"Do as I say, not as I do" is a classic from the parenting toolbox, but when it comes to driving it has serious reverberations. Much of what you teach your kids abouthas nothing to do with speed or caution, and everything to do with walking your talk.
A recent survey of 2,000 teens by ORC International for Liberty Mutual asked them how their parents react when called out on bad driving. Here are the five most common reactions, ranked by the percent of teens who have experienced them.
"Shut up, I pay for your car and insurance!" (10 percent)
Nice. It may be true, but probably not forever. And is that the anvil upon which you want to forge good driving habits?
"I'm in a hurry." (16 percent)
Your teen will play that same card when they come home with a ticket for texting and driving. And you'll invariably tell them it can wait but, from what you've shown, it doesn't need to.
*Silence* (20 percent)
A fifth of teens say they received no acknowledgement when they called out mom or dad behind the wheel.
"I know what I'm doing." (36 percent)
The claim of exceptionalism, long favored by those responsible for airline crashes, mine collapses and botched surgeries. Don't align yourself with that crowd.
"Yeah, you're right." (56 percent)
How refreshing. But the percentage of teens who hear it should be a lot closer to 100 percent. Acknowledging your kids when they spot your dicey driving is paying it forward to your grandkids, since they'll be raised by an open-minded, safe driver. Of course, by the time they're 16.