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44° Good Morning

Teen driver balks at parental guidelines

DEAR AMY: Our 17-year-old daughter would like to get her driver's license. Her father and I told her several months ago that we would insist that she obtain all 60 hours of practice driving time (including 10 hours of night driving) that our state requires before she could take the driver's test. We also stated that for her to actually drive, she would need to get a C- or better in all of her classes. Now she is telling us we are unreasonable, crazy parents for requiring these things. She feels it is ridiculous to tie driving to grades (she is failing two of her classes) and that because she thinks night driving is "easier" than driving during daylight hours, she shouldn't have to complete those before she is allowed to take the test. Her older sister didn't present these issues to us when she was a young driver. Are we being unreasonable? She reads your column most mornings before heading to school, so she may be curious to read your take on the matter.

-- Responsible Mom

DEAR MOM: I am 100 percent behind your effort to produce a safe driver. Your daughter's insistence that night driving is "easier," for instance, is a perfect example of how much she has to learn.

As someone who might also be driving alongside (hopefully not into) your young, inexperienced driver, I appreciate your choice to insist that she be a more seasoned driver before taking the test.

Plus, it is the law in your state. This makes it non-negotiable.

In terms of your choice to link driving to her performance in school, driving (and using the car) should be linked to all sorts of things, including grades. It is a privilege, not a right, and it is important for a teen to demonstrate the ability to work toward a goal and achieve it.

Is your daughter working to the very limits of her ability? I hope so. If not, my only question is why you expect so little of her: A C- doesn't set a high standard.

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