So, your kid just found the ‘perfect’ car for them, and they have ceased talking about anything else. Their dream vehicle has the best in this, the best in that, the color is fierce or off the hook, or…some other hyperbolic phrase you don’t really remember. They’ve checked out all the top car driver movies of all time, and all of the car listings across the internet. Should you be the cool parent, and let them go through with it? Short answer, no. Long answer, maybe. Here are some questions you might want to ask before deciding.
- How Hard Did They Work for It?
We’re not saying your teen should be logging in a 40-hour week or even that they should be working after school every day. But kids won’t understand how valuable anything is unless they have some type of first-hand experience with it (and hearing their parents complain about money doesn’t count.) This is not about how much money they’re contributing because they may have rich relatives that make their contribution far less impressive. If they’re putting in a lot of work, then their dream car seems like an adequate reward. One thing to remember though is that they really shouldn’t be allowed to empty out their bank account for this. Kids must learn to save money for rainy days ahead.
- How Safe Are They?
Unfortunately, teens aren’t known for being the most responsible drivers, and their dream car is not likely to have scored off the charts when it comes to safety ratings. No matter how much a teen wants an impractical car, sometimes it’s necessary to put your foot down. Far better that they hate you for a few months than suffer through a major accident. If you think your teen is reasonably safe on the road, then a defensive driving course can be an effective way to raise their safety awareness even higher. If they’ve already shown a love of the gas pedal, then a defensive driving course may temper that enthusiasm.
- Will They Take Care of It?
Typically, when teens are responsible enough to hold down a job and drive safely on the road, they can also be trusted to take care of their car. But sometimes kids can take things for granted without realizing it. They have no idea how much to budget for gas, for oil changes, and for repairs. What if their beloved ride chooses to just give up on them one day, or what if they didn’t realize that new engines simply don’t grow on trees. If they’ve been spotty with their possessions so far, they may end up neglecting some basic tasks they need to do to take care of their car. If your kid blows you off when you try to explain to them how much maintenance you’ve done on your own car throughout the year, they may not be ready to have their dream purchase just yet.
- How Do You Feel?
Parents talk a lot about their gut reactions, and their instincts, but it’s not all complete non-sense designed to get your kid to stop asking questions. The truth is that no one knows your kid better than you, which makes lists like these kind of silly. They’re more designed to help you make the decision in the most logical way, but chances are, you already have a side that you’re leaning toward. A dream car won’t necessarily spoil a good kid, so it’s perfectly ok to let them splurge every once in a while.