The School Carpool. I did it, but I didn’t always love it.
Before you say “yes” to a carpool there are some things you might want to consider. While it is a practical practice, it doesn’t work well for everyone.
For the most part, it had nothing to do with the teens in the back seat. In fact, the ones that I got to know well, will always hold a special place in my heart. I learned a lot about them, their opinions about “everything”, and even learned a lot about my own sons. So all in all, it was a great experience.
Carpooling does have a few drawbacks. At least, in my opinion.
- You can’t take a detour if you want to. An unplanned stop at the beach or store is not possible. (Not when the others are expected to be home at a certain hour.)
- If you do have permission to make a stop to buy a snack, while it isn’t a big deal, not everyone carries money with them. (Your treat.)
- You don’t have that quiet, private time with your son/daughter.
- If someone has detention; everyone has detention.
- Sometimes you hear about a personal family problem…nothing you can say or do about it.
- You may learn a little more than you really want to learn about their friends.
- There is always the chatty parent who won’t let you drop and dash. Or the parent who always has special requests.
Other things to consider before you say “Yes”:
- Don’t feel obligated to participate in a carpool.
- Think about your family’s style of living.
- Listen to your children/teens. Perhaps there are things that you are not aware of about the child/teen or their family.
- Don’t invite the carpool clan in without checking with your child/teen first. (And please don’t ask them in front of the others.)
- Sometimes unavoidable, keep your conversation with other parents brief. (Your child/teen wants to get home and have a snack, run around a bit, veg out, do their homework, but not sit in the car listening to “whatever”. Would you?)
- Sometimes one or more of the carpool clan might be in a grouchy mood. Don’t take it personally or inquire.
- If you are expecting gratitude, (chuckle, chuckle), don’t do it. Oh, you may hear a “thanks for the ride” now and then, but typically, you are the driver, nothing more, nothing less. But look at the hidden rewards; knowing your child’s/teen’s friends and being inside their world for that brief period. Invaluable.
For more carpool tips: School Carpool Etiquette: 20 Tips To Make Driving Fun
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