The adventure of parenthood changes as kids age, and now that you have a teenager you are heading for a whole new journey that involves driving. While this may not be in the immediate future, it’s important to start working with your teen to prepare them for the responsibility of driving a car. So, while you have a little time, take some action to prepare your prepare your teen for driving and the responsibility they will soon face.
Talk with your teen, be honest and straightforward about both of your expectations. Keep communication open and listen to any concerns your son or daughter may have about driving.
- Learn the state and local driving laws. State DMV’s have driving handbooks available to help young drivers learn the rules. Take time and study this together.
- Stressing the importance of practice is paramount to teaching a teen to drive. They need to know that practicing, lots of practicing, is the only way they will become good drivers.
- Make sure your child knows about the dangers of electronics distracting drivers. Initiate a rule that cellphones and other electronics are NEVER to be used while driving outside of an immediate emergency.
- Start out with teaching your teen about the car. Basic knowledge regarding starting and stopping the car should be supplemented with how to care for their car and when or how to perform basic maintenance.
- You will be your child’s main teacher but enrolling your teen in a driver safety and driver’s education class will give your teen a full spectrum of knowledge to help them learn.
- Seatbelts save lives, plain and simple. Your teen should always wear their seatbelt and all passengers they transport should always do the same.
- Now is the perfect time to teach your child about insurance, its costs, and how it can help them. Discuss with them how important it is to keep a clean driving record to control their insurance costs.
- Car washes, gasoline and even insurance deductibles need to be discussed with your child. Driving is a huge responsibility and working out an agreement about financial responsibilities will help prepare your teen for driving in adulthood as well.
- Go over the rules with your son or daughter, set out clear expectations and punishments for violating driving rules. Put these things in writing and refer to this contract often as your teen learns to drive.
Finally, driving is a privilege and not a right. Work with your teen to create rules and a safe environment for them to learn. This is a huge step for your child so be ready to lead them.