Raising kids is all about raising productive and independent adults. You need to make sure that your kids are ready for the real world and can eventually function without you.
Part of your responsibility as a parent is to make sure that your teens learn how to drive. Not only is it an essential skill, it’s also a very helpful one for you, the parent. If your teen has the ability to get himself from one place to another without you–that saves so much time for you!
But as I’ve noticed through teaching two teens to drive and a third nearing the minimum age, not all kids learn the same or need the same support.
As a parent, you already know this. You know that each of your children is different from the next and from their friends. But when you think about something as rote as driving, it’s easy to think that your kids just need time behind the wheel.
While that may be true, in part, the time behind the wheel will still look different from teen to teen.
When Jack learned to drive several years ago, I couldn’t be part of it at all. I had such a difficult time letting go of control that I was a basket case sitting in the passenger seat with him. Our personalities clashed and I knew that the only way to go was to enroll him in a driver’s education program and let his dad teach him. Once he had the basics down, I did much better in the passenger seat with him.
Charlie was very different. I felt much better about teaching him to drive. He grasped the skills differently and learned without having to take driver’s ed. I think part of my level of comfort had to do with Charlie’s sheer hours in the car as I drove him to and from high school. He had more experience watching someone drive on the freeway and our personalities didn’t clash as much.
Of course, having two boys on our vehicle insurance has been really expensive–our rates more than tripled since before Jack was 16. This means doing everything we can do reduce our rates, like pricing out different plans, asking for student discounts and even looking into defensive driving programs like Put on the Brakes to help them learn skills for high-stress situations. (Neither had taken this class yet, but we’re looking into it as an option.)
What are some things you’ve done or plan to do to help your kids learn this essential (but stressful) skill? With my third turning of age soon, I’m all ears for tips!