Whether it be juvenile firesetting, near drowning or children left in a car, each of these results from a lack of parental supervision. For...

Whether it be juvenile firesetting, near drowning or children left in a car, each of these results from a lack of parental supervision. For the youngest child, it is easy to see the need for parental supervision. Parenting is a 24/7 job, with minimal time for you. Moms and dads have a great responsibility, to provide a safe and loving environment for their children to grow and prosper. Young children depend on their parents for the proper care and supervision, but I will say that the same care, guidance and supervision is necessary for your children, especially once they enter their teenage years. Children, from a very young age, want to be considered big or grown up beyond their years. Where things become difficult is when children get older and want more freedom. Freedom may be defined as their own rooms, the ability to go places without younger siblings, their own phones or, maybe even, their own cars. With these requested freedoms comes great responsibility, responsibilities that I concede that they are not ready for, without the constant supervision of aware parents. Parental supervision cannot occur without a high level of parental awareness. Creating an environment in your home where children feel free to come and tell you anything is a key piece of parental awareness. You must have set ground rules concerning these new freedoms. In other words, you, as a parent, must maintain the right to look at their phones, their computers, what they are watching on television, or when they can drive the car.

Children who get cars or have access to their parents’ vehicles is a large reason for writing this article. I am no expert on the law, where a learner’s permit is concerned, but I want to comment on what I am seeing or hearing. It was always my understanding that a person with a learner’s permit could not drive, without a licensed driver in the vehicle with them, at all times. It is only when they get their actual driver’s permit that they can drive alone.

There are also restrictions to who can and cannot ride in the car with a young driver. Again, I do not know what the laws state concerning those with a learner’s permit or someone that is 16-18 years of age and has their driver’s permit. There are far too many incidents surrounding graduation or a school dance, where children are involved in multi-fatality vehicle accidents. These situations are preventable and depend on parental supervision. Just like keeping matches and lighters out of the hands of young children, the same goes for the keys to the car, for a child that has shown no responsibility in their driving, especially when a learner’s or driver’s permit has been revoked. Even for the child who acts responsibly, why would we ever think that they possess the mental and driving maturity to drive defensively, preventing an accident at all costs? It is my contention that parents are responsible for the actions of their children until they reach the age of 18. On a different note, children who reach the age of 18, and beyond for that matter, still need parents in their lives.

Parenting is hard, especially when we are trying to teach them to be independent and solid citizens. Parents must hold onto the reigns for as long as they possibly can. We cannot see our children as a burden, a bother or as people who can take care of themselves. Our children must be taught the knowledge, skills and abilities to respond to the situations that they may find themselves in. The desire to impress friends may be great, by driving a car at a high rate of speed, only to end up in a horrific accident. A snap decision on your child’s part could end up in tragedy and heartbreak.