Our eldest daughter is about to get her driver’s license and was less than impressed that we didn’t buy her a car for her seventeenth birthday, as many of her friend’s parents did. Although we can afford to buy a car for our daughter, we feel that it is more important that she learns a life lesson of earning money so she can appreciate the hard work that goes into paying for things. We also believe she needs to learn to save for a goal and in doing so hope that she will take better care of a car that she has had to work hard to earn. Kids need to learn that not everything in life will be handed to them on a silver platter!

We did however offer to match her dollar for dollar to help her save enough money to purchase a half decent car. Our bare minimum requirements for her car were that it had to have the safety features of ABS and airbags and that it mustn’t have an excessive amount of kilometers on the odometer.

Initially my daughter’s sole condition was that the car had to be black. After searching cars in her price range her criteria widened to become anything with wheels!

After a lot of searching, my husband located a car he felt fit the criteria (although silver not black). The owners were relocating overseas and were desperate to sell (always a good sign they are keen to negotiate!). When my husband and daughter saw the car in the flesh it was grubby but ran smoothly as it been serviced regularly. My husband made it his own little project to detail the car by washing, polishing and waxing the car until it looked as close to new as it ever will.

So now my daughter has a cute little silver hatchback car that gleams and she is beyond excited about being able to take advantage of the freedom that comes with owning a car. I just hope she will treat it with TLC and keep it shiny and clean.

(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles,



I was reflecting back on a time when my daughter was about four years of age and she was mucking around in the back of the car. I had told her many times that she must keep her seat belt on and that if she didn’t I would stop the car and she would have to walk home by herself. 

That will teach her a lesson, I thought.

Ignoring my pleas, she kept sliding the seat belt over her head. So in a quiet side street, I pulled the car over to the side of the road to get her out of the car to prove that I meant business! At this point I expected her to be remorseful for not doing as she was told and beg for me to let her stay in the car. Instead she jumped out of the car and began walking along the side of the road by herself.

I now found myself in the situation where I was terrified of her being hit by a car. The whole reason I had tried to teach her a lesson was that I wanted her to be safe whilst I was driving and now I had put her out on the side of the road where she had a far higher chance of being injured – talk about jumping out of the fry pan into the fire! I had to change from yelling at her that she would have to get out of the car, to yelling at her to get in the car. With a smug smile she said she wanted to walk home by herself. As a car entered the street she was less sure of herself and finally agreed to get back in the car. 

I guess the one who was taught a lesson that day was in fact me. I learnt that there is no use in making empty threats that you won’t follow through with! Even a four year old could see through my lack of commitment to the threatened consequences and didn’t she love seeing me do a backflip!




(Photo courtesy of imagerymagestic,



I remember back to when my kids were just learning to walk. They would bump into things and were often covered in bruises. I wondered how I could keep them safe as they became mobile. Fast forward a few years and they learnt to ride a bike. I would run along behind them holding their bike seat as they wobbled, trying to get the knack of riding. They wore a helmet to protect them and I was there to grab hold of the bike if it careered towards a tree or pole. 

Now my eldest daughter has turned sixteen and has just got her learner’s permit to drive. Imagine the fear and worry you have over your child riding a bike for the first time and magnify it one hundred fold to feel what it is like to be the passenger in a car as your child takes to the roads for the first time. Easing the accelerator and brake on is a finely tuned art, as is turning on an indicator whilst preparing to turn a corner.

I must admit, I wasn’t the calmest of tutors when my voice rose an octave or two as I screamed at my daughter that when I say ‘stop’, I mean then and not as we are teetering on the edge of an embankment. I had to grab the wheel a few times to correct the car from being half up on the curb and half on the road. Furthermore, it took three attempts to park the car in the driveway (thankfully we were on a quiet one way street).

It seems that whatever stage your child is at in life, there are dangers lurking that can harm your child for the slightest error in judgement. The problem is now I’m literally along for the ride, holding my breath, hoping my daughter gets the knack of turning a corner without cutting it whilst also learning all those other fine skills that become second nature as we become experienced drivers.

I think back to the fear I had when she was learning to ride a bike and how she managed to master that without too many accidents. Now I hope wholeheartedly, like that learning process, she will soon be able to take to the road and drive safely, avoiding damage to herself, my car and of course, me!