Stubborn Teenager won't wear helmet!

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by headlemk, Jun 6, 2005.

  1. headlemk

    headlemk New Member

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    I live in Colorado, which has no bicycle helmet law, not even for children! :mad: My 14 year old must ride his bike more than 8 miles to his school and refuses to wear his helmet. Any suggestions on getting him to safety-up? When I caution him that his head will split like a melon, he just says (like a typical teenager) "no it won't" like he's invincible. I can't "make" him wear it. He's bigger than I and hot tempered anyway. It's necessary for him to ride his bike to school so threatening to take it away isn't an option. His dad's no help, he doesn't like "confrontation" :rolleyes: and avoids it at all cost. Help.
     
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  2. lumpy

    lumpy New Member

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    You can make him wear it. You're the parent and you make decisions for him until he's 18. That's your job.

    Tell him it's necessary to wear the helmet to ride the bike. If he again refuses, remind him it's your household and he has to abide by your rules. If he again refuses, run over his bike with your car! That should make it clear to him you're serious. That's what I'd do - but then I have no problem with confrontation!

    Sounds like his pop's overdue on some corporal punishment with your kid. He needs to be reminded. Pops sure should be backing you up on this - that's his job.

    I guess the question is can you live with him defying you over something serious like this? If you can, get used to it 'cause he's only 14 and it'll get MUCH worse!

    Why must he ride his bike to school? Make him get rides from his friends. Make him walk. 8 miles each way will surely build character! Get him some running shoes! :D

    Take him to the head trauma ward of a hospital and let him see what happens to other "invincible" 14 year olds.

    You're in a power struggle with him. Stop it - you can only loose. You must reaffirm that you're the boss, not him, and have very dire consequences ready if he disobeys. No idle threats - serious action that you will do. Grounding, loss of allowance, loss of video games/TV/stereo - whatever he loves and make it big.

    You say he's bigger than you and hot tempered. That implies he may hit you. If he does, call the cops and let them scare the shit out of him. Someone has to remind him the pecking order in your household.

    As Barney Fife says, "you've got to nip this in the bud!"

    good luck!
     
  3. Cheesy

    Cheesy New Member

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    With all due respect to Lumpy, that "you have to wear it because I say so" is the worst possible approach. He might eventually agree, but I guarantee that as soon as he is out of sight, he will take it off.

    Being 14 I imagine that he will not have any interest in visiting an emergency ward in hospital, and if you make him go, he will probably refuse to wear the helmet on principle.

    The best way is to get him to feel good about wearing the helmet - does he do any other riding other than to school? Does he have any interest in going off-road etc? If so, offer to help him get off-road, maybe go halves with him in a nice bike, but sit down and talk with him _as an adult_, and tell him that you understand that it is his decision, but you can't stand to see him not wearing the helmet, and that you would like to help him eg get off road, and you will, but on the condition that he wears the helmet.

    I use this approach with friends who smoke - sometimes friends want me to take them out riding, or to help them get fitter. I agree, but only on the condition that they cut down on their smoking, with the goal of quitting. I tell them I'm willing to help them get fit - but that they have to make an effort as well, ie giving up smoking. I have never had someone get upset with me about this.

    At the age of your son it is difficult, because they are breaking into a stage of life where they need to make adult decisions - it sound like you have the right approach, and you want him to make the adult decision himself.
     
  4. p38lightning

    p38lightning New Member

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    "Does he have any interest in going off-road etc? If so, offer to help him get off-road, maybe go halves with him in a nice bike, but sit down and talk with him _as an adult_, and tell him that you understand that it is his decision, but you can't stand to see him not wearing the helmet, and that you would like to help him eg get off road, and you will, but on the condition that he wears the helmet."

    So let me get this straight what you're suggesting in effect is to offer a BRIBE in order to get him to do what he SHOULD be doing: A.Because it's in his own best interest, and B. because he's being stupidly defiant and disrespectfull of his mother.

    When my cat clawed the furniture I rolled up a newspaper slapped it loudly on my knee and yelled "NO" at her. She soon got the message and stopped. Had I offered a food reward it wouldn't have kept her from clawing, she would have done it all the more to get the treat.

    What would you do if God forbid the young man in question went on to more serious stuff, like joining a gang or taking drugs, "tell him that you understand that it is his decision" then buy him a car and give him a credit card so he will stop!
     
  5. lonz

    lonz New Member

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    Hi do you cycle? can you start cycling with him and you wear the helmet? Do not get the helmet discussion but just let him learn from example. With youths you will get no where if u impose. also it could be that his friends are no wearing the helmet so in an age when his peers are more important than his parents he will pay attention to his friends.


    Always try to discuss the issue and not forcefully impose the "rule" i think you can remeber when you were his age you were a little bit rebelious it is part of nature.

    Good luck i may take time but with patience you will arrive.
     
  6. Batesy

    Batesy New Member

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    14 yr olds don't fall for the rolled up newspaper trick...

    Just try gentle persuasion. I agree with previous posts that forcing him to wear it won't work, but getting him interested in other forms of cycling (off-roading) may work. Try and get him involved in cycling groups where the others wear helmets. As mentioned before, get him into off-roading, but only take him to constructed trails where wearing helmets is a must.

    Also, let him choose a helmet that he see's as "cool", don't just buy him a big shiny pink one....
     
  7. rule62

    rule62 New Member

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    Hmmm...giving advice to another parent is like giving advice on saddles. What works for me and my ass may not work for you and yours. Likewise, a saddle suggestion may not apply either. :D

    As my dear departed father used to tell me, "It's okay to make mistakes in this life, just don't make the ones that can kill you." At 14 you are clearly at the age where you had better start learning how to make a good decision. My approach with my daughter and son has always been to lay out the pros and cons and let them consider both sides. Then we talk about what can be learned from the information. If at the end of that discussion, they still can't get it right, I end up putting my dad hat on and making the call.

    When I got to this point with my kids the decision was easy: no helmet, no bike as long as they were living in my house. And as parents have long since discovered, walking will do wonders for an uncooperative or unrealistic attitude. I also ended up reinforcing the decision by kicking back a little extra allowance for my kids being willing to make a good and safe choice.

    One more counterpoint to note...thousands and thousands and thousands of us rode bikes throughout our entire childhoods, teen years and early adult years without wearing a helmet and lived to tell about it.

    Good luck! ;)
     
  8. Lonnie Utah

    Lonnie Utah Banned

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    I'm not a parent so take this advice with a grain on salt....

    Give him the option of 1). Wearing the helmet and riding his bike. 2). Riding the school bus. 3). Walking. I bet he decides to wear the helmet. If he still refuses, buy a big kryptonite lock and disable his bike in the garage. ;)

    But I'm curious, why does he not want to wear it? Is he afraid he's going to look like a goober, is it something else? Maybe you can address his concerns in some way. You're in CO, does he ski/board? Does he wear a helmet during these activites? I'm not a expert, but I'm willing to bet that this has something to do with girls....:p
     
  9. headlemk

    headlemk New Member

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    Thanks for all the input. "Telling" THIS teenager to do something is like inviting a swarm of bees into your house. Basically makes him impossible to live with. UGH! Definitely the Poster Child for Dr. James Dobson's book, "The Strong Willed Child". Really, in the long run he makes good decisions and I must learn to trust that...it's the others on the road I don't trust. (just read some of the other posts). I've asked him to see if there are other boys who are doing this summer weight training at the school, that he could ride with. We'll see. His wrestling coach encouraged him to ride his bike all the way...good workout for the legs. My husband and I both work full time so riding with him is out of the question. I can't ride anymore anyway because I hurt my back, recently, and I'm not a good rider anyway. He's not interested in off-road and we don't know anyone who is so that wouldn't help either. I talked calmly with him last night about it...offered to let him pick out a helmet and we'd buy any one he wanted (within $$ reason) if he promised to wear it. He said he would, but didn't want to go buy one last night ... put us back at square one. Every biker I passed on the way to work today had on helmets ... so I know the biking adults in this area are smarter than the average bear. He complains it's hot, I told him newer helmets have air flow an we could find a good one. We know from past experience that taking away priveleges, doesn't phase him much. He's not a biking enthusiast so locking up his bike will play right into his hands, either we'll have to take off from work 3 days a week to take him and pick him up OR he'll just be a slug all summer and sit at home ... happy as a clam (er, slug) to do nothing. His attitude will be, "oh, well". We don't live close enough to his friends to know if they use their helmets or not, but he's obviously influenced by something. When he gets his mind set, it's set. We've been dealing with this teen attitude since was 11 so this is nothing new. I'll just have to keep up the encouragement and pray, pray, pray when he's on the road, and let him know that I trust him to make good decisions while he's out there.
     
  10. headlemk

    headlemk New Member

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    [Give him the option of 1). Wearing the helmet and riding his bike. 2). Riding the school bus. 3). Walking. I bet he decides to wear the helmet. If he still refuses, buy a big kryptonite lock and disable his bike in the garage. ;)

    But I'm curious, why does he not want to wear it? Is he afraid he's going to look like a goober, is it something else? Maybe you can address his concerns in some way. You're in CO, does he ski/board? Does he wear a helmet during these activites? I'm not a expert, but I'm willing to bet that this has something to do with girls....:p]

    Riding the bus isn't an option...he goes to a charter school and school bus service is $$$ during the school year and unavailable in the summer. No city bus service in the areas needed, either. We don't have this problem during the school year because he's in a car pool. He's less apt to walk than ride his bike. (It may be further than the 8 miles I previously stated). I do think he probably thinks it'll make him look "uncool" :eek: When I ask him why, he doesn't give me a very clear answer except that it's "hot". He does ski and used to wear a helmet, but we don't ski often. He didn't go skiing or boarding last year when he had the opportunity because he refused to do the hemlet thing. Didn't seem to phase him much .. the "Oh, well" factor.
     
  11. headlemk

    headlemk New Member

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    He just called me to ask me if I could come pick him up and take him to the school because he's "too tired" to ride his bike. I told him no I couldn't, it was his decision to stay up until 2 AM, not mine so he'll have to get himself there on his own. aarhg!!!!! I'm sure his coach will be so "happy" when he's not there today.:rolleyes:
     
  12. mosovich

    mosovich New Member

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    Have his coach talk to him. His coach is SUPOSED to be one of influence and children usually look up to these individuals and will do about anything they ask. I'm sure if you speak to the coach, he would help, or at least he should. If he doesn't, then he's not a coach who truly cares about his pupils.
     
  13. headlemk

    headlemk New Member

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    I've asked so much from his coach this past year, I'm sure he thinks I'm a terrible parent who can't control her child. However, that's probably my next step.
     
  14. Lonnie Utah

    Lonnie Utah Banned

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  15. headlemk

    headlemk New Member

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    very good article. Now if I can just get him to read it. thank you
     
  16. steve-d

    steve-d New Member

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    I don't wear a helmet. Tell him if he's willing to risk the consequences then you've done your job in warning/advising him. He's morv than capable of making such a decision.

    Self Responsibility is the bigger lesson as opposed to whether to require motorcyclists and bike rider to wear protective clothing, What if the legislature required cyclists to wear a Snell approved full face MC helmet? How many in bike clubs and other "doers of good deeds" would start to advocate for it. I can just hear it now "Its for our own good!" Let me decide.

    F 'Em

    steve
     
  17. Sham

    Sham New Member

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    get footage of pro cyclists falling off duringa race. this should be most effective if the poor dude in the video is runover by the peloton or really cracks his head open. gruesome. and as his Mommy, you need to take Charge! i'm 17 and always wear my helmet.
    maybe "trick" him with a really awesome helmet, that he picks out.
    Or take privilages away...I suggest, CDs, stereo, cd player. I know I would always give in when my music is on the line.
    if you have any adlt friends at or near or en route to the school, emply them in checking that he wears his helmet.

     
  18. Hoya1500

    Hoya1500 New Member

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    Don't worry about making him read that.
    Have him take a look at this (Warning - a little gross):
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v464/pimpwok/DSC00008.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v464/pimpwok/DSC00052.jpg

    Thats what happened to me when i fell off my bike! No helmet! I had three staples put in the top of my head and spent the night in a the ER. The hospital bill ran close to $1100 (thank goodness for insurance because CT Scans are expensive!). Needless to say, i've learned a very important lesson.
     
  19. headlemk

    headlemk New Member

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    Thanks, this just might do the trick.:eek:

     
  20. TooSore

    TooSore New Member

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    Why don't you sneak up behind him and deliver a swinging overhead blow to the back of his head with a good heavy duty cycle lock?

    "There - I told you that a helmet is a good idea" can be your shouted advice as you are loaded into the white van and taken away.

    Good luck.
     
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