My fraternal twin sons recently got their drivers’ licenses. While they are overjoyed at the prospect of hitting the Open Road without Mom or Dad, I’m less than enthusiastic. Living in a major metropolitan city, driving here is downright dangerous and I’m always worried whenever they head out.
I know that every parent frets over her teenage drivers. We are all in this together! But when you are a parent to twins, there are definitely issues that singletons manage to side step. Or, as I see it, there’s The Good, The Bad, and The (downright) Ugly to teenage twin drivers.
The Good: When my twins head out in the car together, I actually feel a little better. Maybe it’s a false sense of safety but it calms me nonetheless. Why? Because I know the boy driving that night has a wingman, a co-pilot. One son drives; the other navigates. Or, more likely, one son drives, the other shouts, “Watch out for that tree!” (“Whew! Thanks Bro. I was too busy changing the radio stations to pay attention.”)
Furthermore, research shows that teenage twins tend to having greater difficultly in rejecting their parents’ values than single-born kids, especially if the family rules have been reinforced by their cotwin throughout childhood. In other words, it’s less likely that twins will go rogue (i.e. drinking and driving, texting and driving) than singletons simply because they would not only have to go against their parents but their cotwins as well. Or, researchers theorize, twins find strength in each other, making it easier to reject questionable behavior.
Whether or not this pans out is anyone’s guess. I’d like to think it does! (Humor me, please!)
The Bad: There’s only so many hours available in a week to teach your teen how to drive; sadly, twins have that time cut in half. Half the time spent behind the wheel went to Twin A; the other half went to Twin B. It was frustrating for them as well since they had to (once again) share. Learning to share was cute when you are a toddler twin but not so much when you’re a teenage anxious to learn how to drive. With the abbreviated time spent learning, it took my twins a bit more time getting comfortable behind the wheel. Furthermore, we made our twins wait quite a bit longer to get their licences (again, not very popular with our boys). We wanted to make sure they knew what they were doing before we handed over the keys.
The Ugly: Let’s talk car insurance, shall we? Ours tripled overnight from $1,400 a year to $4,200, and that’s with the “good student” discount. The thought that I’m paying more than $200 more a month so that my boys can head out on their own on a Saturday night really gets my goat. I’d rather plow that money into their college accounts (don’t get me started on that one) and have them call a taxi (that would be me) instead but they need to learn to drive. It is an important skill just like learning to swim that every child needs to master successfully. Besides, they’ve told me that I simply can’t drive them anywhere any longer. “It’s just not done, Mom.”
Anyone else feeling my pain?