The time has finally come to teach your teen to drive. This is a special time in the life of your child, as they prepare for a rite of passage. It can be a special time between parent and child, as well- a time of bonding and learning. Teaching a teen to drive doesn't come without worry and anxiety for parents, though. It can be a nerve-wracking experience to hop into the passenger seat and let you teen take the wheel. Here are some great tips for preparing yourself to teach your teen to drive.
Set the example.
One of the best ways to prepare your teen to take the wheel is to lead by example. Set a good example for your teen when you're in the car together. Let them see you being a good driver, and a good steward. Depending on where you live, and what types of traffic conditions you might find yourself in on a regular basis, talk to your child about the way you drive, and let them know why you do the things you choose to do when driving. Set good examples by focusing on the road, and not becoming distracted. Laws regarding cell phone use when driving may vary from state to state, from set a good example by not looking at your phone when driving, so your child will understand the importance of safety when driving. Invest in a hands-free bluetooth set for yourself, and for your new driver.
Prepare your child.
Before letting your child get behind the wheel, have a few lessons at home, explaining what everything is in the car, and how they work. Your child needs to be comfortable doing the everyday things that are just automatic to adults who have been driving fr many years. Help your child become familiar with things like working the headlights and blinkers, properly using the windshield wipers, the heat and A/C, adjusting the seat and the mirrors, etc. Allowing them to see you using these things and talking about when and how to use them will make them feel more comfortable when they are in the driver's seat.
Make sure they receive proper instruction.
Enrolling your child in a driver's education course will give them the classroom and hands-on experience they need in order to be able to understand the importance of safe driving. In these courses, they will learn the rules of the road, state driving laws, and will be able to practice driving on the road with a certified instructor. In some areas, courses may be available through local high schools. If not, you can look for certified driving schools in your area.
Just remember that your child will probably be feeling many different emotions regarding driving- fear, excitement, and anxiety. Some will want to go for a drive right away, and others may need more time just practicing in an empty parking lot, while you talk over all of the bells and whistles of the car. Go at the pace that your child feels most comfortable with. Be sure to practice patience as they learn, and remember to breathe!
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