A big part of being a parent is being able to adapt and evolve over time to meet the changing needs of your children. In their early years, they rely on you for the most basic elements of survival. As time goes by, they’ll turn to you for education, inspiration, and guidance, and it’s up to you to be there for them, however you can.
Even when they enter the early years of adulthood, they may become more independent and ready to make more of their own decisions in life, but they’ll still need the help of their parents from time to time. One common example of this comes when teens want to learn how to drive and ask their mom or dad for a little help.
Many parents dread this moment and fret about the very idea of seeing their child sitting behind the wheel of the car, but it’s an important skill for young people to learn, and if they want you to be involved in that process, it’s often wise to accept. This will allow you to teach your kids the right way, stressing the importance of safe driving and sharing the benefits of your own experience.
Still, many moms and dads aren’t quite sure where to start when it comes to teaching teens to drive. There’s a lot to take care of and many steps to follow along the way, but this guide will help you to get you off to the best possible start, covering some of the most useful and essential tips that every parent needs to know.
It’s common for parents to be worried about safety when their children start learning to drive. After all, statistics show that auto accidents are one of the leading causes of death among young people, with countless teens getting into accidents due to reckless driving, nervousness behind the wheel, or peer pressure pushing them into making bad decisions.
As you teach your teen to drive, make sure to use the opportunity to stress how important it is to stay safe on the roads. Explain to your child about the dangers and risks they may face once they get their license and take to the streets in their very own automobile, and remind them again and again about the basics of safety like wearing seatbelts, obeying speed limits, and so on.
Strike the Right Tone
Following on from the previous point, while it’s important to inform and educate your teens about the risks of bad driving, it’s also vital to strike the right tone in your approach. You don’t want to lecture them, yell at them, or bore them with lists of statistics that they’ll most likely forget a few minutes later.
Remember that teens are approaching adulthood now and want to feel more independent and be treated more maturely. Talk to them with respect, sharing your advice and opinions without making it feel like you’re ordering them around or telling them what they should and shouldn’t do. If you show maturity towards your teen, there’s a good chance that they’ll respond in the same way.
One of the best tips to keep in mind when teaching teens to drive is to take it slow, moving gradually from one stage to the next. While this might seem a little boring for you excitable teen who just wants to get behind the wheel and set off on the highway, it’s the most sensible and safe option in the long term.
For the first lesson, you might not even want to have your teen drive at all. It’s wise to start off with the absolute basics, walking around the car and introducing your young driver to the various components, showing them how the pedals work, opening the hood to look at the engine, and so on. Don’t rush through the process, as you’ll be more likely to overlook something important.
Everyone is different, and this goes for teen drivers too. Some of them take to driving like ducks to water, feeling totally confident and assured behind the wheel and learning new techniques and skills quite easily. Others, meanwhile, will be the exact opposite. They might feel very nervous and anxious about driving and struggle to understand the fundamentals to begin with.
As a parent and a teacher, you need to be ready and able to adapt to the needs of your teen. Those that are confident and assured might be able to move through the lessons a little faster, but may also need reeling in a little to prevent them from getting too cocky behind the wheel. Those that struggle, meanwhile, will need more reassurance and time to get the hang of things.
Another good tip for teaching teens to drive is to remember what it was like for you when you first sat behind the wheel. It can be a daunting and exciting process all at once, and you might be able to remember all the emotions you felt in your own learning experiences, using that knowledge to make your lessons as effective as possible.
Showing empathy towards your teen will help to put them at ease and it can also help your lessons to flow much more smoothly and easily too. If you get too snappy, angry, or impatient, all that will happen is that your young driver will feel less comfortable and be more likely to make mistakes in the long run.
Teaching a teen to drive can seem like quite a scary prospect at first, but if you have the right approach, there’s no reason why it can’t be a pleasant and rewarding experience. It takes time, patience, and effort, but teaching your child such an important skill can really feel like quite an accomplishment, and it’s also a great way for you to pass on the benefits of your experience and give your teen the very best chances of avoiding accidents and becoming a safe, sensible driver.