MaryangelaOK, I admit it. As I sat in the doctor’s office a couple weeks ago and watched the bright pink gauze being wrapped around my 16-year-old daughter’s right leg and foot, from her knee down, I felt a twinge of relief.

No, it wasn’t relief that the doctor had pinpointed the source of her foot pain – a stress fracture – it was relief that the inevitable would be postponed a bit longer.

Certainly she couldn’t take a road test with a cast on her leg!

This bright pink cast, followed by a boot, means eight more weeks without a licensed teenage driver in the house!

Marisa’s had her temporary license for six months, has taken driver’s ed and Behind the Wheel, and the magic date when she could first schedule the road test was the beginning of May.

That, of course, was before that glorious pink plaster! As she clunks around the house, the sound of the plaster hitting the floor is a comforting reminder that she is on foot rather than behind a wheel.

Of course, my relief will be only temporary. Sometime this summer, she’ll be back on two feet, so to speak, and she’ll be ready for that test.

She seems to be a pretty cautious, careful driver, yet I’m terrified of the day that we’ll hand her the keys and let her venture out completely on her own.

My fears, however, may be eased somewhat with the help of a program detailed on Pages 6 and 7 of this issue of Catholic Herald Parenting.

Likely facing similar fears about her teen driving, Anne Scallon, a member of St. John Vianney Parish, Brookfield, devised a program for parents to safely guide their teens through the first year of driving.

Before the Wheel helps parents help their teens develop better technical and decision-making skills. Included is an “Earned Privileges” program that helps ease teens behind the wheel, allowing parents to gradually increase driving privileges for their children, based on responsible behavior. An accompanying Web site,, offers resources and links to safe driving programs as well as a free newsletter with practical advice.

According to Scallon, studies show that many teens engage in risky behaviors while behind the wheel. Her program is an attempt to help parents instill good, careful driving habits, in spite of the dangers that exist on the road.

Following this issue of Catholic Herald Parenting, we’ll head into our summer publishing break. Watch for us again in September! In the meantime, we are accepting entries into our 2010 cover photo contest as we search for the eight best photos to grace our covers next publishing year. Complete details about the photo contest can be found below and on our Web site.

Have a wonderful summer!