My Child Wants a Motorcycle: What Should I Do?

If your child wants a motorcycle, before saying yes or no, you should be willing to listen to their reasons. Learn more.
My Child Wants a Motorcycle: What Should I Do?
Maria Fátima Seppi Vinuales

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Maria Fátima Seppi Vinuales.

Last update: 05 October, 2022

Limits, outings, schedules… Adolescence is a time of change when it’s important to listen to our children and think about being flexible and negotiating certain terms and conditions. Some demands are to be expected, such as asking permission to stay out later or spend a few days camping with their friends. But others, perhaps, take us by surprise and we’re less clear about what the right thing to do is. One of these situations is when your child tells you he or she wants a motorcycle. What should you consider before giving an answer? Let’s see.

My child wants a motorcycle: What should I do?

From the moment your child tells you they want a motorcycle, thousands of images, emotions, and ideas probably cross your mind. However, it’s important to be able to stop and analyze the situation before giving an answer.

Teenagers’ requests and responses are often explosive, intense, and urgent. However, as adults, we must be able to go beyond these immediate demands and take into account the various aspects that are involved in a teenager’s having a motorcycle. Some of these are discussed below.

A teenage girl riding a motorcycle.
It’s important to have a dialogue with the young person and find out why they want to ride a motorcycle. For example, to know if they want to be a racing competitor or use it to get around.

Ask yourself and others what your child wants the motorcycle for

In the answer, you can find clues about whether it’s an interest, a hobby, or a whim, among others. In other words, it’s one thing for a teenager to be interested in being a racer, and it’s another thing for them to want a motorcycle because their neighbor has one or because they live far from all their friends, and having it would help them get around.

Raise awareness about the use of the motorcycle and their risks and consequences

Maybe it sounds a bit over the top, but whether it’s a motorcycle or another vehicle, owning one is like a double-edged sword. That’s to say, its misuse or irresponsibility can endanger the young person themself or others and produce undesireable consequences. That’s why, first of all, you must evaluate if they’re responsible enough to have a motorcycle. Then, you’ll need to establish some rules of use and be very clear and consistent about their compliance. At the same time, they should always carry personal protection elements, both for themselves and for those accompanying them.

Evaluate the maturity and responsibility of your teen

Whatever the decision is, you’ll need to make an assessment and take into account the characteristics of your teenager. For example, you know that at this age, young people move as groups and are influenced by their peers. In this regard, you must know if your child is easy to manipulate or if they’re able to differentiate themself from the group and make their own decisions.

At the same time, you must also be honest with yourself and be able to unfold the child’s different facets of the child. For example, good grades in school and excellence in sports don’t mean that they know how to ride a motorcycle responsibly. Therefore, you must avoid both idealizing and condemning.

A teenage boy and girl riding on a motorcycle.
Parents should assess whether the young person is ready to ride a motorcycle and whether they’re mature and responsible enough to do so.

Teach road safety education

Through classes, videos, courses, or your own guidance. No matter which method you choose, if your child wants a motorcycle, you must make sure that they not only know how to ride it but that they also know the rules that facilitate coexistence on the road.

Help them prepare

Practice is necessary to close the learning cycle, but before allowing them to do it on their own, you must go out several times with them to make observations and help them improve. Even if you accept that they have a motorcycle, you can agree with them on a trial period in which if they comply with the rules and everything works well, they can keep it. Otherwise, they won’t be able to use it.

Trust your own criteria

You also have to learn to trust your own decisions and not let yourself be overcome by guilt. Just as you wouldn’t allow a child to play with electricity, perhaps you shouldn’t give in when it comes to adolescents and vehicles either.

In addition, we must be aware of the characteristics of adolescence as a vital stage, where the notion of danger and risks is quite relaxed. Therefore, if your child wants a motorcycle, it’s best to keep these aspects in mind and be able to communicate the limits in a clear but assertive way. Letting them know that “not for now” doesn’t mean never. And, of course, you should emphasize that this is a thoughtful measure and a decision you’ve come to after first evaluating their well-being.

Adolescence requires us to adapt

Finally, it’s key that we look at adolescence as a time of changes and challenges. We need to be able to recognize young people, talk to them, and be willing to negotiate. We must accept that it’s time to be flexible within certain limits. Sometimes, our own experiences and insecurities lead us to project ideas about our own children, but we’re unaware of their uniqueness.

It’s not only about adapting to adolescents, but also to ourselves. It’s important to be able to recognize our shortcomings and difficulties and also test our own limits. Ultimately, our role as adults is to be able to guide, protect, and educate them in responsibility.

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