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Change the Rules

The Times of Trenton
November 29, 2008
By Pamela R. Lampitt

Having a child is an anxious experience, but most parents prepare in every way possible even before the birth of their kids. They consult with doctors. They select hospitals and doctors after hours of careful study and review. They buy whatever products are needed to keep their baby strong and healthy.

When the child starts to walk, parents baby-proof the house.

They learn about their child’s school and, when their child boards the school bus for the first time, they meet the driver.

But the greatest test of parental anxiety comes much later, when teenage children take the car keys for the first time and head out onto the road. Parents who have spent years doing all they can to protect their child enter a new world of uncertainty. Where they once were able to carefully control both their kid’s actions and the outcome, parents are faced with simply having to trust that their children will make the right decisions.

As a mother of two college-age children, I know firsthand the white-knuckle experience of watching a child take off in a car by himself or herself for the first time.