We all remember the feeling of elation that came with getting our learner’s permit. Learning to drive was a huge part of our journey from adolescence to adulthood and we can all recall the feeling of impending freedom, maturity and independence that that little card offered us. When we grow up and become parents ourselves, we want to ensure that our kids benefit from that same joyous feeling… In theory. While we may welcome the newfound sense of independence that this important milestone may grant our beloved offspring, few of us relish the prospect of sitting them behind the wheel for the first time. Their combination of enthusiasm and inexperience can be daunting for more seasoned drivers. It’s also in the nature of a parent to be self-reflective (and more than a little self deprecating) so we may also doubt our own efficacy as teachers. These factors alone could cause any reasonably minded parent some distress, but, like any of the trials of parenthood, you have the love and support of others who have been there before you. With that in mind, here’s some advice on how to retain your sanity in this exciting (and also slightly terrifying) time…
Sign up for a state approved course
While you’ll likely have some unique knowledge and experience of your own to impart, you’ll also want to ensure that your curriculum covers everything they’re likely to need to know in the run up to their road test and beyond. Thus, it’s vitally important that you sign up for parent taught driver’s ed. The course costs a mere $99 but it grants both parents and students the opportunity to discuss driving basics and their safety obligations, while ensuring approved adult supervision during the required driving hours.
Your son or daughter will likely be raring to get behind the wheel and will want to get on the road as soon as possible, but they need to learn the value of starting small. They can’t hope to hit the road without a good sense of the fundamentals like awareness of the vehicle and its dimensions, operating the onboard controls, clutch control and basic maneuvers. Starting out in quiet parking lots and other open spaces may not be the most thrilling start but it’s one that your teen must expect you to be satisfied with before they can hit the road. Plus, it will be a much gentler transitional period for you, and you won’t allow them on the road until you are confident in their abilities.
Correct by asking questions
One of the easiest way to incense a teen when they’re outside of their comfort zone is by telling them repeatedly what they’re doing wrong. It will stress both of you out and fray your relationship. Instead, learn the subtle art of correcting by asking questions. Instead of saying, “If a cop sees you, you’ll get a speeding ticket”, calmly ask them what the speed limit is on this particular road. It could simply be that they’ve mis remembered. Plus, we’re hard wired to engage with questions more readily than having facts slung at us.