If you thought teaching your teen to drive was stressful, wait until you have to set him free and let him actually drive. Without you there. On the wide-open roads. With all of the other crazy drivers. Yeah, it’s enough to cause any parent to have a full-on anxiety attack. So what can you do to help ease the worry and make the experience a positive one for both of you?
Take a Deep Breath
First, you need to relax. Yes, it is your baby controlling that car, but you stressing out and worrying constantly isn’t going to solve anything. Instead, think about all of the positives that come along with your teen driving: You don’t have to feel like a taxi service anymore, and you can go to bed when you want instead of having to wait to go pick him up somewhere (although you know you will still be staying up to make sure he gets home safely).
Demonstrate Your Trust
Now, you need to show your teen that you are confident in his behind-the-wheel abilities. If he senses that you are nervous about his driving, it will just make him question his own skills, which is the last thing you want. You spent months and months of your life ensuring that your teen has all of the knowledge and knowhow he needs to be safe behind the wheel. Give yourself a pat on the back for getting through it all in one piece, and give him his wings. He won’t let you down.
Continue to Set a Good Example
The first rule of parenting is that what you do has a much bigger impact than what you say, and this could not be truer when it comes to controlling a car. Always drive how you want your teen to drive, because you never know when he is watching. This means not using your phone, always putting on your blinker, wearing your seatbelt, and following the posted speed limits. If your teen spots you breaking any of these laws, he will assume it’s okay for him to break them also.
Let Him Learn His Own Lessons
There will likely be a day in your not too distant future when your teen calls you to tell you he got pulled over (hopefully it never happens, but you need to be prepared, just in case). It is understandably your parental instinct to protect him and get him out of any ticket he receives, but this is not the best message to send from the get go. If he really feels the consequences of that first ticket, chances are he will try especially hard not to get another one.
Give it Time
As the days and weeks pass, your teen will prove to you that he really did listen to everything you taught him and is an excellent driver. Before you know it, he will head out the door with the keys in his hand and you won’t even think twice about it.
Written by Improv Traffic School.