I stumbled across this great article, “Report Finds Children Follow Their Parents Driving Habits” when looking for content to post on my ApplicationBling Facebook page. (If you haven’t liked it yet, please check it out for more great articles.) Anyway, I wasn’t reading it so much to learn something, but more so to share something. After reading it, though, I did learn something, or rather had to ADMIT something. I’m a total hypocrite.
The thought of my kid’s texting and driving TERRIFIES me. Really, I can work myself up into a total stomach churning panic attack when I suspect Haley is texting when she’s behind the wheel. I know she does it. (Cal, who is 15, rats her out all the time.)
I made myself feel like a proactive responsible parent when I researched apps for her iPhone that would disable texting while the cars moving. So far, I’ve been unable to find one that’s on the market yet. (Although, some are in Beta testing.)
I’ve even lied to Haley and told her that I put an app on her phone that will report to me when she’s texting and driving, but by now, I suspect she’s figured out that wasn’t true.
I continually preach to her about the dangers. When we are in the car together and I see someone swaying from lane to lane, or slowing down and speeding up, I point out they’re probably texting and try to make Haley visualize how the erratic driving is very dangerous.
Because Haley has a special affinity for old people, I’ve even taken advantage of that and tried to give her vivid gory details of an sweet old lady dying in a horrible car wreck because some teenager veered in her lane while texting.
What I haven’t done, is stop doing it myself. Granted, I only do it when I’m at a stop light, or when no other cars are in sight. It’s usually just a brief reply yes, or no, or a series of random letters which is my code to my friends that I’m in the car and can’t text right now. Geez, that IS a text and as random or short as it may be, it’s still distracted driving, as is talking on the phone which I do all the time.
What the heck? I’m sending the worst message of all! Not only am I implying by my actions that distracted driving isn’t all that bad, I’m preaching something I don’t practice. I’ve always abhorred hypocrites, and now I can no longer deny that I am one, and the worst kind of hypocrite because it’s endangering my kids and others.
As Cal is learning to drive, I must change. And not just about texting, or talking on the phone. I need to look at how I drive, too, and try really hard to set a better example. Fear, statistics, and tricks alone won’t deter bad habits if I can’t practice what I preach. Maybe that is something we all should do. Stop being in denial and realize although our kids may not seem like they are listening, they sure are imitating.