Talking about parenting: When a child turns 16

Published 4:59 pm Monday, February 24, 2020

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Chris Kovatch

We are quickly approaching the day where Jackson receives his driver’s license. He has one more class to complete at the driving school and then we will move on to the actual test. A few things about this scenario are puzzling to me.

The first one is that he turned 16 in September. 

I remember I was at the DPS office with bells on waiting for the door to open on my 16th birthday and up until recently, Jackson did not seem too concerned about getting his license. Please know that I am super concerned about him getting licensed because that means I have some assistance in the evenings running kids to practices and such.

The next thing that is interesting is that there is actually a driving test for him to take again. 

I remember when I took driver’s education when I was in high school we completed the class portion, took a written test, and then had to drive a set number of hours. The thought of having to take a test with an officer in the cars makes me nervous even 23 years after I received my license.

I have tried wrapping my head around why kids today aren’t concerned with getting their licenses. 

The most realistic answer is they have everything at their fingertips. 

When I was 16, I didn’t have a cell phone iPad, or computer where I could facetime my friends, complete research for school, or buy things I needed. I was lucky if the printer on our family computer was cooperating to print out a research paper. 

Honestly, there isn’t a huge need for teenagers to be able to drive.

Is this scenario good or bad? I guess it depends on perspective. There are less new teenage drivers on the road, but that also means that they aren’t gaining the experience to be seasoned drivers down the road. 

The situation is definitely a double-edged sword.

Jackson approaches his driving cautiously and with great concern. He does not have a carefree attitude towards it and for that I am grateful. 

A false sense of bravado is not good for a young driver to possess. 

Now if I could just contain my knee jerk reactions to his mistakes while driving, we would be good.

So, here’s to us entering the world of one of our children driving. Nerve-wracking and simultaneously full of potential we brave this new adventure. With some practice and quite a few prayers, we will navigate this new road we are on.


Chris Kovatch is a resident of Orange County. You can reach him at