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I’m 16…now where’s my car?

As my daughter prepares to get her driver’s license, we’ve had a few amusing conversations around the dinner table.

The big joke is…will she drive my mini-van or my husband’s Honda CRV when she finally earns the privilege of being behind the wheel?

But, part of me thinks she was serious when she asked, “Will I get a new car?” I guess I can’t blame her. On TV, and in the movies, there’s always that scene where the Sweet Sixteen birthday girl walks out to a new red convertible.

I guess I’m just a little surprised that so many teens have this expectation that they will receive…or dare I say deserve…their own car once they get their license. That ugly word “entitlement” creeps into my vernacular. At local high schools, I am continually shocked at the high-end vehicles some teenagers are driving.


Don’t worry, she’s just pretending. Little sis along for the “ride.”

Well, I can guarantee that my daughter won’t be driving around in her own Mercedes any day soon. But the question remains…should we buy her a car?

Owning your own car is a great way to teach some of those “real world” responsibilities. Earning money to pay for gas, repairs and insurance seems like a sound way to teach some life skills. We could get her a cute little used car, just perfect for driving back and forth to school and activities. She may need some guidance on oil changes and winter tires, but hey, what better way to learn than under the watchful eye of her Dad? I’m not gonna lie…having an extra driver in the house (with her own car) could really help me out a lot.

But, then again, what’s wrong with driving the family vehicle? Is my mini-van really that awful?? Why wouldn’t she want to drive her friends to the football game in the Mom-mobile?

In my husband’s family of five kids, the oldest brother would drive the family station wagon on a Friday night and drop all the siblings where they needed to go so he could have the vehicle for a “date” night. Then, he’d have to drive all over town to pick them all up at the end of the night. It’s a running joke in their family that the oldest brother must have had the shortest dates in history!

I guess you can call me “old school,” but it just seems that buying a vehicle is something a teen should work and save up for. And, what about asking them to demonstrate a safe driving record, for at least a year or so, before we rush to put them in their own shiny new automobile?

 I still remember buying my first car…I think I was 24?  I had been working full-time for a couple of years and felt so proud when I drove my mint green Toyota Tercel off the lot. I wouldn’t want to rob my daughter of that feeling, would I??

What do you think? For a teenager, is owning their own car a rite of passage or just an unnecessary luxury?


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