By Evan Fischer
Sponsored Guest Contributor
The day has finally come. Every parent’s worst nightmare.
Your little boy or girl has matured into a hormonal adolescent and he or she has just strolled through the front door armed with a self-satisfied smirk and a little slip of paper from the DMV that reads: provisional learner’s permit. That piece of government-issued paper grants your child license to pester you to take him or her driving every day, hour, minute, and second until he or she takes the road test. It’s your right and responsibility as a parent to make sure the fruit of your loins grows into a safe and responsible driver. So just how do you go about discharging this most sacred of parenting duties? Here are five tips for the parents out there wading into the morass of teen driving for the first time:
1) Don’t Panic
Your teen may seem cocky – it’s in their nature – but chances are good that he or she is just as nervous about this latest venture as you are. If you project an air of anxiety, you’re only going to exacerbate your kid’s nerves. A nervous driver is a dangerous driver. Try and make your teen feel comfortable behind the well. Let him or her know that you have faith (albeit shaky) in his or her ability to drive – even if you really don’t.
Everybody learns to drive at his or her own pace. Don’t pressure your teen to take steps he or she isn’t ready for. If your teen backs into the garage door or takes a lap around the neighborhood with the parking brake on, don’t freak out. Everyone makes mistakes when they start out, and blowing small dings out of proportion doesn’t help the learning process.
2) Teach to the Book
We all develop bad driving habits over time. It’s inevitable. Maybe you drive with one hand (or no hands). Maybe you talk on the cell phone while you’re cruising. Maybe you neglect to look over your shoulder every time you change lanes. These minor infractions are fine for you, but they may cause your teen to fail his or her road test. Always teach driving by the book.
3) Be a Role Model
I bet you didn’t realize that you’re teaching your teen to drive even when you’re the one behind the wheel. Kids are like sponges. If you demonstrate bad behavior, like road rage, guess who’s going to pick it up? As a rule of thumb, whenever your teen driver is in the car, drive like a cop is following you.
4) Be Available
Don’t make your teenager feel guilty about needing a little extra attention. Clear some time in your schedule to make sure your kid logs enough hours to gain confidence behind the wheel. If your teen feels like he or she is inconveniencing you every time he or she asks you to go for a drive, he or she may stop asking. There are few things more dangerous than an under-rehearsed teenage driver.
5) Hide Your Copy of Grand Theft Auto
This one’s a no-brainer. We all love Rock Star’s GTA series, but there are better games for your teen to play while he or she is learning to drive. Jacking used GMC trucks and outrunning police in helicopters is one activity that needs to remain virtual!
About the Author:
Evan Fischer is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California. He enjoys writing about the latest tech news for a variety of companies and discovering new and innovative gadgets.