If You're a Distracted Driver, You Can't Drive My Kid!
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My 10-year-old daughter’s friend invited her and a few other girls to go away with her family for part of spring break. They are driving to the family’s weekend home that is a few hours away. My daughter really wants to go, and I think it sounds like a great trip, but I know that the mom has a habit of texting while she’s driving. I was in her car once and it made me very uncomfortable, although I did not say anything to her.
I am not sure what to do. I do not feel safe letting my daughter drive with this woman, but it doesn’t feel right to tell her that I do not trust her driving.
Dear Nervous Mom,
I think you are sure what to do, you are just not sure how to do it. There are many things in this world that we can’t control, things that affect our children’s well-being and safety. But whether or not your daughter gets into a car with this woman is not one of them.
It seems that you already know the dangers of distracting driving, and I am willing to bet that if the driver in question were drinking while driving, you would not be questioning your reaction. Assuming I won that bet and you are now in the process of emptying your bank account in order to bring me the loot, let’s focus on how to handle this situation.
You could make other plans for your daughter and turn down the invitation. You could drive your daughter to the destination yourself and arrange to pick her up at the end of the vacation. This will most likely require an explanation and you can either do the white lie of “it’s more convenient for me/I’ll be in the area/I can’t bear to be away from my angel for that long” or you can level with the other mother. Tell her that you are very concerned about other people driving your kid because you know how prevalent distracted driving is. Of course this could be uncomfortable and awkward. She may wonder if you are accusing her, get defensive or deny that she does that.
Unfortunately, awkwardness is the lesser of the evils. Because you don’t have a choice. There is too much at stake and the conversation about driving safety is an important one to have.