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I agree with everything you have said, but I am stuck re: consequences. My husband works in a different city so he leaves Sun nite and returns Fri nite. Our 17 year old son has a car - we thought to make our lives easier. He is responsible for taking his sister to school, getting himself home from sports practices and running an occasional errand. I work full time, have little to no flexibility during the day and have two younger children who also have activities.
We did take the car away for one week and it was crazy. My younger ones were left waiting for me while I picked up Mr. 17 and then he started to get rides from friends and was showing up even later - they went to McDonalds, to someone's house, etc. When I told him not to do that he said, "I'm not the one driving. I have no control. So & so had to take Johnny home, go to the mall to pick up his new shoes, etc, etc, etc.".
You may ask what we did before he had the car. At that time none, of the kids had cars so parents carpooled. Now, since most kids have cars, there is no carpooling available.
The CAR is the greatest consequence we could impose. Especially since most of our fights are around his "excessive" use of freedom and disregard for curfews. But how do I make it work for ME!
It sounds like a compromise may be the best route to go.
On one hand, the car is your son's most valuable item, thus making it a great tool to use during consequences -- on the other hand, your life is easier when he's able to drive.
How about a partial consequence?
That is, whenever you would ordinarily like to confiscate his car for discipline purposes, is it feasible to simply put just enough gas in the vehicle for him to take sister to school, get to sports practice and run an errand - but no further? This will take a bit of calculation on your part (i.e., estimating mileage here and there). On those occasions when he abuses the partial consequence (i.e., makes a few extra stops along the way), I think you have to inconvenience yourself and park his car (1 - 3 days).
If this is not feasible, let me know and we'll come up with plan B.
My Out-of-Control Teen