My son won’t take his driving test. Should I stop driving him everywhere?

It does sound like you are enabling him, says our elder — but check in about the root causes too.

Dear EWC

My son is refusing to study for his driver’s exam and take the permit test. I have offered help many times and asked many many many times, but he will not make the effort. He says he does not need a license. I let him know that this is part of growing up, and it is his responsibility to make the effort to do this. I need his help by him being able to drive himself to school and sports. I work full time and also have an eight-year-old to shuttle around. People have told me to stop driving him to movies, friends, etc. and at some point, he will be motivated to study for and take the test if his private free taxi goes away. His dad, my ex, is not on the same page. He thinks we need to continue to cater to him and give him rides everywhere. He thinks he may go down a bad path if he gets too mad about not getting rides and everything bad in his life will be my fault if I don’t lay off of him and just let him avoid studying or take his driving test. I told my son this year he will walk home from school and I will not pick him up since he is refusing to make any effort to do this. My son does seem to have time to watch videos on his phone two-to-four hours daily, but can’t take 30 minutes to study for the driver’s test. I think this is being selfish and lazy and is a cop-out. I don’t know what to do. Any advice?

Good-Listener replies

I tend to agree with you that continuing to cater to your son’s wishes is enabling him. Most young people can’t wait to get their license. I’m not a psychologist, so I can’t diagnose anyone, but there may be larger problems with him — and it may be worth considering getting him some counseling, even if briefly. He appears to be learning to not take responsibility — and no good comes from that. I don’t know how strong you ex’s influence is, but even if your son refuses counseling, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for you to check in with a therapist to get some support with what seems to be a growing issue.

As I said, I tend to lean towards your perception and course of action. However, not knowing if your son has other deep-rooted fears or anxieties that may be specific to driving, I can’t give the best answer. See if you can get some professional support — it may give you some better tools to handle whatever his issues are. Good luck.

Letter #: 446237
Category: Children

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One Comment

  1. Give him some time.
    My question is why doesn’t he want to drive?
    Is it global warming, getting anxious behind the wheel, etc
    Also am I add that some don’t mature as fast as others and forcing someone to grow up can make matters worse. If someone is told they have to do something or else how much effort would they put into it, how would they feel, how well would they do the job…love is better than force.
    TakeCare

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