Is your teen driving you crazy? Tips for parents of new drivers
Where did the time go? It seems like yesterday when you took off their training wheels, but now it’s time to let go and let them drive. For concerned parents, the idea of their child operating a 2,000-pound speeding bullet down the highway can cause sleepless nights, sweaty palms, and mini panic attacks. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Here are some tips for parents of new drivers to make the learning process a smooth and safe transition from childhood to independence.
So, exactly how can you prepare your teenager to be a lifelong safe driver? After your new driver studies the driving manual and passes the Learner’s Permit test, he or she can hit the road. Don’t let this drive you crazy. The best things a parent can do are to remain calm, discuss the responsibilities that come with driving, and practice, practice, practice. If you need to pick up a few things at the grocery store, hand your teen the car keys and let her drive you. The key is to remain calm when you’re sitting in the passenger seat. Don’t white knuckle it every time your teen accelerates and don’t grab the handle. This will only make your new driver more nervous.
Instead, when your teen is driving, provide a calm, but running commentary. At intersections, explain the importance of studying oncoming traffic before proceeding. Do not scream like you’re in a horror movie if your teen makes a mistake while behind the wheel. The key is to inspire confidence and relay important directions and information. If you remain calm, your new driver will also remain calm. It’s as simple as that.
Proper driver education is as important as constant practice. Teens tend to listen more to people other than their own parents. While we might think they’re listening, our voices often sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher. A trained professional will break through and get teens to think about their behind-the-wheel decisions. Plus, your new driver will walk away with vitally important information about road rules and so much more.
So, when your teen driver is driving you crazy, remember to take a deep breath, unclench those hands, and relax. Schedule practice sessions and make sure they’re quality ones with positive reinforcement and helpful feedback. The more your teen drives in different conditions, the better driver he will become in the long haul.
Finally, use your best judgment. Parental instinct is a great tool. You will know when your teen is ready and able to pass that final hurdle – the driving test for a Georgia driver’s license. If he or she isn’t 100% ready, it’s perfectly OK and even advisable to delay the test.
Now, breathe and relax. This is just the first step towards adulthood.
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