DEAR KELLY: My boyfriend and I are celebrating our 1-year anniversary next month and want to do something special. We came up with a great plan to go spend all day in San Francisco and do all the things we love to do. We researched things to do and where to eat and it was all good. But my mom won’t let us drive there because neither of us have been “official drivers” for a year. Kelly, my boyfriend, has been driving for like 10 months and is such a safe driver. My mom lets us drive around and go on dates here, but thinks San Francisco is too far. It’s not fair and I can’t believe she would stop us from going because of the stupid one-year law. All of our plans are ruined. She and I got in a yelling fight about it and I actually broke my bedroom door because I slammed it so hard.
Do you think it’s fair that we can drive around town and she has no problem with him taking me on dates or to homecoming in his car, but won’t let us go do something so special and something we have planned? My boyfriend has never gotten a ticket or had an accident. Why does she care about the law now and not before? One of my friends suggested just going and not telling my mom, but I know if I do that and we get caught it won’t be good. We’re good kids and this is ridiculous to punish us for something we’ve never even done. How can I persuade my mom that we should be allowed to go and that she needs to let me grow up and stop treating me like a little kid?
DEAR NICOLE: Talk about shooting the messenger. Your mom isn’t doing anything but following the law. She didn’t make the law, she’s just obeying it. The problem is that she hasn’t been consistent with following it and you are holding her to it. She isn’t treating you like a kid, but your temper tantrum sure feels pretty juvenile. Are you sure your actions are matching your requests?
There is a big difference in driving to a school dance or driving to the movies than driving in to a big city where you are unfamiliar with the roads and lay of the land. While you may not agree with your mom’s concerns, they feel valid and fair.
Sometimes the best laid plans need to be adjusted. The changes you have to make can prove to be silent blessings in the end. But for this to work, you have to open your mind and be willing to consider different plans or ways to make your ideas work.
Do you have to drive to San Francisco? Can you take the train in for the day? If one of your parents can drop you off at the train station and you ride the train down, no one is breaking the law and everyone feels safe. Or can one of your parents drive you in and perhaps you split up for the day, then you meet up again at the end of the day. Again, knowing there is a parent in the general vicinity may provide the safety your mom needs to give you the thumbs up.
If neither of those work, ask your mom what driving distance she would be comfortable with? Then adjust your day plans to somewhere that falls in that driving range. Find fun stuff to do locally (yes, it is very possible) and plan out a super fun day. Maybe your plans adjust to include an older friend couple who can drive you and you do a double date for the day. Or maybe his parents drive you somewhere and your mom picks you up. Be creative and you are sure to figure out something that makes for a special day.
Before you go talk with your mom, consider your attitude and give it a little gut check. Yelling at her, slamming things, calling her names or being terrible won’t get you far. Listen to her concerns and be understanding of her fears or worries. If you make this anniversary a power struggle, odds are you will lose.
Approach her maturely. Find out what will work and what she is willing to agree to. Then work from there to plan a new day that seems just as fun as the other day you hope for. Make sure you are focusing on the right thing instead of getting caught up in blaming your mom. Your main goal shouldn’t be to go to San Francisco, your goal should be to spend the day together, have fun and celebrate how you feel about each other.
Write to Kelly Richardson at Teen Talk, The Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15880, Sacramento, CA 95852, or email krichardson@ sacbee.com.