Being a parent is a magical experience in many different ways, but it’s also an enormous responsibility. When two people decide to have a child, they need to accept that they’re taking responsibility for that child’s well-being, vowing to be there for them, to support them, and to help them with the many challenges that life can produce.
One of those challenges usually comes when children reach when they’re legally allowed to start learning to drive. Often, teens will turn to their mothers and fathers for help with this, and it can be quite daunting, as a parent, to see the child you’ve raised for all those years sitting behind the wheel of a car.
Indeed, reports show that many parents feel stressed at the very thought of teaching their teens to drive, but if you approach this challenge with a positive, patient attitude, it can be a valuable experience for both you and your child, and it also gives you a great opportunity to help your teen understand the importance of road safety. Here are some top tips to guide you through the process.
Auto accidents are the second-highest cause of death in American teenagers. That’s a harrowing statistic, but it’s actually quite easy to understand when you consider how impulsive, reckless, and prone to peer pressure many teens can be. They’re going through a difficult period of life, learning so much about themselves and trying to fit in, and this can lead to them making big mistakes.
This is why a big part of your educational approach when teaching your teen to drive needs to be focused on safety. There’s no need to drone on and on about statistics or bore your child with too much data, but you have to emphasize the risks of the road and the importance of staying safe, wearing seatbelts, never drinking and driving, and sticking to the speed limit.
Patience and Empathy Are Essential
There are various skills you’ll need to teach a teen to drive effectively, with patience and empathy being two of the most significant. Let’s begin by focusing on patience. Your teen might exasperate you at times. They might struggle to understand the basics, forget the simplest of things, or make silly mistakes you don’t understand. Being patient with them, rather than losing your temper, will help them get better.
Empathy is also so important here, and it often goes hand-in-hand with patience. When teaching your teen to drive, try to put yourself in their position, remembering what it was like for you the first time you sat behind the wheel of a car. You might be an experienced, expert driver now, but you probably made mistakes back then too. By understanding your child’s position, you’ll be able to relate to them and adjust your approach to help them improve.
Start Off Slow, Even with Confident Teens
One of the interesting things that parents of multiple children often discover is that teens can have totally different attitudes and approaches to driving, depending on their own personalities and characters. Some can be really confident, mastering the basic skills quite quickly and eager to hit the highways, while others can be far more reserved, cautious, and prone to making mistakes.
You’ll need to adapt your approach to suit your teen’s style of driving, but in any case, make sure to start off slow and build up gradually. Even confident teens need to understand the basics of driving, the importance of road signs, and the various components of a car before moving on to some of the more advanced techniques.
Take it Seriously
Another good tip for parent-teachers for teen drivers is to make sure you take the process seriously. Teaching a teen to drive isn’t simply a fun activity for your free time or a chore that needs to be accomplished; it’s a big responsibility, and the wisdom you share with your child during those lessons could make all the difference to their safety on the roads in future.
Remember that, for the duration of those lessons, you become an instructor. It’s up to you to guide, educate, and inform your child, sharing the benefits of your experience and imparting whatever knowledge you can in order to get your teen prepared for the perils that might face them out on the real roads. Take it seriously, plan your lessons, and stay focused to get the best results.
Teaching a teen to drive can seem like a daunting challenge when you first start out, but hopefully, these tips and techniques will help you get off to a great start.