Maple Cross, Hertfordshire – As kids, tweens and teens disappear ever deeper into cyberspace, Renault UK has found that there is still one place where children and their parents open up to each other: the family car.
The results from a recent survey of 2000 British parents showed that more than half their children (54 percent, to be exact) were more likely to open up about subjects such as what happened at school and problems with friends when they were in the car and the parent concerned was driving, than at home.
More than a third of parents thought their conversations with their children were more honest in the car than anywhere else – and they think that’s because they’re watching the road, rather than staring intimidatingly at the child.
One in five even reckons their kids are more likely to own up to something naughty while driving because they can’t immediately be punished – which says as much about the parents as it does about the youngsters.
More than one in five children (22 percent) admitted while on a car journey that they’d failed a test or been in trouble with a teacher. 14 percent told their parents they had ‘forgotten’ to do their homework and eight in every hundred finally found the right moment to announce that they’d got detention.
But there’s more to it than that: more than half the parents polled said they found it easier to talk about sensitive subjects – such as ‘the birds and the bees’ -when they didn’t have to make eye contact.
It would be funny, if it weren't so cliched
Their children seemed to feel the same way, with one it three opening up about problems with friends and one in five talking about about their relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend. Almost one in 10 opened the subject of the difference between boys and girls with their parents in the car, when they would never have done so at home.
And about the same number of parents admitted to finding an excuse to drive somewhere in an attempt to get their child to talk to them. Even more – one in three – admitted that they listen more attentively to their children in the car. Nearly half (guess which gender!) said it was because they didn’t have to cook and the same percentage (guess again) said it was because they weren’t under pressure to get the family ready to leave the house. It would be funny, if it wasn’t so cliched… both moms and dads said they learned more about their children’s like and dislikes in the car than at home.
Renault UK has taken these finding a step further, in a year-long social experiment involving online personalities Mother Pukka (@mother_pukka) and Father of Daughters (@father_of_daughters), their families and two Renault Scenics permanently fitted with inward-facing dash-cams that will record their interaction with their children as they drive – and you’ll be able to see the best bits at www.life.renault.co.uk.