As a parent, watching your child get behind the wheel can be a terrifying experience. This is especially true because the responsibility to teach them all the things they need to know falls on your shoulders. If you make the effort to connect with your teen and teach them some basic things before they get behind the wheel, they will be infinitely safer than they would be without your help. Teaching your teen to drive can be a positive experience between the two of you if you go about it the right way. Having a teenage driver isn’t just about finding the cheapest car insurance and then sending your kids out on the road; it’s about teaching them responsibility and respect for the laws of the road.
Before You Leave The Driveway
There are several things you should discuss with your teen before they get behind the wheel of a car. It’s not necessary to scare your child, only instill a sense of the importance of controlling a motor vehicle in them. Before you leave the driveway, plan a route that you will take and the specific skills they need to work on. Plan to be calm and patient, and understand that they are learning. If you are intense and react strongly to things that happen, it will make your teen driver even more nervous and could very well lead to an accident.
On Your Route
Make sure to give your driver simple instructions well before they need to make a move. Give them adequate time to perform the task before they have to make a quick move. Make sure your voice is calm and soothing. Encourage your teen driver to open up and talk about the things they plan to do while driving. If your teen starts to exhibit signs of stress or anxiety, make sure to take over for them as quickly and safely as possible. Make sure to praise them when they do something right, and try not to distract them with too much talking. Calmly discuss any errors that are made during the drive, and teach your driver how to fix them.
After The Drive
Once you have returned home safely and the car is parked in the garage, don’t just walk away from your teen with a high five. Sit down and discuss some specific things with them. Talk about how the driving experience went and give them a chance to point out any mistakes they made. Again, praise them for what they did right and ask them what they can do to improve. Give them a chance to work through any problems they had on their own without handing them the answers.
With a little bit of prep work and follow through, teaching your teen to drive can not only instill responsibility in them, but can become a positive bonding experience for the two of you. At a time in the lives of most children when parents feel them slipping away, any positive experience you can create will make you feel closer to them and solidify your relationship. Once you have purchased a car and Maryland auto insurance, teach your teen that they can trust you with the things that are important to them by investing time in teaching them how to drive responsibly.