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January 18, 2013

Time to set some driving guidelines

NORMAN — Q: My son is a recent recipient of a driver’s license. We took your earlier advice about enjoying the freedom it gave us, and it has, but he is so enamored with his new ability to drive that it seems that’s all he wants to do.

He wants to drive just to be driving. Can you give some hints as to how to curtail this activity?

— Paul, Oklahoma City

Dear Paul,

Of course he’s driving just to be driving … as we all did at that time in our lives. Realize that it’s not too late to set guidelines, but they need to be set as soon as possible.

Ask yourself who’s paying for the gas, the insurance and who’s car it is. Remember … you are the parent.

You have the utmost control over the car’s usage. If he’s dying to go for a drive, make it about an errand for you. He can go get toilet paper, take a sibling to an activity or pick up the dry cleaning. Let him do the things that need to be done but you don’t enjoy.

This shows you trust him and that he’s a big help to you.

If guidelines need to be set, we suggest these:

1. Allow a certain amount of money per week for gas. When it’s gone, it’s gone.

2. Mileage is to be checked weekly. This keeps kids from taking “unnecessary” road trips. You can figure out approximately how many miles per week he should be driving.

3. The different cities usually set curfews for new drivers, so he shouldn’t be out past a certain time.

4. He shouldn’t be the carpool driver for all of his friends who don’t have licenses.

Finally, if it’s your car, your gas money and your insurance money, take the keys if he can’t abide by the rules — which he should be made fully aware of ahead of time.

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