Avoid sensationalism in teachable moments

A sad, cautionary tale emerged from Ohio last week with several characteristics that fit the profile of a typical teen-driver crash: car full of teens, after dark, speeding, driver loses control, car leaves roadway, seat belts not used.
   In this case an SUV flipped and landed in a pond. Six teenagers died.
   Parents hope that teen drivers will view it as an example of peer pressure leading to bad decisions.
   Teens might see it that way, unless they perceive mom and dad as overdramatic, overprotective "helicopter parents." 
   Therein lies the challenge – discussing a real-life tragedy in a teachable moment, without invoking "I told you so" tones that can alienate young drivers. Perhaps it helps to remember, as one parent said, "They're just kids doing what we all did at one time." Read the Associated Press story that appeared in The Seattle Times.

by  Jon Osterberg



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