You can’t believe it’s already here. Your teen is grown-up and ready to reach another milestone with some help from you – passing the driver’s license exam. Teaching your teen will require you to keep your cool especially when he or she rolls her eyes, slams on the brakes or isn’t paying attention. Take a deep breath! Create a plan to guide your teen through the process, while also maintaining your sanity.
Before Your Teen Drives
Challenge your teen to research your all of the local driving laws. Let your teen know how important it is to know the rules before driving on the road. Make learning these rules a condition for your teen to drive on the road. To ensure that your teen has absorbed the material, require them to pass an online practice driving test before letting your teen get behind the wheel to practice driving on the road with you.
Have a discussion about house rules on the responsibility of driving. Talk about the danger of texting while driving, the harmful effects of drunk driving and the distraction of having teen passengers in the car. Put it in writing and have your teen sign this “contract.” The one catch? You have to follow the rules too! Your teens are watching how you drive and it is important to practice what you preach.
During Road Training
For the first few lessons, try to find quiet places to practice, like an empty parking lot or in the morning. Always focus on safety – have your teen adjust the seat, check the mirrors and, of course, put on his or her seat belt. Once your driving lesson begins, it will probably lead to arguments and hurt feelings, but remain calm and patient. If things get too heated, walk away, take a breather and return to the car a few minutes later. Once your teen gets a few lessons under his or her belt, drive in a variety of weather conditions, on roads and highways and during different times of the day. You need to understand your teen’s weaknesses and strengths to understand where to direct the focus of future lessons. Schedule the practice time so you build it in with a break, maybe a stop for ice cream or lunch. It will allow both of you to regroup and try again if frustrations run high.
Reviewing & Preparation Post-Driving
After the driving session, review with your teen what worked or skills which needs more improvement. Boost his or her confidence, but also emphasize what didn’t work. To help prepare for the written test, devise checklists, safety rules and what to remember on the road.
And if you don’t believe that your teen is ready to take on the road, call in for some backup. There is no harm in asking a professional for help to teach your child how to drive safely.
Teaching your teen to drive will come with its roadblocks, but it’s only temporary. Before you know it, he or she is grabbing the keys to the car and waving goodbye.