If you’ve got a teenager, one thing you’re going to need to tackle eventually is teaching them to drive. You want your teen to have freedom and confidence, so teaching them to drive can be a great way to give them this, as well as more job opportunities (you won’t need to keep on ferrying them around either, win-win!).
How do you know when it’s time to teach your teen to drive? They’re always going to be excited to learn, so using that as your marker may not be the best idea! Read on to find out what to look for:
THEY ARE READY TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
Your teen being the right age is one thing, but you need to see that they are ready to take responsibility. Them telling you that they are ready to take responsibility just won’t cut it. You should be able to see it. Do they do their chores at home? Are they careful with their belongings? Do they tell you the truth?
These things are so important – if they are constantly losing/breaking their phone, is this something they are going to get into the habit of doing with the car? Learning to drive is a big commitment. It’s a financial commitment, but they are also under an obligation to follow the rules of the road. They need to take it seriously!
Ultimately, you need to feel like they are ready to take responsibility and that they really want to learn. Sometimes, it’s best to wait until they approach you. If they are very anxious, this can be extremely dangerous.
TAKE IT SLOW
If you do decide now is the right time to teach them, take it slow in the beginning. Start in an empty car park and see if they can follow basic instructions. Remember, it’s just as important for you to keep your cool as it is for your teen. If your emotions are all over the place, then you’re not going to be a great teacher for your teen.
Rather than telling your teen they will get a fine if they don’t slow down, ask them what the speed limit is in the area. This forces them to look around and take note, rather than just see you as a nagging voice in the passenger seat.
Although you would hope your teen will keep an eye on all 4 sides of the car, it’s up to you to stay aware. There’s a lot for your teen to remember, and mistakes and accidents do happen. If focus is taken off the surrounding areas, you may need to seek legal counsel from a knowledgeable car accident lawyer. Try not to get angry with your teen, or they will probably not want to learn anymore.
BE THEIR COACH
Remember, it’s your job to coach your teen to become a safe driver. Don’t talk down to your teen, and don’t make vague statements like “you’re distracted”. Be specific with them about what they should/shouldn’t be doing.
With these cues, you’ll be able to teach your teen to drive in no time at all.