Teaching your kids to drive? How to make sure they stay safe?
Photo by Urmi (License: Creative Commons BY)
Teaching your child to drive is a rite of passage for many parents. While this is an exciting time for many families, it can also be stressful to put your child behind the wheel. It is understandable to be worried about your child’s safety as they take to the roads on their own. Here are five tips to keep in mind as you teach your teenager how to drive safely and with confidence.
The most important thing to remember as you begin to teach your child how to drive is that you need to keep calm. There will inevitably be times when it is hard not to panic and yell as your new driver makes a mistake behind the wheel. However, raising your voice will only exacerbate the situation.
It is also critical that you do not criticize your child. Remember that this is a learning process and there will be loads of mistakes along the way. You do not want to create unnecessary anxiety for your teen because this will only cause them to doubt their abilities and not drive with proper defensive skills.
Leave it to the professionals
Not all parents have the patience or fortitude to teach their children to drive. Fortunately, there are a host of alternative options that you can choose to teach your teen this life skill. It is not worth straining the relationship that you have with your child simply to teach them to drive.
Signing your child up for private driving lessons will take the burden off of you to provide this lesson. Many schools offer driver’s education classes or you can pay for a private service. A trained professional will be able to identify potential issues with your teen’s driving abilities and help them to correct them, helping them to stay safer on the roads.
Equip them with the right tools
One of the best things that you can do to ensure a safe driving experience for your new driver is to make sure that their vehicle is equipped with the best tools. You will sleep better at night if you choose a vehicle for your teen that boasts a variety of safety and security features. For example, choose a vehicle with a backup camera and other active safety features to provide a security blanket for your teen.
It is also critical that your teen is connected at all times on the road. A vehicle cell phone booster will keep your child connected even when driving through remote areas. This investment will provide much-needed peace of mind to you as your child starts this new season in life.
Sign a contract
If you are worried about your child forgetting the rules that you have established, you may want to consider drawing up a driving contract for them to sign. The most important thing to include in this contract is a promise to never use their cell phone while behind the wheel. Other rules to write up include laying out punishments for speeding and other vehicular violations.
When writing the contract, be sure to explain the specific punishments for each violation so that there is no debate if the rules are broken. Having your teen initial each rule and sign the contract will drive the message home that this is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly.
Reward good behavior
Teens are generally motivated with affirmation and rewards for good behavior. You can encourage safe driving by rewarding them for going periods of time with no incidents. For example, perhaps you can reward your teen with a day shopping at the mall with you if they are able to go one year without any traffic infractions. You can also reward your teen for upholding all of the tenants of the driving contract they signed. Praising good performance is a strong motivator and should be in your arsenal of tools to encourage your child.
As a parent, it is important that you remind your child that you are in control of their vehicle and driving privileges. Empowering them to make good choices with this responsibility will deliver the most favorable results as they get behind the wheel.