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Now let's talk about the Teen Brain: Learner's Permit
I love that you mention teen driving in an article on teen dating! The desire for both happens well before they are mature or responsible enough, let alone "have permission."
The appropriate age for dating is complicated. Just because a teen turns 16 and is legally allowed to drive, does not mean they are mature enough to handle a two-ton vehicle going 10 miles per hour on the freeway.
The teen brain is not fully developed. Their synapses are not firing on all cylinders. They are not defective – they are just missing parts.
The state mandates that parents are part of the learning curve in driving because WE have a fully developed pre-frontal cortex and can warn our child when they head the wrong way down a one-way street.
With teen pregnancies, teens dating under the influence of drugs and alcohol and teen dating violence and abuse, our teens are headed for a teen dating crisis and need healthy boundary lines to stay on the right road.
Very few teens fail Driver’s Ed – millions fail at dating.
When I coach parents, what I see most often is what I call, "airbag parenting" – deployment after the fact and not always effective.
If we stand on the porch and wave as they pull away from the curb for the first time without any guidance or instruction, we can expect a call when there is an accident.
Safe teen dating does not happen by accident!