Lesson 16: Your Teen Wants to Practice with You
As a parent, it’s tempting to shrug off the responsibility to teach your teen how to drive. After all, your teen will likely take some form of driver’s education, with a teacher and dedicated classroom time, right? Though this may be the case, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a role to play. In fact, parental involvement is crucial to the safety of teen drivers. Here’s why your teen wants (and needs) your help.
Your teen has been watching you drive for years, learning the basic rules of the road and picking up your driving habits (both good and bad). Because of this dynamic, you have effectively been your teen’s first driving instructor and thus the number one influence on how your teen will drive. Whether you wanted this position or not, it’s important that you embrace it and commit to setting a good example for your teen.
Though it might be hard to believe, your teen most likely wants your help behind the wheel, even if he or she doesn’t say it out loud. Whether it’s more practice on a certain skill, like backing up, or extra guidance on how to react in certain situations, most teens want more help preparing for the road. Parents are in a perfect position to provide that help, as long as they are supportive and understanding.
Practice: The many responsibilities facing drivers – and modern risks like distracted driving – can be intimidating to teens. As your teen starts to learn to drive, take a moment each week to ask what he or she would like to focus on. While there are plenty of important lessons you can share, regular check-ins like this can help you understand the issues most concerning your teen.