When my daughter obtained her learner’s permit, I quickly realized just how nervous I would be when she got behind the wheel. Within the process of teaching her how to drive, I learned a few things myself like what worked and did not work when we first hit the road.
Driver’s Education Class
DON’T think that you are an expert at driving (unless of course you happen to be a professional driver or driving instructor). Even if you are wonderful driver, it might be a good time to brush up on the driver’s handbook.
DO enroll your child in a driver’s education class if it is not part of their school’s curriculum. Most state or regional government web sites for driving have links or listings for driving classes in the area. Locate a class that is reputable and affordable. Learning from a third party can be less intimidating and your teen may even pay closer attention when someone else besides you is instructing them. Although my daughter’s school did not offer this class as part of the regular curriculum, they did offer a summer course given by a local company.
Patience Really is a Virtue
DON’T lose patience, scold or yell at your teen while they are behind the wheel. Remember that they are just as nervous, if not more, than you. If you lose it while they are driving, this will only put more pressure on them and could keep them from concentrating on the road.
DO be encouraging and supportive while you are in the car with your teen driver. Praise them for the things that they do well. Even if they do make a mistake, let them know the correct way to do things without losing your cool.
Continue Their Education
DON’T stop teaching them, explaining the rules, or giving them helpful tips just because they may not be behind the wheel at the moment.
DO continue to explain the rules of the road even if you or someone else is driving. Talk about the laws for turning right on red or show them how to safely back out of a parking space. Having them pay attention to another driver and their methods can be helpful the next time that they have to do the same thing.
Practice Makes Perfect – Or Close To It
DON’T avoid allowing your teen to drive at every opportunity because you are nervous. The only way to overcome your anxiety about their driving is to teach them to become safe drivers.
DO allow your teen to drive whenever possible. Remember that they need to learn to drive at night and in bad weather. Disallowing them to drive in less than ideal conditions will not teach them how to do so when the time comes.
The more my daughter drives; the more comfortable we both feel. She continues to ask questions and whether or not she is doing something correctly. This shows me that she is serious about being a good, safe driver. I am happy to say that I no longer grip the door handle for dear life! So, when it comes time to obtain her driver’s license, I think we will both be ready.
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