Should you say yes?
Parenting throws a lot of curveballs at parents, but if there’s one that really knocks them out it’s having a teenager. Let alone having to teach their teenager to drive.
Teenagers are too young to be considered responsible, but too old to be completely dependent. It is that new independence that is terrifying for parents.
Especially if this is your first teenage experience!
One of the ways that your teen will want to exert their independence is by asking to learn to drive. Believe it or not, your response should almost always be a resounding “YES!”
Time for Freedom!
You don’t have to enjoy your baby growing up, but it’s happening whether you like it or not.
You can get on board, or you can cry in the corner. Or both.
Either way, going to get one of the Audi ex demo cars as a secret “well done for passing your driving test” and stashing it in the garage might actually be the appropriate response.
You should also feel honoured that your teen has come to you to ask you to teach them to drive.
The idea of teaching them may make you feel a little fear, but you’ve raised this child into a teenager. You know that they are smart and responsible.
Now, you get to teach them how to step into the next phase of life: freedom!
As you get to this next phase, you need to know how to be successful while you teach your teenager the basics of how to get around!
With this in mind, here are some of the tips you need to be able to successfully teach your teenager to drive.
Don’t scream in the car!
It might sound super simple, but you’re the coach here – not the parent.
You need to hold any panic to yourself and remain calm. Be patient and try to talk calmly, even if you feel like freaking out.
Internalise any worry you have because if you screech, you’ll put them off and dent their confidence at the same time.
Be early with your instructions.
Your teenager is going to be nervous as they get behind the wheel for the first (and second, and twentieth time). Let them plan early in the same way a driving instructor would.
If you want them to turn right, tell them at the start of the street you are on that you want them to turn right at the next right turn.
This gives them time to prepare!
Keep aware of the road.
Teaching your teenager to be aware of their surroundings is obviously extremely important. However, it will take them some time to learn how to do this.
Make sure that you are aware of all surroundings yourself and be ready to warn them to stop if necessary.
You might feel yourself wanting to lead every step of the way, but teaching your teenager to drive means you have to be patient with them.
Try not to jump the gun – let them learn themselves. But remember, don’t shout!
Berating your teenager gets you nowhere. Teasing them gets you nowhere. Making out as if they’re stupid doesn’t help either of you.
So, when you know something is going wrong, ask your concern as a question.
Things like asking the speed limit and using a question and answer approach to make them feel confident in their own ability is important.
Be the example.
You want your teenager to feel confident and comfortable. This starts with you being confident in their abilities.
When you are showing them how things work, make sure that you model yourself as the driver that you want them to be.
Above all, remember that your teenager has asked YOU for a reason. They chose YOU to be the one to help move them in this direction.
Turning them down can make them feel as if you don’t appreciate or value their opinion.
If there is a good reason for why you do not want to teach your teenager to drive, just try to explain it to them in a simple, clear and caring way.