More Ask Lori and Liane
- PMS What is it and do you have it?
- Down There
- What is WRONG with me? I JUST CAN'T SLEEP!
- How do siblings stop fighting and start getting along?
- Bad Driving
- Splish Splash, time for a bath?
- The Truth about Marijuana
- Just Tired and Sad? Or is it Depression?
- An Awkward Topic
- Sister Squabbles
- Sweating and smelly, what's a girl to do?
- Boys on the Brain!
- Family Break-ups
- Understanding Cancer
- BROTHERS: why do some bully?
- Girl Talk - PERIODS
- Sisters - same genes, just not the same 'jeans'
- Sometimes I really DON'T LIKE my Mom!
- How Come I'm Not Allowed?
July 2009 Blogs
...what if it's
your own parent?
Dear Lori and Liane,
I'm scared of my Mom's driving. Last summer she did this really dangerous thing on the highway that really freaked me out. She won’t even let me tell my dad about it. She always drives way over the speed limit and complains about the "slow" car in front of her. I tell her I think she should slow down, but she just says to go with the flow. I'm worried that we might get into an accident one day. What should I do?
~ Scared Passenger, 14, British Columbia
Dear Scared Passenger,
LORI: I remember feeling the same way a few times as a passenger especially before I could drive myself. It is scary when you are in someone else's control and you don't trust their driving.
LIANE: I agree. It's very hard being in a situation where you’re at the mercy of someone else’s better judgment. Parents should be making safe decisions and as a daughter, you depend on that. But, parents are human too and sometimes they lose perspective and forget that their behavior is affecting other people.
LORI: Have you had a discussion about this with your mom? Try talking to her when she isn't driving, sometime when the two of you are alone and doing something relaxing. Let her know that her driving makes you feel unsafe and insecure. People don't like to be criticized and your mom may take it that way even with your best intentions. She may react defensively or as she is doing now, blow it off, making you seem like you are just too uptight. Let her know that you are serious about this and that it truly makes you feel afraid. Ask her what can be done to help you feel better about the whole thing. This conversation may make your mom feel insecure about herself. Try to reassure her that you love and respect her but that this behavior needs to change for you to feel comfortable with her driving.
LIANE: For some reason nobody likes to be told how to drive, hence the expression “don’t be a back seat driver!”, which means don't tell the driver how to drive. To some people, driving is a means of transportation. To others it can be somewhat like a contact sport! Your mother’s 'Nascar-style' driving may be something she’s developed over many years. She may very well be a great driver, but speed limits were created for a reason! You are scared and rightfully so.
If you feel you’ve spoken your piece, perhaps you could emphasize your point by putting little sticky notes on the dashboard that say things like “Relax”, “Slow Down” or “Precious Cargo on Board”. Sometimes the best way to make your point is through humour.
LORI: If talking to your mother doesn't help, have a talk with your dad about it and let him know just how afraid you have been. I know you don't want to go behind your mother's back but if she won't do something about it, you have to take your safety into your own hands.
LIANE: Asking you to keep secrets from your dad puts you in a very difficult position. Your dad really does have the right to know if your safety is at risk. Your hesitancy in telling him makes me think your dad would not approve of your mom’s driving style. Even if you’re afraid that it might cause a huge fight, you may consider telling him or another adult who has some influence over your mom’s behavior. Bottom line: if your mom’s not listening to you, you need to talk to an adult you trust who can help you come up with a safer means of transportation.
LORI: There are other solutions to this too... like taking rides from friends' parents, from your dad, taking the bus or riding your bike instead. Your mom may need to take a defensive driving course and when she realizes how serious you are it may be all that is necessary for her to change her driving habits.
LIANE: You certainly aren’t responsible for your mom’s behavior, but let's also consider if you might in any way be contributing to your mom’s speedy approach to life. Are you out of bed and ready on time? Do you have everything ready (homework, sports equipment) in advance so that you make it out the door on time? To help avoid the need for speed, make a point of being ready to leave early. Let mom know you’re doing this so that she doesn’t have to rush and you can enjoy a stress-free ride together.
LORI: Since Liane and I aren't actually there and we haven't heard your mom's side of the story, we only have your perspective. Regardless of the reasons for being in a rush, the bottom line is that if you feel uncomfortable with her, or any other driver for that matter, you never have to take a ride from them. There is always an alternative and this also applies to situations where a friend or family member has been drinking and wants to drive you. You may need the help of another adult but remember, there is always a solution!
LIANE: This sounds like a tough one for you. When you think about it, the roles have become a little reversed. It’s usually the parents who are worried about their children driving too fast. I guess in this day and age when we’re all doing too many things and trying to get to our destination as fast as we can, we forget to slow down and enjoy the journey. I hope your mom is able to hear you... and maybe we all need to slow down a bit!
Keep your feet on the ground!