Sanctioning stupid!

Ok, the situation. We had been away for a week, dropping the eldest at Uni. The youngest was at home, with a friend, looking after the animals.


Before we left my hubby noted the km on the odometer on the car my youngest is learning to drive. On our return the number was 34km higher than before!

As the two were taken to school they were informed that this had been noted, giving them plenty of time to think about things.


Hubby wanted to cancel her test, stop her driving for a while. I considered whether I should say she could no longer go on her next school trip.

The drive to prevent them doing the things they want, the stick as it were, is often so strong. Then I remembered my own advice. We need to sanction selfishly, in other words there is no point putting in place a punishment which also punishes you!


I sent my daughter a text "I'm interested to hear what happened, what led to it and what you were thinking about." There is always a story, and a driver (for being the driver!).


On her arrival home you could tell that emotions were high, there was a tension. Once my daughters friend was picked up we had a conversation.


Apparently it had been a very hot day, her and her friend were bored, so they decided to drive to the local river for a swim! They considered the route, using the back roads to reduce the likelihood of being stopped! They told some other friends where they were going, these friends apparently warned them that it was possibly not worth it, but they ignored this advice.


She was suitably apologetic, but equally naïve of the possible repercussions. I pointed out that the max punishment was $2,500 fine and a 12 month driver ban!


  1. To meet the financial side I have asked her to pay the insurance on the car for the next few months, ($40 a month) time frame to be finalised depending on attitude.

  2. To meet the action to cope with boredom I requested her phone for at least a week, to provide her with the opportunity to find other things to do.

  3. To meet the driving ban I let her know that practice will be to more stressful places, to remind her of the importance of being aware and focused on the job.

Then I admit I cried, and so did she. We had arrived home from a week away and on our way home we had seen a car in a ditch, with two girls standing nearby with others trying to help, I pointed out that this is the image we parents so often have in our hearts when we know what our kids are doing, let alone when we find they did something we didn't know they were going to do. My husband thought that the tears were a little harsh, I pointed out that they were completely natural! I believe the message came across loud and clear.

Lets just say the first insurance payment has been made and the phone handed over without any fuss.


We later went for a walk with the dogs, and watched some TV, the day finished with the usual hug and kiss. The relationship is important, I can only hope that the message was heard.

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