. And it is important for us to ride along. They need us -- our advice, our ideas, our driving experience. But just as when they have their learner's permit, they need us to provide this direction in a calm, non-threatening matter so they are not alarmed.
The problem is, they are not going to let us drive. And this is the insight I realized today. If we don't let them drive, they will get in someone else's car.
That person might be a peer or another adult. It would be nice if it were a good mentor, and sometimes it is, but often it becomes someone who will be a poor influence on them.
And therefore, I can't take the risk. I have learned from experience that if I don't let them drive, they're going to find another car.
And I really need them to be in my car.... but not as much as they need me in the passenger's seat.