As I have mentioned in my previous article here, I am a mother of 4 children and one of the most nerve wracking moments in my life as a parent is having to teach my children to drive. I have two children that I have had to experience this with already and the most recent one is my son and in this article I am hoping that I will answer the question for you on how to teach your son to drive and to get your worries in check.
When my daughter became of age to drive I passed it on to my husband because I just couldn’t do it myself. I mean I still can’t get into the car with her driving and it has nothing to do with her driving capabilities (even though she doesn’t drive very well in my opinion). Unfortunately my husband is on the road for work a lot more often these days and when he is home he doesn’t seem to be interested in teaching our son to drive.
Now you are probably also wondering what age should you start teaching them how to drive. That really depends on the teenager, but I didn’t actually start teaching mine until he was 15 and 16. You don’t necessarily have to wait that long and I probably wouldn’t recommend waiting that long, but because of my fear, I did. However, my husband started teaching our daughter at around 12 years old.
Again, it really depends on the child and how they feel about it, so I would do it when you feel they are ready for it.
Getting Someone Else To Do It For You.
Like I said I got my husband to teach my daughter how to drive and since he is a truck driver I thought he would make a great person to do it and I would have nothing to worry about. Boy was I wrong on that one.
I mean he did teach her the fundamentals of driving, just enough to where she was able to pass her driving test and get her license, but he didn’t do it well enough to teach her how to drive safely but aggressively. In other words, he didn’t teach her how to drive to make me less worried about her getting hurt from having an accident (which she has had two already and she is only 22).
Do I recommend getting someone else to do it for you? Absolutely! Especially if you are like me and find it very hard to give up your control and parental instincts to protect them and just let them get behind the wheel. However, I recommend making sure that the person you ask to help you is someone you know is going to keep your baby boy safe and teach them the type of driving skills you want them to learn, someone you think is an incredible driver.
Your best option here, however, is to have them take a driver’s ed course than you don’t have too much to worry about because those teachers are trained for it. Unfortunately this option was not available to me because our schools don’t offer Driver’s Ed except for one single school which is about 45 minutes from our home.
Where Do You Start?
If you just don’t have that kind of person around then you are going to have to buck up and do it yourself. Tell your anxiety to take a hike.
But where do you start? Do you let them drive up and down your street? Do you let them drive you out of your yard, on to your street, and on to a main road right away? The answer is no, because you don’t want to get into an accident right from the beginning and you don’t want to frighten your son (yes boys get scared, lol).
My son is 16 and we are a little late getting started with him, but thankfully his big sister allowed him to drive to the store down the street from our home and back in her vehicle a few times so he does have a little bit of a head start.
However, he still needs more experience especially now that he has his driving permit. So, my plan is to take him to an open parking lot and let him drive around there a few times. This allows for him to start off nice and slow and get used to the vehicle we will be using. Which, by the way, is another thing that you must consider when teaching your child to drive because all vehicles are built differently, are different sizes, and have different gadgets and gizmos to it.
My son started off learning in a very tiny car, but I own a big truck and in my opinion teaching him in a bigger vehicle will be better because if he learns how to maneuver a big vehicle than he will have no, problems with maneuvering a smaller one. If I teach him in a smaller vehicle and he ends up getting a bigger vehicle he will have some difficulties because they need more room and aren’t able to make very sharp turns. My other recommendation is to teach them with a manual vehicle instead of automatic because if they learn manual drive their options will be limitless and they will be able to drive just about anything. Unfortunately this option is not available to me because I can’t drive a stick myself.
Don’t Forget To Teach Them More.
So, now he has the ins and outs of making the vehicle go and how to make it stop, how to park a vehicle, and slowly turn the vehicle. Now you need to get him comfortable with driving on residential roads that aren’t too busy and then move on to main roads like highways that are extremely busy.
This is where it becomes very serious and your anxiety is going to pop its ugly head up.
However, he needs to be able to feel comfortable behind that wheel at all times because he is going to have to drive on those roads some day. This is also where you have the opportunity to teach them how to pay attention to everything around him while paying attention to the road in front of him.
The first time out, I recommend staying in the right-hand lane so that you don’t have to worry too much on going slower than the rest of traffic.
What You Should Do While Teaching Them.
Don’t forget to teach them more than just how to get the car to go down the road. Teach them how to be very observant, to watch all of their mirrors, to avoid distractions, and everything else to help keep them safe and follow all the rules of the road. Teach them what they didn’t learn from a driving manual or driver’s ed.
Now you’re going to have some anxiety throughout this whole process, but you have to squash it and make sure that you are not talking down to your child and try to be encouraging to them. Instead of telling them that they are going to get a speeding ticket if they don’t slow down, ask them what the speed limit is. This method goes along with my above statement about teaching them to be observant.
I would also recommend making sure that the days you are teaching him how to drive are sunny and beautiful and then when they have become comfortable with most of the driving try getting them out there when conditions are not so great.
I didn’t get that kind of training so the first time I drove in the rain I ended up in a very bad car accident that for many years made me fear driving in the rain. So you definitely want to get them comfortable with driving in rainy weather so they are prepared to react accordingly and remain safe.
There are many other things that your should know when learning how to drive and other things you should be aware of or leary of, but I think Very Well Family has said them all way better than I could have done and you can check out their information here.
You Are Still Going To Be Scared
I am still working up the courage to let my son get behind the wheel and drive with me in the vehicle with him, but he needs to learn and I have no, other way for him to learn unless I want to spend the rest of my life driving him all over the place. So I am going to do it.
As I mentioned earlier, my oldest is driving now and I don’t get in the car with her because even though she has her license and she has been driving for several years I still have anxiety of her being on the road. That innate fear of getting a call saying she is in the hospital because she was in an accident. That fear is probably never going to go away no, matter how well you teach them.
The biggest thing isn’t even the way she drives, it is other drivers or the distractions that teens have these days that we didn’t have when we were their age. So I make sure that my son knows all the possibilities of accidents so that he is aware, mindful, and watchful for them and I make sure that I tell him things that aren’t going to scare him to the point of not wanting to drive at all (which is an option, haha).
Teaching your children to drive is a tricky and not so easy task, but you have to remind yourself that they you are their parent and you have taught them everything you know so they should be okay. Besides, they can get hurt riding with someone else and at least if they are the ones driving they will have more control over what happens and that right there makes me feel better.
Have you taught your child to drive already and have some other tips you would like to give me and everyone else reading this? Did you have anxiety doing it? Do you still have questions?
Please feel free to let us know or ask in the comments below.