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Teen Boys: The Need for Speed

What's a mother to do with a son who has a need for speed? Read how this author learned that love means knowing when to change your mind.

 

High school boys shouldn’t own cars—at least that’s what I told my first two sons.

I’ve watched enough movies to know what dangers lurk when a teenager has wheels: speed, accidents, “sex, drugs and rock and roll.”

So, when my first two sons turned 16, I stressed that we had a spare car available, and if all went well, they would retain the privilege of driving it.

Then along came my third son, the “gear head.”

As a toddler, he adored wheels and gears. His first word was “truck,” and at day care, he would “park” the push toy curbside before heading home.

He spent hours “driving” our Fred Flintstone-like plastic “mini-van,” and treated his electric jeep like a real car – checking the tires and hosing it off in the driveway.

When Son #3 was about 10, we consolidated his Christmas and birthday (Dec. 26) funds and bought him a gas-powered scooter. The kid could not have been happier.

However, he soon became bored with Scooter #1, sold it via eBay, and bought a bigger, more powerful model. Before long, he was spending his lawn-mowing profits on parts to make a succession of scooters (13 in all) faster and, seemingly, louder.

My husband and I worried that our son would never be content; that he would always search for something “better.”

Last fall, he started angling to buy a 30-year-old BMW “5-Series”; it just needed “a little work.” He had saved enough money for the car and its insurance. The fact that he was still 14 and not yet old enough for driver’s ed was of little consequence.

My husband and I reaffirmed our stand: high school boys should not own cars.

And then, one day, I had a change of heart while thinking of my brother Rick, who passed away a decade ago.

Rick had spent his middle-school years buying, improving and racing tiny “slot cars.” He soon moved on to real engines, and turned a VW-Bug into a dune buggy before he had his license.

He continued to overhaul cars throughout his teens, and, after college, moved to Hawaii to open a car-repair business and teach high school auto-mechanics.

So, who was I to prevent Son #3 from those experiences? We broke down and welcomed the old Beemer to our driveway.

To read about the first car’s short stay at our home, click here for the rest of the post. My friend and colleague  and I take turns updating our PermissionSlips blog each week.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Linda Williams Rorem June 08, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Wow -- I'm astonished to hear about the number of accidents among your soccer players. I had always heard that 16-year-old boys were at much great risk for accidents. Hopefully some of the practice (and lectures that start and end with me screaming, "SLOW DOWN!" while #3 is behind the wheel) will have an impact.
Jennifer Hagander-Luanava June 08, 2012 at 09:24 PM
This is a great reminder to treat each of our children as the individuals they are. Thanks for a great post!
Linda Williams Rorem June 08, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Thank you, Jennifer. It's easier said than done; thank goodness our children are great teachers.
John Snow June 11, 2012 at 12:29 AM
One good outlet for teens and speed is organized racing. How about getting your son into racing? There are many types and classes of racing a vehicles, and they focus on safety first before speed. But once you are racing you get a LOT of speed thrills. One example is the Sports Car Club of America, the SCCA. Try this page: http://www.scca.com/clubracing/content.cfm?cid=44473
Linda Williams Rorem June 11, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Great idea, John. He really enjoyed indoor go-kart racing while a pre-teen, but real racing training would probably be very useful once the boy turns 16. I'll check out that link.

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