Road Daze: The Clark Chronicles

Um, yeah, I’m ready for my driver’s license.
 Let’s see…
  • He processes about half the signals he receives...
  • He forgets to tell me most of what his plans are…
  • He is prone to sudden, impulsive changes of direction when walking
  • He substitutes his own judgment for those of adults and rules…
  • He’s a MALE…
  • He’s obsessed with technology, dials, gadgets, and gizmos…
And he wants us to let him get a driver’s license???  Lord help us all.
When our middle child turned 15, we sponsored her to obtain a “hardship” license in Texas, so that she could get to and from her swim practice, job at teaching swimming lessons, and school.  It made sense.  She’s uber-responsible, and both us parents travel for work, unpredictably so.  She’s 17 now.  She accelerates and brakes too fast, but, other than that, we’re as comfortable as we can get with the concept of her driving.
Clark is 15.  We would no more have handed him a set of keys on his 15th birthday than given him a switchblade and suggested he play tiddly winks with it.  His sixteenth birthday cometh.  His grandparents have an old Tahoe with his name on it.  What shall we do?
One option still on the table is to hold off until he is older.  However, we have decided to keep that one in abeyance, in case of dishonesty.  Instead, we plan this approach:
1.  Have his doctor sternly lecture him on ADHD, meds, and driving: thou shalt consume all meds or thou shalt not drive.  She’s already has this convo with him once.  We will facilitate a re-chat.  If he misses meds, he can’t drive.
2.  He will attend the legally-mandated drivers’ ed program, and in addition, he will have two months driving with a parent in the front passenger seat over the summer for further evaluation and potential veto.
3.  We will allow him to drive only to school and back, or on pre-approved short trips.  He will take his younger, non-ADHD sister to school each day.  Once, when they were 13 and 11, I put Clark in charge of negotiating a plane change on the way to visit their grandparents.  11-year old Susanne ultimately had him paged at the airport when she needed to board and he had disappeared.  He was reading a gaming magazine at a newsstand.  And he’d lost his boarding pass. Suz saved him.  We’re hoping she will stabilize the home-school commute as well.  And tattle.
4.  We are installing a GPS system in the car that will alert us if he strays from the planned trip pathways, or breaks other driving laws (family or state).  He loses driving privileges immediately if this occurs.
5.  We are researching phone jamming options now.
The top cause of death for teens is auto accidents, and ADHD teens are at an even higher risk.  Some of our rules make sense for non-ADHD teens.  Other teens don’t need quite this level of hovering.  Clark has ADHD.  He has me for a mom.  He does.
Countdown until sixteenth birthday: nine months.
Happy New Year,
Pamela, aka Clark’s Mom

Pamela Fagan Hutchins writes the Clark Kent Chronicles on parenting ADHD wonder kids, thanks to the crash course given to her by her ADHD son and his ADHD father. She focuses on the post-elementary school years. Visit her blog, Road to Joy, but hang on for the ride as she screws up her kids, drives her husband insane, embarrasses herself in triathlon, and sometimes writes utter nonsense.

Pamela Fagan Hutchins writes the Clark Kent Chronicles on parenting ADHD wonder kids, thanks to the crash course given to her by her ADHD son and his ADHD father. Pamela is the author of the book The Clark Kent Chronicles: A Mother’s Tale of Life With Her ADHD & Asperger’s Son, and many others, like How To Screw Up Your Kids and her bestselling, award-winning Katie & Annalise mystery series, led off by Saving Grace. Visit her blog, Road to Joy, where you can buy her books in any form, anywhere. Pamela is passionate about great writing and smart authorpreneurship, as well as her husband and kids. Like Clark Kent, she also leaps medium-tall buildings in a single bound, if she gets a good running start.

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Related posts:

medication, Pamela Hutchins, teenagers ·

About the author

Pamela Fagan Hutchins writes the Clark Kent Chronicles on parenting ADHD wonder kids, thanks to the crash course given to her by her ADHD son and his ADHD father. Pamela is the author of the book The Clark Kent Chronicles: A Mother's Tale of Life With Her ADHD & Asperger's Son, and many others, like How To Screw Up Your Kids and her bestselling, award-winning Katie & Annalise mystery series, led off by Saving Grace. Visit her blog, Road to Joy, where you can buy her books in any form, anywhere. Pamela is passionate about great writing and smart authorpreneurship, as well as her husband and kids. Like Clark Kent, she also leaps medium-tall buildings in a single bound, if she gets a good running start.

13 Comments

  1. Facebook commenter suggested traffic court, which his dad made him do and which he plans to require of his own sons. He said he attended 4 sessions and learned all about fines, penalties, probation, and other negative consequences.

    Reply
  2. Holding my breath in panic. You have found some good tools to track your little wanderer. I am going to refer to this when Luke is of driving age. I'm already experiencing sheer terror just thinking about it.

    Reply
  3. Tammy says:

    Wow. I'm so not ready to process these thoughts. Sounds like you've put some well-thought boundaries and mechanisms in place. I'll be interested in hearing how it all pans out for you, and Clark.
    For now I'm hoping Joe sticks with his recent pronouncement about driving: “I'm never gonna do it. It seems too scary.”
    Good Luck!

    Reply
  4. Charlotte says:

    Frightening enough to think of our OWN kids on the highway, dashing aimlessly around but when I stop to realize how many other people's kids are out there without any sort of guidance, I'm terrified to the bone! Loved your story!! Charlotte

    Reply
  5. Tammy: good luck with Joe!

    Reply
  6. Charlotte: oh, I know! 🙂

    Reply
  7. Listol ADHD says:

    You are really doing great in helping your son with his condition. It must be hard to get used to it.

    Reply
  8. Wow, I felt anxiety grab my breathing as I read this. But, you're pretty fantastically prepared and that's the best you can hope for. (Although, the traffic court idea is fab, too.)

    Reply
  9. ryoko861 says:

    Ha. No stress there. It's these situations that I hate the most. Ok, they can feed and dress themselves…that was a relief. Potty trained? Check. Get them off to school. Check. Get all the proper immunizations. Check.

    Drivers License. Umm, not so much. 16 and 17 is too young in opinion, with or without ADHD. I still have issues with my two (doesn't help that the 23 year old totaled his truck this year). 19yo seems to feel he knows it all already and has only had his license for just about 2 years. Imagine that! I hate driving with him. I await the phone call.

    I feel your pain Pam. You have a great game plan in place! They have to understand that this isn't a game. Lives are at stake, money, property. Good luck. Keep us posted!

    Reply
  10. Great parameters, Pamela– you've clearly thought through all the potential pitfalls for Clark. He is one lucky young man! My “Clark” isn't technically or medically ADHD but he has many of those teenage boy impulses and I think some of your steps will work for us, too. Countdown to 16th bday for us is 3 months. 🙂 keep us posted!

    Reply

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