DEAR HARRIETTE: My teenage daughter just got her driver's license. She passed her test perfectly after practicing really hard. My husband and I are so proud of her. She has asked us to give her a car now. We live in the suburbs, and in order for her to get around, somebody has to drive her. We have been taking her everywhere for years. While it's a nice idea to give her a car, it is a luxury that we cannot currently afford, nor do we think it is the best idea so quickly. We do trust our daughter, but we feel a little skittish about having her drive all the time. More, though, we don't have the resources to buy her a car. She has a part-time job, but she does not make enough money to buy one herself. What do you recommend we do in this situation? -- Wanting Wheels, Dearborn, Mich.
DEAR WANTING WHEELS: Regarding your daughter's safety while driving, check your local laws, but generally teenagers have restrictions for when they are allowed to drive in their first years on the road. Typically, they are allowed to drive during daylight hours and often with a licensed driver in the car with them. These rules can help to reduce parents' worry about their safety.
As far as the car itself, let your daughter use your car when you can -- with strict guidelines on where she's going and when she is due back. This will give her the opportunity to drive sometimes and experience a bit of independence without breaking the bank.
You may also want to make a plan with her where you both save money until you have enough to buy a used car and pay for the insurance. Sharing in the goal of saving for the car will show your daughter how much you care as it also teaches her the discipline of having patience when you work toward a goal.