Having kids is a dream come true for so many people, but every new mother and father quickly learns that being a parent also comes with a seemingly endless list of challenges and responsibilities. And even as your child gets older and grows into a teenager, they may become more independent, but they’ll still need your help time and time again.
One of the key moments when teens need to turn their parents for guidance and assistance is when they want to learn how to drive. Moms and dads can be very helpful in this situation, and it can be a great way to prepare your teen for the perils of the road and give them the knowledge they need to stay as safe as possible.
At the same time, it can feel quite intimidating to even think of sitting in the passenger seat beside the child you raised and watch them control a car with their own hands and feet. Many parents hesitate or feel anxious about this experience, but with the right approach, it can be a pleasant and rewarding endeavor for both you and your child.
Empathy and Understanding Are Key
There are certain qualities you’ll need to demonstrate when teaching your teen how to drive in order for both of you to have the best possible time. Two of the most important qualities of all are empathy and understanding, and if you can muster up enough of each one, you and your teen can actually have a great time together.
It’s important to be empathetic throughout the process, putting yourself in your teen’s shoes, remembering the excitement and anxiety you also felt when you were their age, learning to drive for the first time. By understanding their position and acknowledging that they make mistakes, you’ll be a much more patient and approachable teacher.
Patience Is Essential Too
Following on from the previous point, you’ll also need to be very patient while teaching a teen to drive. It’s not as simple as sitting in the passenger seat, going over the basics, and then watching your teen drive around without any worries at all. There will be problems, mistakes, misunderstandings, and challenges along the way.
It’s up to you to be ready for those challenges as they come, responding correctly, and remembering once again to be understanding towards your child. Getting angry and losing your patience will only cause problems in the long run, so it’s much better to take deep breaths, calmly explain what went wrong, and proceed from there.
Safety Is of the Essence
One of the big worries that flow through a parent’s mind when their teenager starts learning to drive is the thought of them out on the roads, in a car filled with friends, having to navigate the often dangerous roads and highways of the world without your protection.
It’s perfectly natural to have this kind of concern, and there are plenty of reasons behind it. After all, auto accidents are one of the leading causes of teen deaths. This is why it’s vital for you, as the driving instructor, to stress the importance of safety to your teen. Remind them about buckling up, following speed limits, obeying signs, avoiding distractions, and never drinking and driving.
Be Present, Alert, and Adaptable
When you’re teaching a teen to drive, you may not actually be in direct control of the vehicle, but you’re still the only qualified driver in that space. This is why you have to be present and alert, keeping an eye out for any hazards, acting as concentrated and focused as you would if you were actually driving, and taking any necessary action if dangers arise.
You also have to be able to adapt to different situations. Remember that every teen is different. Some of them will be quite comfortable, confident drivers without needing too much time, while others can be much more hesitant and nervous behind the wheel. Adapt to their needs and skills and guide them the right way.
Teaching a teen to drive can feel like quite an overwhelming challenge at first, but by following these tips and having the right approach, you can help your child learn the skills they need to thrive on the roads. Just make sure to progress gradually, always starting off in an empty parking lot or safe space and then building up towards driving on small streets later on. With patience, empathy, and focus, you can help your teen become an excellent driver.