Car Hunt With a Teen

We are now in the process of beginning an active search for a car for my 16-year-old daughter. We’d prefer to have something new but, since our budget won’t allow that, we’ll be going the used route. We’re lucky to be able to get some pretty good opinions. My father was an auto mechanic up until his retirement, and my younger brother does auto body work, as does my nephew. So we have some good resources.

We’ve started searching the newspaper and online, and we’ll be visiting some used car dealerships this weekend. However, this is causing some minor conflict within the family. My daughter would prefer something that looks like the picture at the top of this post. Her father and I would prefer something that looks like a Sherman tank!

It’s difficult to accept that your child will soon be driving without you in the car beside her. You’re no longer with her to give information if she has a question. You’re no longer there in case she gets in a minor fender-bender and is scared. You’re no longer there to nag at her that she’s getting a little too close to the center line or to the mailboxes on the right side of the road!

She, of course, is thrilled at the idea of driving herself to school every day. She’s even more thrilled that she’ll be able to drive herself to the movies or the mall, or out to eat with friends, without mom or dad dropping her off and picking her up.

And, naturally, we’re worried. Worried that she’ll go to the mall or to the movies, and we’ll end up getting a call about an accident. Or that the car will break down on some deserted, lonely road. Or she won’t get home on time, and we won’t be able to reach her on her cell phone, and that she’ll end up missing because someone snatched her at the mall. Or she’ll be late coming home from school and we’ll find out that aliens have kidnapped her. You know, all the normal things parents with teen drivers worry about!

My daughter has proven herself to be a safe, careful driver. She’s also responsible about calling home when she needs to, and about staying with friends and not being off anywhere alone. I know all this.

But it’s about time to give her what I consider to be a huge step toward independence, and I’m worried. In fact, I’m downright scared at times! It’s another one of those times when you now know what your own parents went through!

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