Family car ideal place for those ‘family chats’

  • 50% of parents use car to discuss ‘serious issues’
  • Children more likely to talk awkward topics in-car
  • 2000 British parents join Renault’s research
START 'EM YOUNG: A survey done for Renault showed the family car is the ideal place to talk to your children. Image: Renault / Newspress
START ‘EM YOUNG: A survey done for Renault showed the family car is the ideal place to talk to your children. Image: Renault / Newspress

LONDON, England – Renault UK says research has revealed that if you use the privacy of the family car to discuss “awkward” topics… well, you’re not alone.

The family wheels can, a survey of 2000 parents has shown, be a confessional for “honest conversations and story-telling”, a place where 54% of youngsters are more likely to open up about topics such as “What happened at school?” or “Having trouble with your friends?”

And the person to talk to can be either mom or dad.

About 38% of parents, the survey showed, thought conversations with their children were far more honest in-car than anywhere else. More than 40% believed this frankness came down to their youngsters not being under a judgmental stare; 19% though it was because there could be no “go to your room immediately!” order.


The benefits of talking about trouble in traffic were also sometimes chosen by the offspring: 22% of children admitted trouble with a teacher or not doing well in a test; 14% owned up to forgetting to do homework; eight percent to getting detention.

Many parents (32%) found it easier to discuss “delicate” subjects while on the road with their child or children. It was reported that most (59%) saw a car ride as the ideal situation in which to raise topics such as sex because, with mom or dad driving, eye contact was not possible.

Here are more topics:
⦁ 33% discussed trouble with friends
⦁ 17% talked about trouble with a boy- or girl-friend
⦁ 10% of children discussed changes to their body
⦁ Eight percent of youngsters wanted “the sex chat”.

One in 10 parents surveyed said they deliberately embarked on a car journey to encourage Sally or Sipho to talk more; 28% that they learned more about their child/ren in the car then they would have at home: 31% felt more clued-up about junior’s favourite music/TV shows after a journey and 22% found our more about their young friends.

A third (34%) of parents said they listened more in the car than at home. Of those surveyed, 49% believed it was the absence of having to cook and 44% having the pressure to leave the house on time (44%) that distracted them at home.


Dr Linda Papadopolous, a family psychologist said: “This research suggests that the car journey can be a really important time for families. For some it could be the only time for an undistracted conversation.”

Based on the study’s findings, parents felt their children were more comfortable addressing deeper issues if they were not under a spotlight… with mum or dad focused on the road. And, as most UK parents drove their children more than eight times a week, this meant plenty of time to talk.”

Renault commissioned the research to highlight the importance of family time in the car as a place for quality conversation.


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