I don’t know how my Mum would have reacted to me asking about the birds and the bees while she negotiated a roundabout. (8% of those surveyed said kids wanted the ‘sex chat’). I can only guess because my mum took me on the back of her bicycle, and my only question was can we walk please? I suspect, however, that we wouldn’t have got to school on time.
These days, the study found, that the family car is becoming a travelling confessional with more than half (54%) of the 2,000 people surveyed said their kids are more likely to open up about topics such as what happened at school and trouble with friends when mum or dad is behind the wheel.
One in 10 (9%) of the parents surveyed said they deliberately go on a car journey in a desperate bid to get their child to talk more. 28% of parents said they learned more about their children in the car than at home.
It’s a little sad that parents and kids are not finding time to talk at home, probably because of the simple chaos of feeding them, washing their clothes, or making sure they have the right ingredients or costume for a school project.
How many times has a colleague around you glanced at their phone and yelled shi-i-i-t because some smug mum has put up a picture of their kid dressed as a panda, and they’d forgotten it was World Dress as a Panda to School day?
When you ask a child directly, how was school? You’re likely to get a grunt, or "It was OK" and you can’t just sit around hoping they will decide to open up.
There’s also the ‘helicopter parent’ syndrome where children take a phone to school and call their mother at work when their friends have suddenly decided to shun them. A hard choice for mum to help her distressed child or get that important pitch for a new client finished.
Driving is a neutral time. You’re busy in that getting to somewhere, and you do have to concentrate on the road, but to a child, you’re sitting with them and quiet, it’s precious time. It’s an opportunity to share their music, hear their latest joke, and maybe answer their questions about sex, with no chance someone if going to walk into the room. So if you need tour child to talk, maybe take them for a drive.
See the full results of the survey on Renault’s website here.