5 Tips In Teaching Your Teens How To Drive
You’ve always known this moment was coming, but you didn’t know it would come so soon. It seems like just yesterday that you were teaching your child how to walk. Now driving?
Okay, don’t freak out. You’ll get through this just like you’ve gotten through every parenting milestone so far. You’ve got this.
Just try to follow these tips as close as possible to ensure you remain calm and share as much important information as possible.
Here are 5 tips for teaching your teens how to drive.
1. Don’t delay
Many parents make the mistake of waiting until the child turns of age to get their permit. It’s understandable because you may be a bit apprehensive about the process, but don’t wait until the last minute.
Start talking to your child about the ins and outs of driving in the years leading up to their driving age. A great way to tackle this is to explain what you’re doing as you’re driving. Talk about the road signs and what they mean. Talk about (and illustrate) the importance of being courteous to other drivers.
2. Practice healthy stress management
Some of us just aren’t great passengers. If you’re stressed out whenever anyone is driving, it may be time to start practicing some healthy ways to relieve stress. We’re talking about acute stress here, so there are a few very specific ways you can handle this:
a. Only go on practice driving sessions when you’re feeling relaxed. If you’re already stressed, it could spell disaster.
b. Use breathing techniques. Practice taking deep breaths to calm yourself down. Try doing this before you get into the car and after any stressful situations. It’s also important to encourage your child to remain calm, so encourage him or her to pull over and join you in the breathing exercise before you continue on the road.
3. Practice in different road conditions
Once your child has the basics of good-weather driving down, introduce another road condition. Practice driving after there has been a bit of rain. Then, practice during the rain. When your child is more advanced, practice driving in the ice and snow (if applicable to your area).
You don’t want your child to first experience these conditions when he or she is driving alone. It also helps if you have a safe car for practicing. Make sure you are up-to-date with maintenance and that your tires are in good condition.
4. Give your child ample opportunity
The more experience your child has on the road, the better equipped they’ll be to drive once they have their license. It may be a little extra work now, but knowing your child is fully prepared to drive is worth your while. Go out driving as many times as your child wants (within reason). You may find that you begin to relax over time as your kid gets better at driving.
5. Know when to say when
If you’re trying all the breathing exercises and your practice driving sessions are still causing stress, conflict or any other negativity, maybe it’s time to call in reinforcements.
Is there another parent who may be able to handle the job? Or maybe another relative?
If you don’t have anyone who is willing or able to teach your teen to drive, consider getting professional driving lessons. There’s a cost to this, of course, but it may be worthwhile.
When you’re on edge, it puts your teen on edge, and that’s exactly conducive to learning.
Throughout the process, remember that this is a milestone that is very important to your teenager. These are moments that he or she will remember for a lifetime. And, believe it or not, you will one day look back fondly on these moments too.