Monday, September 26, 2005

My teenager wants to drive!

Isn’t it amazing how fast our children grow up right before our eyes and yet sometimes we don’t even notice?

The early grade years seem to rush by all too quickly, and suddenly your little angel is transformed into a teenager. We all hope as parents that the time and patience that we have invested in our children while they were young, trying to guide them through life, hasn’t all suddenly gone out the window as soon as puberty walked through the door.

Teenagers have their own pressures to deal with and it sometimes feels like Moms and Dads just don’t have a clue about what they are going through.

For example the trend that seems to be going around at the moment with a lot of young people is, it’s cool to wear your pants down around the back of your knees and nearly trip over when you walk. Hey! I don’t knock it. I used to think it was cool to walk around in those bell bottom trousers, so who am I to talk. We as parents sometimes think that we are prepared to handle just about any situation that our teenagers are going to face. Besides, we were teenagers once. Right?

So are we as parents prepared for that question that eventually comes?

Mom, Dad, can you teach me how to drive?

I have to say here folks. I have seen a lot of Moms and Dads driving and let me tell you. I would question whether Mom and Dad should teach son / daughter how to drive at all. So, here is a question to all of you parents who have managed to stay with me this far. Are you ready to teach your teenager to drive? Now lets be honest here. Do you think that you are a good driver? Do you think that you set a good example for your teenager, or anyone for that matter when you are behind the wheel?

The reason is that if Mom or Dad’s driving habits aren’t the best. What then do you expect to teach your teenager? If you are going to teach someone how to drive, the first thing that I would recommend you do, is sign up for a defensive driving course if you haven’t completed one for a while.

I recommend this because anyone can be a good driver, but bad habits have a way of creeping up on us and sticking. You don’t even realize it. So for the sake of your teenagers introduction to driving, why not give them the best possible start by tweaking your own driving habits.

There are a couple of good courses here that will help you on your way. See if you can find one that suits you and your timetable.

Remember that completing one of these courses not only helps your son / daughter. It also helps Mom and Dad to identify any areas of driving that need addressing. It’s a win win situation. Now, back to teaching your teenager. This is going to take a lot of planning for you to be able to teach them effectively and safely. Here is a tip. Teach them one driving skill at a time whenever you have a lesson. It may be reversing, parking.

You may want to teach them moving off skills. I have written some guidelines called defensive driving for parents which will help you organize lesson plans. Read this section carefully. It will help.

When teaching someone to drive, be prepared to nurture and guide them, and be patient. Don’t expect miracles and you won’t be disappointed. Teaching someone how to drive takes special skills. Have a look at the following questions and decide. Can I indeed teach my teenager how to drive? You will know the answer to that question after you answer these.

  • Am I a good example of how I want my teenager to drive?
  • Do I want my teenager to have the best possible driving tuition?
  • Can I stay calm when they don’t pick things up as quickly as I would like?
  • Am I the type of person who gets anxious when other people are driving?
  • Do I have the ability to guide my son / daughter through a potentially dangerous situation on the road using my voice?
  • Do I have the time that it takes to nurture and guide them?
  • Can I plan, the lessons as set out in the defensive driving for parents section?
  • Will I yell and lose my temper?

After reading and answering these questions, you should have no doubt whatsoever as to what you should now do when your teenager asks: Mom, Dad, can you teach me how to drive today? You and you alone know what the answer will be to that question.

Defensive driving saves lives, that’s a well known fact. Let’s use that knowledge and allow our teenagers the benefit of learning these new techniques and teach them how to drive to survive.

Happy Motoring.

Submitted by: Timoti Petera