Pages Navigation Menu

Things to do in Orange County for OC Moms

Categories Navigation Menu

Steer Things In The Right Direction While Teaching Your Child To Drive

Teaching our kids to drive can be such a difficult process that many parents wouldn’t touch the idea with a barge pole. There are driving instructors for precisely this purpose, and your relationship with your teen is likely fraught enough without this added pressure! Yet, despite your knowledge of all of these things, you may be strangely drawn toward the idea of teaching your child yourself.

After all, driving can be daunting enough in itself, let alone when you add a stranger into the equation for an already anxious child. You might even look forward to the chance to spend time with a teen who’s likely been locking you out for a good few years at this point. 

Unfortunately, none of this negates the concerns that you’re going to feel in the lead-up to your first few lessons. After all, you don’t want to make this relationship worse, and you certainly don’t want to fall into the arguments that you’ve heard about from so many other parents who have tried this. Hence why, before you even think about getting behind that wheel, it’s well worth considering the following simple ways to make sure you’re always steering this teaching journey in the right direction. 

# 1 – Learn how to put yourself in their shoes

Learning to drive can be overwhelming regardless of age, but teens who haven’t had the same life experiences as the rest of us can be even more easily overwhelmed. This means that your child will already be under a load of personal pressure when they get behind the wheel, and may therefore be more likely to snap at you by proxy, at least to begin with. 

Luckily, this doesn’t mean that your teaching journey is doomed, and you can remind yourself of that by using tips like those mentioned on to put yourself in your teen’s shoes. Even simple steps, including understanding your teen’s view and remembering yourself at their age will make a huge difference in helping you to remain understanding no matter what. As well as helping you to be a more calming teaching presence, this will then enable you to plan lessons that directly address your teen’s fears and weaknesses, without throwing them in at the deep end and then acting unimpressed when they don’t know how to swim.

# 2 – Know what you need to teach


A lack of lesson planning is one of the most fatal mistakes that parents can make here, and can result in lackluster efforts that will both underestimate your child, and prevent them from achieving results. This is guaranteed to lead to dissatisfaction and arguments, and could even see your teen making foolish decisions like taking the car out without you just to learn something.

To avoid all of that, you must take the time to know precisely what you need to teach before you start trying to take control of lessons. As well as helping to refresh your knowledge/eliminate any bad driving habits you’ve picked up over the years, this ensures informed, knowledgeable lessons that see you teaching your teen how to drive safely while leaving them way less room to question your skills. Lessons especially worth focusing on include – 

  • Vehicle understanding
  • Basic skills (safe turns, shifting gears, etc.)
  • Interacting with other drivers
  • Parking and turns
  • Advanced skills (driving at night, in wet weather, etc.)
  • Etc.

By tailoring each lesson around one specific skill set, you ensure a more structured experience that puts you in the driving seat and leaves way less room for bickering or for your teen to question your authority.

# 3 – Don’t dwell on mistakes

Often, teens resent their parents due to the feeling that they’re a disappointment, or that their mistakes are always under intense scrutiny. This feeling is likely to be even stronger during a high-pressure situation like a driving lesson and could cause your teen to become defensive, snappy, and at risk of making worse mistakes.

In reality, though, any learner driver is going to make mistakes at some stage – this is how we all learn! To ensure that those mistakes don’t become sticking points in your lessons, or even such major arguments that teaching comes to a complete standstill, it’s vital that you don’t dwell on these things.

Of course, that’s not to say that you should just gloss over things that your child does wrong, but rather that you should move forward using positive language that corrects, rather than scolds, whenever a mistake is made. Then, make sure to move on quickly, knowing that your child will already be working through what happened without your needing to rehash the point or make them feel bad about it. 

# 4 – Always keep your voice steady


The high-pressure situations that you and your teen are likely to face together in the car mean that you may be naturally inclined to raise your voice to, say, get your child to stop quickly or make a sudden turn. However, raising your voice is never going to serve your purpose here, and is something that you should avoid as much as possible throughout your lessons no matter what happens.

After all, if you shout, then your teen is more likely to shout, and this is going to result in a higher likelihood of accidents or issues. Not to mention that, after a shouting match, your teen may be unwilling or unenthusiastic about getting behind the wheel with you again.

To avoid all of this, it’s vital that you get into an instructor’s mindset, and remember that a professional teacher would never shout at a student. Instead, utilize tools including breathing techniques and those all-important lesson plans to always remain in a calm place where your voice stays steady, and you’re better able to handle any situation that arises. This way, your teen will feel far more assured, and your lessons are way less likely to swing off the handle at the slightest thing.

# 5 – Don’t think you have to do it all alone

While taking on the mantle of teaching your child to drive does mean that this responsibility ultimately falls on you, it’s also important to realize that you don’t have to take this entire task on your shoulders. After all, that much pressure is sure to leave anyone a little hot under the collar and more likely to stress out!

For one thing, remember that your child should also take ample responsibility for what is ultimately their driving journey through things like additional reading, research, and even practice tests like those offered on As your teen gains confidence behind the wheel, you may also find it beneficial to float the idea of a few standalone professional lessons with them. Alternating weeks with a professional instructor, or even supplementing with one professional lesson a month, can take pressure off everyone’s shoulders that learning is moving in the right direction, and that you’re doing a good job together. As well as making it likely that your teen will be able to sit their test sooner, the reassurance and eased pressure that this provides is sure to create a more positive learning environment overall.

Teaching your teen to drive can be a brave choice and, in some instances, personality clashes may well make this impossible despite everyone’s best efforts. If you’ve got your heart set on sitting alongside your child during this crucial journey, however, these tips could well help you to make it happen. 

Sign Up for Our Newsletter
Connect With Us

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *