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Teenagers!
Old 06-28-2012, 12:04 PM
 
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I'm sure you all have some of these....teenagers in the house. I have two...even though I consider them to be good kids, but how to handle this situation is a bit difficult. One of my sons keeps "accidentally" messing up the cars here and there. To let you know details, he got his car in which we spend over $1000.00 to fix so he can have it, took it for a road trip (in which my husband told him to baby the car in...) and the power steering and brakes collapsed. Thank God they were all safe. Regardless we had to pay $250 to go get the car towed back home. My husband told him, he has to pay us for that. Then the other day, he dented my car and said he didn't know what happened (not that big...). Then about a day ago, he parked and when he parked the front fender got broken b/c he parked to close to the concrete and the fender is too low and it came off. That will cost approx. $300. My husband told him that he has to pay for this too and that we have to drive him everywhere until he gets his brother's other car. My husband says that if he doesn't care that maybe he will care if he will transfer the title of this car to his name and he can assume 100% responsibility. If it breaks then he will have to fix it instead of good old "DAD".

My question is; is it fair the punishment we gave my son? Also, his birthday is coming up, I normally (since they are teenagers) give them money and take them out to eat dinner. Should I offer to give him money and/or take it off his balance or don't give them either one money this year just b/c of the situation?


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Old 06-28-2012, 12:24 PM
 
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Mom of teens here. I don't really see that you have punished them. Here is how I would handle it:

* Let him know the birthday money will be put towards their debt. Still take him out to dinner.

* Do NOT get this person another car (you mentioned him getting his brothers car). Sell the car he has ruined and take the money to pay off the balance of his debt. In the mean time he can ask you for a ride (in exchange for extra duties around the house) or he can walk, bike, beg rides off friends, or take the bus. Make him pay for his own car next time. DO NOT let him borrow your car unless you are with him.

We were all teens once. We all had to learn. Now and then a person may have an oops. It happens. However, his are excessive and he needs more training on driving (and parking)! you may want to have him repeat a drivers ed program during his personal time.

I think he has been careless knowing you and dad will work out a way for him to have a car. that is expecting an awful lot. Driving is a privilage not a right!
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:17 PM
 
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He is getting a sweet deal! He keeps having small accidents and getting other things to drive. He is never going to learn to be careful if he is provided with new cars to drive. Driving is a huge privilege that he is not taking seriously.

I like the other poster's idea. Take him out to dinner for his birthday, put the birthday $ towards his debt. If that doesn't cover the expenses, he can get a job or work it off around the house and then slowly allow him to prove his responsibility!

I hope this doesn't sound preachy! I have two teens myself!
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:03 PM
 
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Sounds like my 17 yr old. Recently he has been having a few oops moments (accidently hitting gas instead of break and hit a tree, tore off bumper when pulling out of the garage) This is where dh and I differ. Hubby was freaking out because of the cost. I said, it is his car, he pays for the repairs. If dh keeps bailing him out, he is never going to be more cautious when driving the car. My son has a job (actually two this summer) he can afford to pay for his mistakes.
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Responsible
Old 06-28-2012, 04:03 PM
 
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He clearly is not responsible enough to have a car. I say you simply tell him that and take the keys. He can have a car when he is 18 and can assume complete responsibility. That would be the end of the discussion in my house.


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He is...
Old 06-28-2012, 07:17 PM
 
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eighteen already and works. He is going to pay us the money he owes us but not right away he says only b/c he needs to pay for his classes and the apartment where he will live. Yes, meanwhile I have a torn fender....We do have a car that belongs to my youngest son. My youngest son bought himself another car and will be giving his old car to his brother so he can transport himself when he leaves out of town for college. My dh said that we can just transfer the title under his name and he can assume full responsibility with this car. If he breaks it he will have to buy himself a new one each time (in which he can't afford) and/or get some other types of transportation, or pay an arm and a leg to fix it up.

Just in case he can't take the car b/c my youngest son is fixing the new one he bought for really cheap, I gather my oldest son will have to ride the public bus (in which will take him 2.5 hours) to make it to the college.

I ONLY keep praying. Raising teenagers is an exciting challenge. Thanks for all the advice to all!
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Agree with Kaylu
Old 06-28-2012, 07:21 PM
 
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Take the keys. He can try again in six months or a year. Luckily his carelessness has not gotten anyone hurt. Just because the damage is small doesn't mean it's ot a serious problem.
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:25 PM
 
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Have him pay to have the car repaired; no repairs no drive the car, simple as that. Need to get to your job, ride you bike as in bicycle.

When I was in high school I walked to the public transportation bus stop, rode that to the mall for my job, changed into my uniform in the bathroom of where I worked, and my parents picked me up.
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Teen driver
Old 06-28-2012, 08:44 PM
 
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How does he treat items that he has purchased? I can tell you that my 18 yr old bought his own car at 16. He saved up his paychecks for it while riding his bike or asking for a ride in the mean time. He took pretty good care of the car. When he drove my car he did not take care of it as well.

Sounds like you want to help, but I can tell you that you may have to cut the apron strings or your son may never know how to deal with things like this on his own. These may be small incidents right now, but learning from the small ones is far easier than learning from the big ones. He is 18 and should not have to be "given" his younger brother's car. He should have to pay fair market value for it and then insure it. By all means, his name should be on the title of the car he purchases for his transportation. I can almost guarantee he will take better care of something he has ownership in.
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Tough love IS love.
Old 06-29-2012, 05:15 AM
 
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After my first wreck (totally my fault, no injuries except to my truck and a tree, no alcohol involved), my "ride" was my bike until I could pay cash for the repairs (including a new tree). I haven't had another wreck since. You don't have to keep enabling your son, you can use this to help him. What if his destructive driving habits hurt someone-including himself someday? In the eyes of the law, you wouldn't be liable, but what about in your heart?


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Old 06-29-2012, 02:45 PM
 
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My boys have really older cars that we did provide for them (Younger son's is 1990 with 200,000 miles and older son's is 1999 with around 90,000 miles). Any repairs are their responsibility. We carry required liability insurance on them but the cars are not worth comprehensive. So our method is "You wreck it, you walk." I refuse to go back to driving them everywhere.
They seem to believe me. (I'm knocking on wood really fast.)

California is not known for its public transportation but it can be done. If my older son wrecks his car, public transportation will take him to his internship, but it will take almost two hours each way. I checked on that when he had his car in for a brake repair but it was done in time. His college is quite a distance from us so I would not be able to help even if I was so inclined.
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