When the time comes to teach your teen to drive, it's normal to feel some level of anxiety. After all, with more than 2,000 teens killed in car accidents in 2013, it's natural for parents to worry. What you may be surprised to find is that your teen could also be suffering with anxiety over the process. If you talk with your child and he or she seems worried, there are a few things that you can do to help. Here are some tips to tackle those worries head-on.
Consider Your Child's Developmental State
One of the most important considerations when you're teaching a child how to drive is whether or not they are truly developmentally ready for the lesson. Start by asking him or her what it is about driving that's triggering the anxiety. See if your child has any ideas that may help to ease that anxiety. In addition, carefully think about his or her actual developmental or maturity level to see what other contributing factors there may be. For example:
Slow maturity is a serious concern. If your child is 16 but emotionally and cognitively is around 13, it may not be the best time to teach him or her to drive. Wait for that maturity level to catch up to a point where focus, concentration, and an understanding of responsibility come naturally.
Self-confidence is an important factor. If your teen doesn't trust his or her own decision-making, it can make for unpredictability on the road. In situations like this, it's important to address that confidence issue first. Spend some time helping your child with decision-making and building self-confidence before you hit the road.
Catastrophic thinking makes simple tasks a real challenge. It also makes learning to drive an anxiety-inducing process. For kids who struggle with this, it's often best to spend some time dealing with the underlying issues that drive the thought processes. You should deal with the thought patterns first, because catastrophic thinking, or believing everything will always go wrong, is distracting and detrimental on the road.
Fear of the unknown is another common issue. For kids who are planners, they may find themselves out of their element when it comes to tackling something new like driving. There are tools and techniques you can use to help them feel more familiar with the process, though. Talk through scenarios, prepare them for common situations, and take one step at a time.
Create Pre-Emptive Plans
For many teens, anxieties about learning to drive can be eased with a little bit of pre-planning. For example:
Address all of the basics first. Make sure your teen knows how to fill the car with gas, how to access the engine, how to fill the washer fluid, and how to use the hazard lights. Go over what all of the dashboard warning lights mean, too.
Prepare for mechanical issues, too. Your teen should know the common mechanical issues that can arise, including flat tires, an overheating engine, getting stuck, and more. Show him or her not only where the jack is located but also how to use it. Finally, spend time teaching your child how to change a tire properly.
Keep all of the necessary paperwork in the car. When your child knows that all of the information they could need is right in the car, that makes it easier to relax a little bit. Keep insurance information, registration paperwork, and important phone numbers like tow trucks and emergency numbers all in the glove box.
When you take the time to adequately prepare your teen, those first few driving lessons can be much more enjoyable. Don't let stress get the better of you and your loved ones. Instead, work together to address any concerns so that you're equipped for a successful transition into teen driving.
For more information and tips, contact your local driving school.Share
7 December 2016
After my children started school, I knew that I had to do something to improve their comprehension. I started slowly by working with them with their homework, and then I slowly gravitated towards working with them to master the core concepts they were learning in school. It was a lot of work, but my efforts really paid off. After about three months, my children's teachers were reporting improved grades and better mastery of most of the core concepts. This blog is here to help other parents to know how to improve their own child's education so that they can enjoy a happier life.