Driving with kids

Ok, here goes..

My name is Lynne and I have attended a speed awareness course.

Having previously confessed this truth to my friends and colleagues I have discovered that I am not alone – we seem to be a nation of speeders. I try not to speed, I really do but sometimes I become so distracted by my kids or my own thoughts I fail to notice that I have entered a different speed zone.

I do not text and drive. I do not drink and drive. I do however drive with kids, often arguing and noisy kids at that. It’s not really so much of a problem now but when they were little there were definitely times when the presence of my kids in the car created a potential hazard. Thankfully we never had a serious accident.


I can remember a few occasions driving and shouting crossly for everyone to stop arguing. (yes indeed one of those classic parenting hypocritical moments) When I got into this kind of state, Leila, who was practically born into the role of family health and safety officer, would sense danger and authoritatively command silence in the car from her younger siblings in such a way that they heeded her, usually immediately. This was of course helpful but in the ensuing silence I couldn’t help resent the fact that my 10-year-old daughter could often wield more control over her younger siblings than I could.

Edward was usually at the heart of these car based arguments. On one occassion he was sitting in between Seb and Ivy. I think Edward would have been about 8 years old at the time. I couldn’t see what had happened but he was doing something that was really infuriating Seb, who is usually a fairly chilled out soul. Seb was not chilled out that day, he was going berserk with fury, shouting at Edward, “STOP IT!”. It took me ages to get Seb to be quiet enough to ask what was wrong – bear in mind I am driving around Leeds in rush hour whilst this is all going on.

Eventually Seb mutters gumpily, “He’s blowing in my face”.

I sigh, “Edward are you blowing in Seb’s face?”

“No” replies Edward.

Seb erupts again into fits of protest that his brother is lying. It takes ages to calm him down. I’m still driving.

“Edward , Seb is really upset about  what you are doing… have you been blowing in his face?”, I ask.

“No” replies Edward.

We enter round three of vocal outrage and the bubbling pot of emotion boils over, covering us all so that we feel drained, exhausted and downright cross.

After a few minutes Seb manages to calm himself, but his now silent fury mixed with utter despair is niggling me.

“Edward, what exactly have you been doing to Seb?” I ask, my tone flat and fed up.

“I have been blowing at his face” he replies with no trace of emotion.

(Edward, due to his autism, has a very literal interpretation and use of language which means that moments like this were common throughout his primary school years)

We pull up at a red light. I let my head slump onto the steering wheel. I don’t care if people see me like this.

Leila nudges me to let me know the lights have turned green. I notice in the mirror that Seb is trying hard to blink away his tears of exasperation, whilst a low pitched whimpering sound gently escapes his lips.

Edward asks him to be quiet.

I need to go home. We all do.

Next time you see a harassed looking person driving a car load of children, be sure to leave plenty of room between them and you – they might not have their full attention on the road so you may need all the braking distance you can get.


In a few years time, when we are all travelling in automated vehicles, maybe we will have the pleasure of being more able to resolve our family disputes on the go. Although I’m not sure if that is something to look forward to!

(I’ve written more about understanding language literally in my post, He’s literally on fire)

Diary of an imperfect mum


Spectrum Sunday
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11 thoughts on “Driving with kids

  1. I have to commute with my kids for a 20/30 minute journey – it can be an absolute nightmare. manys a time i have pulled over because i just cant concentrate on the road

    • It can be a nightmare can’t it! My youngest kids are now 11 years old and journeys are much better, although if anyone breaks the “no singing in the car without everyone’s agreement” rule…..it can get very unpleasent! Good luck with your commutes.

  2. I recognised this! Oh yes shouting whilst at the wheel is definitely a great hazard for harassed parents. I loved Edwards response too, made me smile. I know someone just like that! Great post! ? Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime ?

  3. I can so relate to this. My three have been knocking chunks out of each on the back seat as my hands are gripping the wheel tighter and tighter! Children are definitely a distraction! Now that my eldest is a driver herself she is a little more appreciative of the need to concentrate. My 15 and 11 year olds now want music played at , however, now want music played at full volume and i’m not a big fan of that either. #a blogginggoodtime

  4. It can be hell at times driving with kids in the car and that you question whether you should really drive in a car with kids again X #spectrumSunday

  5. I have to sit my middle boy in the middle in the back or my oldest and my bay end up just screaming at each other. They still all fight right enough but I have to limit the screaming, that definitely affects concentration! #spectrumsunday

    • I think this is probably a problem common to most families (or at least I like to think so). Here’s to easier car journey’s in the future as your kids get older! x

  6. It’s a nightmare – we have arguments about who is sitting where before we’ve even got to the car. Thanks for sharing with #spectrumsunday

    • When we go on long trips the kids spend a lot of time negotiating car seat positions (car seat swapsies at stops are all planned out before the trip) – the intense negotiating and bargaining is better than arguing! Now they are older I can stay out of it and let them sort it out between themselves. #spectrumsunday