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Teens and wheels: Your responsibilities as a parent (part 1 of 3)

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It's that time of the year: graduation. Your teenager is anxiously waiting for his big moment; as a parent, your feel the pride of your little one growing up.

Growing up. The key word is "growing". Never forget your kid is not yet an adult, and that he is still under your responsibility – until he turns 18. Responsibilities include civil liability. Here are a few pointers before the graduation party season kicks off.

You decide to lend your car to your teenager, so he (or she) can drive himself to prom, like a adult would – or you let him take his own car, if he has one. Most of the time everything goes like clockwork, but you are better off setting some clear ground rules before anything bad happens.

Alcohol. We're reminded all the time on the TV and on the radio – alcohol and other illegal substances don't mix with driving. Still, it seems the message is not clear enough. Since it's prom night we're talking about, even if your kid is usually an angel, all it takes to lose control are a few friends riding along. Good habits go out the window very quickly.

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Speed. Who never exceeded the speed limit during his youth? We all know, teenagers included, how badly it can end. But again, on an evening like prom night, especially with friends looking at you, it's easy to forget racing on the highway is a bad, bad idea.

Carpooling. Taking a ride with a friend doesn't makes the risks disappear. Would you get in a car driven by somebody who’s had too much to drink, or is behaving aggressively? Don't force him to. Tell him to call you if he is about to get a ride with someone who shouldn't be driving.