Teaching Your Teen To Drive
Starting driving lessons with your new driver naturally makes you anxious. The safety of your children is always going to be #1. But, as with several of life’s realities, your teenage child will have to take driving lessons from you eventually (no matter how much you don’t want to do it). Doing so for the first time can actually make you worry a lot, which affects your disposition as you deliver instructions carefully to your equally-anxious teen driver.
Nonetheless, there are always ways to make sure that your little first-timer gets to do things right while behind the wheel. Given the mix of emotions involved alongside the technical character of driving lessons, teaching your kid how to drive is by no means an easy task. Here, we will discuss what it takes to guide your teen to drive properly, from the challenges involved to the things your teen driver needs to remember.
Parental roles and expectations
As a parent, you are expected to demonstrate full responsibility over your teenage child as he/she learns to drive. The process of providing driving lessons to your kid can be overwhelming at best and frustrating at worst. That alone opens you to a variety of challenges to hurdle through as your junior learns more from you. Here are some ways to make the lessons easier on you and your new driver.
Readiness. Know that just because your teenage child hits 16 does not automatically mean that he/she should learn how to drive already. After all, commuting through driving is a conscious choice your teenager should also make. So, before you conduct driving lessons on your kid, make sure to ask them first if they are ready and willing.
Planning. First-timers need to have a clear idea on where driving lessons will be conducted. Whether you find it best to teach your kid to traverse jam-packed downtown avenues, make your quiet suburban village as their testing ground, or taking them to the completely empty parking lot with no chance of them hitting a single thing, planning makes things easier both for you and your kid. For that, it pays that the both of you are clear on where driving lessons will be conducted and what specific lessons will be taught on a given session. If you’ve ever taken driver’s education you may want to use the same approach that they do; start in an empty parking lot and slowly move your way up to different, more traffic ridden areas as you and your teen get more comfortable.
Instruction Giving your kid driving lessons technically makes you the driving instructor. For that, make sure that you maintain a calm and composed disposition while you conduct your teaching duties. How you act and speak and how you criticize or complement certainly contributes to how your teenage driver will learn. That handle above your window will come in handy!
Choice of words Make sure to refine your choice of words when instructing your kid behind the wheel. Choose easy-to-understand terms in explaining automotive components, and make sure to practice your patience to help motivate your kid to learn. If you are calm, cool, and collected, they won’t be as anxious about being behind the wheel.
Criticizing and complementing Always make it a point to relay corrections in a non-intrusive and demotivating manner, so that your kid will not be affected negatively. At the same time, make it a habit to complement your teenage driver for good performance, so that he/she will be more motivated to become a better driver. Just remember what it felt like when your mom or dad were increasing your anxiety by yelling at you…your kid will thank you in the long run.
Starting slow First-timers are obviously not adept to unsavory driving conditions, which is why you must take your teenage driver to quiet or equally-manageable areas for driving first before venturing forth in busier settings.
Looking around Driving for years develops drivers’ sense of awareness to their surroundings. Obviously, that should not be expected from your kid as they look to drive for the first time. This is why you must make it a point to take on the role of being a watcher, as your kid develops his/her own sense of awareness behind the wheel. Reminding them to look in the mirrors is also a good rule of thumb. Think about what mirrors you would be looking in right now and teach them how and when to use them.
Directions and weather As your kid’s driving instructor, make it a point to guide them thoroughly on the proper directions on the road. Tell your teenage driver to “turn left,” “turn right,” “go straight,” or any other similar instructions when guiding directions, but give them enough time to prepare for this direction. Also, make sure to set out only in fine sunny weather. Your kid will eventually have to deal with driving under different weather conditions once they improve their driving.
Goal-setting When teaching a first-timer to operate behind the wheel, make it a point to be as realistic as possible for every session. Normally, your kid should have at least 15-20 minutes per session so as not to exhaust them. Of course, you may choose to extend only if your teenage driver is confident enough to go for longer. Offer incentives for mastering different maneuvers, like a 3-point turn, successfully backing into a parking space, or parallel parking with minimal corrections.