Being a parent is an incredible experience, quite unlike anything else in this world. It can be joyful and wonderful in many different ways. It also comes with numerous and significant challenges. As your kid grows older, just one of these challenges will involve helping them learn how to drive. Many struggle to teach teens to drive. Not only is this a high-stakes learning moment, but it also comes at a time when kids are seeking to define themselves – often by rebelling against their parents. As a result, you will want to equip yourself with some tools before you begin this process.
Using Digital Resources to Help Teach Teens to Drive: Begin with the Basics
When you’re teaching someone anything, it usually makes sense to start at the beginning and focus your first lessons on the core fundamentals. What are those core fundamentals? There are numerous guides online to help you make the first steps. This resource provided by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is a great place to start.
You wouldn’t expect a child’s first math class to focus on complex algebra, for instance, and you shouldn’t expect your teen to be able to understand some of the complexities of advanced driving the right way.
When you’re starting out, try and keep things simple, going over all the basics of how a car works. Don’t assume that your teen is already familiar with everything, as some young people have a tendency to make out that they’re more informed than they really are. Begin with a tour of the vehicle, introducing the pedals, the signals, dashboard controls, and so on, and test your teen to make sure they know what everything does before actually starting to drive.
It’s important to remember, when teaching teens to drive, that you’re not just a parent during those lessons: you’re a teacher. Teachers have to plan things, being responsible for the way each lesson plays out, and needing to prepare in advance, and this is really important when it comes to driving lessons. Teaching is not a natural process for many. Make sure to go through what this entails and arm yourself with some stress-reducing practices before you get behind the wheel.
It’s a sad fact that auto accidents are the second-highest cause of death in teens in America today. Thousands of young lives are cut short due to crashes and collisions every year, and countless other teens end up in the hospital, suffering severe physical and mental injuries, many of which could have been avoided with a little more care and attention.
Too often, teens are more focused on the fun and advantages of driving than on the importance of staying safe. Try and help your teen avoid any costly mistakes by repeatedly reminding them of car safety, telling them about the risks they can face if they break the rules, and reinforcing the importance of wearing belts, checking mirrors, using turn signals, and so on. You may also want to introduce them to safe driving apps that can help to monitor their activity on the roads.
Finding a Balanced Approach
As well as planning out your lessons and making sure to focus on key safety tips for teen drivers, you also need to ensure that you have the right attitude when carrying out your lessons. After all, the attitude of a teacher or instructor can have a big impact on how effective they are at actually getting their message across and helping people learn.
If you’re too strict or sharp in your instructions, you might simply stress your teen out and make them more likely to make mistakes. However, if you’re too relaxed and casual in your approach, they might not feel totally secure, or may not fully understand the importance of safety and rules. Try to find the right balance here, being strict when you need to be, while also being empathetic and understanding too.
Adjust Your Approach to Suit Your Teen
Every teen is different, and the teenage years are highly formative; this is the period of life when young people discover a lot about themselves and really find out who they are, and it’s a time when you can see a lot of changes in the characters and emotions of your kids as well. This can be important when it comes to teaching them how to drive.
Some teens will be really confident the first time they sit behind the wheel and may need to be calmed down a little in order to avoid getting too cocky and making mistakes. At the same time, other teens might be immensely nervous about the whole thing and require a lot of positive reinforcement to become more confident in themselves. Watch your teen and see how they react when learning to drive and adapt your approach accordingly.
Teaching a teen to drive is often quite a big challenge for any parent, but it can be really rewarding over time to see your child learn such an important skill and knowledge that you have played your part in that process. It’s also a great opportunity to teach your kids about road safety and try to reduce their risks of any future accidents, so make sure to keep these tips in mind and have the right approach.
Featured Image: Orkun Azap, Unsplash.