How Teens Can Convince Parents to Get Their License

Teen Driver
••• Getty Images/Shannon Fagan

Here's the situation: You're 15 or 16 years old, you've probably completed a driver's education course at your high school, you have maybe even have taken a driver's training program. You've done everything required to go for your driver's license, but there's one thing standing in your way. 

One big thing. Or possibly two big things. Your parents. Regardless of the fact that you are qualified to get your license, they just don't think you're ready for the responsibility of handling a two-ton machine capable of traveling at speeds of up to... well, really fast. 

Your friends all have licenses, thanks to their reasonable parents, and it's simply just not fair that you have been left behind. Literally. Left behind. Relax. Take a deep breath.

Take Classes

Not to convince your parents. I am talking about the actual driver's education and driver's training classes. I'm assuming, of course, that you haven't already taken some. In many places they are mandatory, but in some, they are not, or maybe not even offered. If you can sign up for a driver's class at school, do it. 

If only private courses are available, find out all you can about them (including the price) and hit your parents up. Be sure to point out that, in many cases, completing a driver's education course means a discount on their ​insurance. It's a good way to convince them that being a safe driver is as important to you as it is to them. At the very least, they will be impressed by your initiative.

If you offer to pay for the classes with income from a summer job or leftover birthday money, it will go a long way towards showing your parents that you are serious about learning how to properly drive – and just maybe, that you are responsible enough to do it.

Pay For Insurance

Find out how much it is going to cost your parents to add you to their auto insurance policy and then earn some money. Aim toward accumulating the equivalent of, say, three to six months of the additional cost. This one works on several levels. First of all, just the act of finding a job, earning some money and saving it shows a general sense of responsibility. 

Second, it is a good way to argue that you intend to take the privilege of driving seriously. And finally, it saves them money. Trust me, that one is bigger than you think. Hint: If you can, keep the whole thing a secret until you have got all of the cash earned, then hit them with it. Salesmen call this "maximizing your impact." And you are trying to sell your parents on the idea of letting you get your license, are not you?

Be Persuasive

Speaking of sales, there are few better ways to make your case for a driver's license than by putting together an actual presentation. No kidding. Set down on paper a list of the reasons why you are ready to drive. Nice, short and to the point. Then use your laptop to create some powerful graphics, add the right music, maybe even some video, etc. 

It can be amusing, even funny in places, but do not be silly. Give them a set of good, solid reasons. You want your parents to see you as mature and responsible, right? Hint: Add a section where you ask, "What are the concerns that keep you from letting me get my license?" Try to anticipate their answers and have your responses loaded into your presentation. Then pop them up at the appropriate time. That will impress them.

Nothing will ruin your persuasive powers faster than throwing a fit, whining, or sulking. After all, you’re trying to prove you’re an adult ready for the road, aren’t you?

Offer Your Parents a Bribe

This isn't as insidious as it sounds. Think of it as a bargaining process. You want something (namely, your license) and you are willing to give them something in return. We've already mentioned the best bribe you can offer, paying for your insurance. But there are plenty of others. I'd suggest a few, but I don't know your parents. 

Think out of the box and come up with some ideas that would be uniquely appealing to them. Just be sure it's not something that they expect you to do already, like keeping your room clean, doing your homework, walking the dog, cooking dinner every night, etc. 

Promising to do stuff that you are already supposed to do, only without complaining, will not cut it.

And finally...

Be Annoying

This is as insidious as it sounds. Really. I suggest you use this one only if the other four have failed. Here's what you do. Make sure to schedule all of your extracurricular activities, all of those things that require your parents to chauffeur you around (soccer practice, dance class, choir rehearsal, after-school job), at those times most inconvenient for them. Make it nearly impossible to be on time for anything else. Sooner or later it will dawn on them: they could avoid all of the hassles by just letting you drive yourself. 

Of course, part of being a busy teenager means that you might manage to have this sort of “annoying” schedule without even trying. 

Two important points to remember for this one. First, be annoying, do not act annoying. In fact, act as if you sympathize with their problems and then finish by saying something like, "Gee, it is just too bad that I could not get to this [add the appropriate word here: meeting; practice; rehearsal] on my own." Second, and this is very important: Never tell your parents where you got this idea.