Thursday, October 30, 2008

Your Opinions Please?

    My fourteen year old son (on the right in the picture above) wants to buy a moped.

    I told him, "No."

    He is not happy with my decision, and we have been "discussing" it. He feels my decision is unfair and unreasonable. So much so, in fact, that there is a good chance I will be nominated for meanest mom of the year as a result. He wanted me to ask my blogging "peeps" what they think about the situation. (Peeps is his word not mine. To me, peeps are those little sugar-coated marshmallow chicks you get at Easter time. Like this:

    Or maybe like this:
    since it is now Halloween time, but I digress.)

    I told him that it didn't matter what my "peeps" thought because I wasn't going to change my mind. He, however, thought it was worth a try, thinking you all could sway my opinion in his favor.
    So here is the situation.

    His side of the "discussion": He is a responsible individual. He will be a careful and safe driver and will follow all the traffic rules and regulations. He will only ride it around the streets of our little town, not out on the highway. He will take the test necessary to receive a moped driver's license.

    With money he has saved from his newspaper route, he will pay for the moped completely himself along with whatever other charges and maintenance costs arise as a result of owning it---including getting a license to drive it and paying for the gas to put in it and so forth. He will wear a helmet when riding it as required by law, also purchased with his own money.

    He feels that him driving the moped places that he needs to go would save money we use now on gas for the car to drive him around town.

    He has been doing a good job at school keeping his grades up.
    Many of his friends have a moped, and it is working out fine for them. In fact, one of his friends has a used one that he is selling for a reasonable price, and that is the one my son wants to buy, not a new one from a dealer.

    My side of the discussion: I agree that he is a responsible individual and that he would try his best to obey the traffic rules and drive carefully. However, that being said, he is still only 14 years old and sometimes teenagers do not make wise choices and do not exercise good judgment despite their best intentions. I also believe that mopeds on the street with cars in traffic is just not a good idea. I do not believe it is safe even if wearing a helmet. Mopeds are difficult to see by other drivers, and they offer no protection whatsoever to someone riding on them.

    Although, yes, it is his own money that he earned from his job as a paper boy that he wants to spend on a moped, I feel it would be a much wiser choice for him to continue to save his money and put it instead towards either his college education or towards a car in a few years. In just over a year, he will be old enough to start learning how to drive a car in our state. I am quite sure that once he gets a driver's license and can drive a car, he will lose all interest in riding the moped and will want to be driving a car instead. Most specifically, he will be wanting to drive his dad's car which is a Mazda RX-8 and looks like this:
    He will especially want to drive this car and not a moped around town, when he is old enough, so that he can impress his friends and take his girlfriend out on dates.

    (By the way, have I told you that I REALLY like his girlfriend. You may remember me talking about her before. She has moved up in status from really, really good friend to girlfriend now. She checks his grades online for him at the school website and keeps after him to keep them up. She is very sweet and polite and pretty. She tells him she thinks he should READ more!! When he complained to her about my decision about the moped, she said "Your mom just said that because she cares about you." I REALLY LIKE his girlfriend! But, once again, I digress.)

    He may also want to drive our Buick van when he wants to go out for pizza or bowling or whatever with a big group of the guys.

    There definitely would not be room for any friends to join him on a moped. We use the van for carpooling and big family trips and for business trips that my husband takes with his co-workers. However, we also must use the van when transporting the upright bass that my son plays in the school orchestra which does not fit in our cars and would definitely not fit on a moped!!

    I also own a car, which compared to the Mazda RX8 and the van above, pales a bit in desirability to a teenage boy, but might still look better to him than a moped in the dead of our Ohio winters with a foot of snow on the ground and the thermometer sitting on 5 degrees outside. Here's my Geo Metro. It actually is nearly the same age as my son. I bought it when I was eight months pregnant with him, and my belly was so big that I could barely squeeze in behind the steering wheel at the time.

    My point being that although he is interested in a moped now, in just a very short time, he will no longer be interested in it and will wish he had saved his money to use towards his college education or towards a car of his own.

    His point about using the moped to save money on gas does not hold up to me because he has a perfectly fine bicycle that he can ride now that uses no gas at all and serves the same purpose of transportation without the use of our cars.

    Also, although I applaud his desire to save money by purchasing a used moped, the other reasons I have for him not purchasing one at all carry much more weight for me. Yes, he is a good student and has good grades, and yes there are three or four boys his age at his school who have mopeds. Neither of these are reasons I see as valid ones for warranting that he buy a moped of his own.

    Oh, by the way, before asking me about buying the moped, my son asked my husband what he thought about it. My husband told our son that it was fine with him, but that he didn't think Mom (meaning me, of course) would go along with it. So I'm standing alone on this one, having once again to be the parent wearing the "mean hat."

    If you would like to weigh in with your thoughts and opinions on this issue, please click on the "view poll" button below to vote and/or leave your comments in the comment box.

    Thanks, my "peeps", for your opinions. :-D

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