Um, yeah, I'm ready for my driver's license.

Let’s see…

  • He processes about half the signals he receives...
  • He forgets to tell me most of what his plans are…
  • He is prone to sudden, impulsive changes of direction when walking
  • He substitutes his own judgment for those of adults and rules…
  • He’s a MALE…
  • He’s obsessed with technology, dials, gadgets, and gizmos…
And he wants us to let him get a driver’s license??? Lord help us all.
 
When our middle child turned 15, we sponsored her to obtain a “hardship” license in Texas, so that she could get to and from her swim practice, job at teaching swimming lessons, and school. It made sense. She’s uber-responsible, and both us parents travel for work, unpredictably so. She’s 17 now. She accelerates and brakes too fast, but, other than that, we’re as comfortable as we can get with the concept of her driving.
 
Clark is 15. We would no more have handed him a set of keys on his 15th birthday than given him a switchblade and suggested he play tiddly winks with it. His sixteenth birthday cometh. His grandparents have an old Tahoe with his name on it. What shall we do?
 
One option still on the table is to hold off until he is older. However, we have decided to keep that one in abeyance, in case of dishonesty. Instead, we plan this approach:
 
1. Have his doctor sternly lecture him on ADHD, meds, and driving: thou shalt consume all meds or thou shalt not drive. She’s already has this convo with him once. We will facilitate a re-chat. If he misses meds, he can’t drive.
 
2. He will attend the legally-mandated drivers’ ed program, and in addition, he will have two months driving with a parent in the front passenger seat over the summer for further evaluation and potential veto.
 
3. We will allow him to drive only to school and back, or on pre-approved short trips. He will take his younger, non-ADHD sister to school each day. Once, when they were 13 and 11, I put Clark in charge of negotiating a plane change on the way to visit their grandparents. 11-year old Suz ultimately had him paged at the airport when she needed to board and he had disappeared. He was reading a gaming magazine at a newsstand. And he’d lost his boarding pass. Susanne saved him. We’re hoping she will stabilize the home-school commute as well. And tattle.
 
4. We are installing a GPS system in the car that will alert us if he strays from the planned trip pathways, or breaks other driving laws (family or state). He loses driving privileges immediately if this occurs.
 
5. We are researching phone jamming options now.
 
The top cause of death for teens is auto accidents, and ADHD teens are at an even higher risk. Some of our rules make sense for non-ADHD teens. Other teens don’t need quite this level of hovering. Clark has ADHD. He has me for a mom. He does.
 
Countdown until sixteenth birthday: nine months.

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