Buy Your Kid A Crappy Car

Recently a friend of mine announced she was buying her 16 year old son a car. He’s a great kid, honor roll, polite, involved.

“Has she had much driving experience?” I asked.

“No, no just got his permit. But we’ll work on it.”

“Is it a nice car?”

“Yeah, it’s beautiful and only has 50,000 miles.” She went on to tell me about the lovely $7,000 dollar car.

At that point I thought my ear drums were going to explode. I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. “Please please please, buy him a crappy car for the first year. He’s going to bump into every thing and you’ll still be making payments.”

But I was too late, the deal was done. I think he’s  had the car for five months and there have been at least three “incidents”. He’s backed over garbage cans, bumped into fire hydrants and of course the dent on the back right door…”it happend while he was in Wal-Mart”.  I put that in quotes because all teen agers use that line when they bang up their car. 

Nobody every hits my car in parking lots but teen drivers are plagued by these evil does who bump and run.

I think the mom stopped telling me about stuff her son  hit a month or so ago cause it’s embrassing.  But the truth is  he’s normal and human and a teenager. And the pretty car is now a mess.

Here’s another teenage truth, if you buy a kid a fast car, she’s gonna go really fast. A couple of years ago a friend bought his sixteen year old son a bright green Ninja motorcycle. I think the speedometer topped out at 160.  And then my friend was surprised and furious when his son got a  ticket for going 110. Really buddy?  You know teenage brains continue developing until their mid-20s.

My kids ran into plenty of stuff, even a tree, in their first year of driving because it takes time to get good. It takes time to understand distance and speed and it takes time to develop proper reflexes, the one that tell you when to stomp on the gas or the brake in a fraction of a second. 

Mary actually totaled her first car twice in one month. And guess what, we’ve duct tapped that bad boy Ford Explorer back together and that’s the car Lexie gets on her 16th birthday.

The good news is, most of them get better. It just takes time to learn to drive….well. So, unless you have a boat load of money and you just can’t wait to spend it, buy your 16 year old something cheap, something indestructible and something with plenty of insurance.

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