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Dear Parents, Your Kids Are Watching Your Driving

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For every parent who doesn't think their kids are watching their every move...think again.

Even if they’re occupied in the back seat, fighting with one another, complaining about the music or the air conditioning or asking you for the umpteenth time, are we there yet, they’re watching.

They’re watching how you weave in and out, swerve, cram french fries down your throat. They’re watching when you curse other drivers, flip the bird, or (for heaven’s sake) text behind the wheel.

Sure, you may be great about putting on your seatbelt, but what about driving at the speed limit? Sure, you may be excellent with using your turn signal, but what about when you peek at that text message at a red light?

Your kids are watching.

As a parent, the single best education you can provide for your children is the gift of modeling. What does that mean? It means that you behave and act in the ways that you want them to behave.

We all know those do as I say, not as I do parents, right? Unsurprisingly, kids may not be listening to what you tell them- but that does not mean they aren’t watching and absorbing your every miniscule action.

I’ve always believed in the philosophy that driving represents a privilege and not a right. If we’re going to be responsible for driving around literal tons of metal, we need to be diligent and dedicated- and not just when we want to be.

We owe to ourselves, to our children, and to all the other drivers on the road. The world is dangerous enough without us being distracted and selfish.

Yes, you should be driving a safe vehicle. Yes, you should carry optimal auto insurance coverage. And, yes, yes, yes, you should be making sure your kids are belted up and fitted properly for their carseats. These are all quite obvious.

But that doesn’t take away your driving habits, and none of those layers of security can make up for haphazard driving skills.

Your kids are watching. I really, really want to emphasize that because I’ve worked around children for most of my professional life, and I have my Masters in Counseling. I’m well-versed in child psychology and family dynamics, and I understand how impressionable our children can be. They’re wicked smart- and we often don’t give them enough credit for that.

So, the next time you’re trucking them along to soccer practice or school or even to the grocery store, stop existing on auto-pilot. Stop acting so aggressively. And stop using the phone! I don’t have to be cliched or whiney: your kids lives may literally depend on it.

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