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Dear Parent,

It’s the day you have been dreading for a long time. You could have never imagined this day would actually come, even though you knew it would. You wonder how your parents did it without having a complete breakdown. But now it’s your turn. It’s your turn to hand the keys to the kingdom on to your kids. Freedom would soon be in the palm of their hands and the world at their fingertips. It’s the day they finally get their drivers license.

Now, to be fair, unlike your kids, you’ve been dreading this day. They have had the day circled on their calendars (yeah right…what high school kid actually keeps a calendar) for the past few years. The thought of having you drive them to hang out with their friends is getting old. Rolling up to their friends house in their own car is their first step into adulthood.

The question is, are you ready? Not emotionally, but actually prepared? Here are a few thoughts I want to share with you parents of teenagers as you prepare for that day.

Give Your Kids Responsibilities Earlier: One of the common mistakes I see is that parents expect responsibility from their kids when they get their license, but they’ve failed to give them responsibilities early on. Developing the character trait of responsibility starts with parents expecting responsibility from their teenagers. When you give them chores, hold them accountable to completing them. When you give them boundaries for devices, have expectations that those boundaries will be met. When you give them a task to complete, don’t do it form them if it doesn’t happen, but hold them accountable to completing ht task. Developing a culture of accountability helps build responsibility in your kids. If you expect it from them when they’re 16, start expecting of them when they’re 8.

Model Good Driving: I can’t stress this enough. If you don’t want your kids to text and drive…you should probably think about how often you pick up your phone while your vehicle is in motion. If you don’t want your kid to speed (but let’s be honest, the 9 your fine 10 your mine rule only applies to adults), don’t speed. As a parent, you’ve always set a model for your kids, and driving is no different.

Develop Boundaries: Build out or completely rip off an existing drivers covenant between your kid and the parents. If you haven’t considered it yet, you should. It sets clear expectations early, provides accountability if the rules are broken, and sets the standard for your kids before they even get in the car.  If you’re looking for a few examples, here are a few. (All Pro Dad // Lysa TerKeurst // AAA )

Master the Art of the Key Toss: When you hand the keys over, have a plan. Literally, make it awesome. Walk out of the DMV, just after they’ve passed their test and wondering if you’re going to let them drive home, and then make that key toss them the most epic moment of their life. You can attempt an over the shoulder backwards toss, a sneak toss from the side as you walk by them, or even an over the car toss. Whatever you do, do it well!  I’m hoping Danny Franks will video his next key toss.

There are so many other things to say about the “day of days.” My encouragement to you is to think ahead, have a plan and develop guidelines. Handing the keys over to your kids is a huge moment of discipleship, not just a moment of transition in their life. Make it count.

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