Anthony is now 17. He got his learners permit when he was 15 1/2 but between his busy schedule and there only being one drivers ed place here in our small town the quest to get a license was somewhat side tracked….
Which honestly was quite fine with me. He didn’t really care either two of his best friends got cars and licenses and so he had them to call when he wanted to go somewhere. He didn’t pursue it and I didn’t push it.
About 2 months ago he got the itch. The weather started to get nicer and he decided he wanted to get to gettin’ on the license thing.
And so we have. He just finished up driver’s ed and has been driving almost everywhere. I’ve learned a few things over the past several weeks, and so I’m here to impart my wisdom on you to help make teaching your teen to drive a little easier.
#1- Set a Good Example– Did you think I’d start with a tip that involved you?? Pay attention to how you drive, do you speed a lot? How about those rolling stops at stop signs you drive through every day? Are you aggressive? Do you talk on your phone? Become aware, realize that now more than ever you are being watched and be the driver you want your teen to be. Don’t be a do as I say not as I do driver!
#2- Call Your Insurance- With ours there was no extra charge. They just added him as a driver in training. Not all insurances make a change but it’s better to check just in case something unfortunate happens.
#3- Stay Calm- This one can be hard. Your armpits may be sweating, you may be white knuckling the door handle, and pressing the imaginary break on the floor every three seconds but don’t let it show. Be encouraging, keep your voice calm, communicate clearly.
#4 Don’t Assume They Know Anything– You may come to the point you want to look at your child and ask if they have ever paid attention to anything that goes on in a car ever in their life. Especially the first few times out be very specific. Instead of “slow down” be clear with “take your foot off the accelerator, ok now start braking.” Don’t assume they know where they are going, how intersections work… anything. They may get annoyed with you talking through every step but that is better than assuming and having something go wrong.
#5 Choose Your Battles and Delay Reprimanding- Let me tell you things may get a little tense. A nervous parent, an inexperienced driver, a teenager, and a mom talking them through every step… Your kid may get a little lippy. Now is not the time to talk to them about their tone, or let them know they are being disrespectful. Bite your tongue. Let them focus on driving, and wait until they are not behind the wheel to let them know the behavior you expect from them.
As with everything I think it is so important to keep the lines of communication open with your teen. Keep telling them what you expect as far as their driving goes, keep reinforcing that fact that using their phone while driving is a huge no no. Let them know to ask a question any time about anything. Help them be as comfortable as they can be behind the wheel.
And keep reminding yourself you were there once and your parents survived! You will too!!