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Old 03-24-2018, 10:37 PM
Location: Tucson, AZ
1,548 posts, read 1,871,714 times
Reputation: 3875


My son has no interest in driving, but we keep telling him he needs to at least get a drivers licence so he has the option to drive. He's 16 and he really has no hobbies other than drawing and browsing the internet. No sports or outside activities, he doesn't hang out with friends. He probably has deeper issues. I think hes mad at us for moving from Portland to Arizona, but we lived in Arizona previous. He has not re-connected with his old Arizona friends, and hasn't made any new ones, grades are bad. Still acts like he lives in Oregon, only talks to friends in Oregon. His grades are bad. But we have told him, "were not going back, once you graduate and turn 18 you can go back to Oregon."

Anyway, my wife and told him he needs to learn to drive, it's just a thing you have to do at some point. Some will disagree, but I know even hardcore urban dwellers get zip cars and rent cars from time to time, it's just part of being an adult.

We started out taking laps in parking lots just to figure out the car but I noticed right away my son was very inattentive. There were parking space head curbs or whatever they are called and my son was headed right for them. He seems to have zero sense of direction and it seems his spatial orientation reasoning lacking. He has about 30 hours under him but seems to be getting worse. He's okay with two lane roads in the country but as soon as the traffic pickup he gets terrified. Today, we pulled out of our street and he asked me left or right knowing we are going to a destination we have gone to at least 50 times. Then we get to the next street and gets in the left turn lane, I said where are you going. "It's left here" no it's right." and as I'm about to say well now have to go left. Without looking he just turns into the right lane without looking and a car slams on its brakes, and I said "dude, what was that?" " You said I have to go right." So then I say "okay well now the light is green so you have to go" he doesn't respond, the car behind him honks and he turns right and floors it. The car spins 90 degrees and we go over the curb into the dirt. then he just starts driving through the dirt. "What are you doing stop!" he just keep going, "I said stop." " well I'm trying to get back on the road." and then he stops and I said "I don't think today is a good day." So he gets out of the car without putting it in park. and it starts rolling forward and . You for got to put it in park he's still getting out and then falls down so I lean over and put my hand on the brake get the car into park. Then I drive us to lunch on the way to lunch he starts crying. "I hate it here, I don't want to drive, I want to go home." and I tell him the same thing I keep telling him "You can go "home" when you turn 18. for now you just need to stay the course and after you graduate you can do whatever."

My wife has better luck teaching him so I have officially handed the duties over to her.

I have some real concerns about my son, I almost feel like he has been rotting his brain away over the last 4 years. He is 16 and does not know his address, he does not know his phone number, he does not know either my wife's or my phone number, he can't identify where we live on a map, he can't identify anything on a map. I asked him if there was a way to know what direction he is heading without an electronic device. he said no. I said streets head north south east and west. He said that didn't help. I said "How about the position of the sun?" what would that tell me. I asked what direction the sun sets in, he said "the south" It's just strange, the other day he bought a computer program, and he came to me and said it wouldn't work. I looked at the requirements and the requirements were way above what his computer could handle. I told him he needed a core i7 or better. he said what does this have? I said there is a sticker on the computer he said "i5 isn't that good enough?" I said "7 comes after 5."

anyway... Im just kind of sad and mad at myself right now, it's almost like we have neglected him as parents and he has 2 years to prepare himself for the real world and I don't think he will be ready. But.. he wasn't interested in learning anything. Usually the eldest is the responsible smart one and the youngest is the crazy free-spirited one. All of my kids seem depressed, and I can't help them. They have a pool and anything they could ever want but all of them just want to bury their faces in some sort of electronic device and ignore the world. My wife does the same thing. I do too, to a certain extent. I tried leading by example, that didn't work. I tried taking away mobile devices that didn't work. My wife and I just work too much and I feel like we are neglecting our children but when we try to do things with them, it's always "this sucks, this is boring" Having 2 teenagers and pre teen is.... sad. It just makes me sad, my kids don't even interact with each other anymore. I have to constantly be on them to do their chores and even when they are doing chores they have their headphones on with their phones in their pockets. Our poor animals never get petted or played with. I always find myself trying to exercise the cat with the laser pointer. My wife takes the dog for a walk 2 times a week if that.

Obviously, there are deep problems in my family.

Long story short: Should my son keep getting lessons from my wife or should I pay to have him go to a driving school. On one hand I feel like maybe someone he can build rapport with that is not a parent would be good. On the other hand, I feel like since he does poorly in school and has such a distain for driving and seems to be unable to concentrate that I'd just be wasting money.

I'm just kind of feeling strange. I did pretty good at driving even learning to drive a stick in a month. My wife the same. My wife an I are smart people with good careers and I feel like my kids are rotting their brains, will be helpless and will try to live with us forever.
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Old 03-24-2018, 11:13 PM
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
9,496 posts, read 13,357,488 times
Reputation: 19955
I think driving is the least of your concerns right now honestly, BUT it also sounds like he has some of the same problems and fears my daughter had about driving. The difficulty with spatial perception, the inability to read maps or to know which direction is which, and maybe the difficulty with numbers making sense. (https://www.additudemag.com/what-is-...tom-breakdown/). It may be affecting his ability to judge distances and feel safe and confident about driving.
I let my daughter take drivers ed, but it wasn't a roaring success. She did eventually learn to drive when she was in her early twenties and tired of walking or taking public transportation everywhere. Took her three tries to actually get her license. She's gotten a lot better at driving over the years, but she still can't really judge distances so she tailgates like nobodies business.
I think you would be better off to let it go for now and try again at a later time.

PS, if it makes you feel better it really has very little to do with intelligence, look how many idiots are on the road, lol
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Old 03-25-2018, 04:30 AM
3,636 posts, read 9,240,010 times
Reputation: 6394
I did not learn to drive until I was 29. A drivers school was so much better than anyone I knew. They knew what was important, knew how to evaluate issues and did not have any personal relationship to interfere.

Driving is probably the least of your issues right now.

For DubbleT, those new safety devices that keep a car a certain distance from the one in front may help her in the future. We have the safety devices on our new car and they are wonderful.
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:02 AM
10,090 posts, read 6,503,366 times
Reputation: 23714
Driving is the absolutely not the issue. You really need help. A neuropsych exam for your son, a good family therapist, other community supports. You have to take your head out of the sand and start addressing the problems your son is having.

For what its worth, I am really sorry you are having to deal with all this.
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:10 AM
12,922 posts, read 19,809,103 times
Reputation: 33954
We used a driving school for our three sons. My husband didn't have a lot of time to devote to it, and I don't have nerves of steel. A good friend has a daughter who, like your son, had no interest in learning. She has Aspergers. It took three sessions spread out over 2 years before she passed the test. But the instructor was quite honest about her lack of ability to be a safe driver. I think the dispassionate critiques were worth paying for. And this young woman still refuses to drive.

I can't comment on the rest of your situation, it sounds as though professional intervention might be more important than driving lessons at this point.
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Old 03-25-2018, 01:34 PM
6,777 posts, read 2,636,042 times
Reputation: 18354
I think you need to take him back to Oregon for a week or two in the summer so he can reconnect. He sounds absolutely miserable and he needs a "recharge". Or can you invite a few friends of his from Oregon to come and stay at your house for a week and plan a lot of fun things for them to do?

I agree with those who say he needs a neuro workup, but really, he needs a chance to see his old friends and his old home. People who are displaced against their will often sink in to an irrecoverable depression. (It's true that some thrive, or have only a little hiccup).
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Old 03-25-2018, 01:41 PM
Location: Saint John, IN
10,638 posts, read 3,324,377 times
Reputation: 12748
WHY make him learn to drive and get his license at 16? He doesn't need to drive if he doesn't want to. Are you aware that once he's licensed he needs to be added to your car insurance which typically doubles when youthful drivers are added!

To me, it seems like your're only making him do this as a convenience for you.
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Old 03-25-2018, 02:50 PM
Location: Philadelphia/South Jersey area
2,288 posts, read 1,043,745 times
Reputation: 7596
My sons were 18 before they got there license. lol, I still have to be heavily medicated when they drive me
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Old 03-25-2018, 03:49 PM
Location: Surfside Beach, SC
1,794 posts, read 2,410,441 times
Reputation: 3014
Originally Posted by HighFlyingBird View Post
Driving is the absolutely not the issue. You really need help. A neuropsych exam for your son, a good family therapist, other community supports. You have to take your head out of the sand and start addressing the problems your son is having.

For what its worth, I am really sorry you are having to deal with all this.
I totally agree with HighFlyingBird about all of this. Driving is the least of your issues with your son. He seriously needs to be professionally evaluated and treated for whatever issues he is having. The things you mentioned about him are highly disturbing and I wouldn't wait another day to get him some help.

In the meantime, PLEASE keep him off the roads! He has no business driving and could very well end up killing himself or someone else.

I'm so sorry to hear about your problems and I hope you can get him and your whole family the help you seem to so desperately need.
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Old 03-25-2018, 04:46 PM
1,932 posts, read 1,161,511 times
Reputation: 9155
Sounds a bit like my son. He doesn't have a license and he's 20 (license age is 18 here). He has, like your son, other issues he's working through as well.

The difference appears to be that I recognized this and am helping him through them rather than dismissing him with a "you can go wherever you want at 18," which is essentially telling him in 2 years you simply won't care anymore. Why should he even try if you're going to give up on him? This could be what he's thinking. I bet he feels really, really lost right now... especially with the move and all. If he's awkward or quiet at school, he could be having an extremely rough time of it. When my son was 16-17, he was terrified of turning 18 because he thought he would be 100% on his own.

Don't coddle him, but don't try to force him into some perceived "supposed to" mold. Get down to the fundamentals of why he is the way he is and start chipping away at the issues. Help him make a 5-year plan that includes getting his license down the road. Stop trying to make him drive. He's going to ruin your car or someone else's life.
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