How To Teach Your Son To Drive – Getting Through It

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.

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  • Keryn Sanchez

    Hi, Kristena.

    First of all a big ‘Thank You’ for this informative article. My husband and I got it all planned out already. He’s gonna teach our son, because he’s already a very secure driver (he’s been driving quite a while with my husband next to him). Our daughter is just like me, a little on the nervous side when it’s coming to driving. So, I’m going to take it easy with her once the timing is right. And, yes, I absolutely share your fear of having the children driving alone. You’re right, most accidents aren’t self-inflicted! We live in Los Angeles, and it’s a nightmare here; so many irresponsible drivers. When they’re not texting and driving all over you, then they’re stoned at this point. So, it’s true, all we can do is hope the best, stay positive and pray every time they’re driving by themselves.
    Again, many thanks for this great advice.



    • Kristena


      Oh dear, I don’t think that I could be in your position living in Los Angeles and having to teach my children to drive, but thankfully you have a very supportive husband that can do it for you. I actually just experienced seeing an accident right next to the school the other day and all involved were teens. I went to pick up my children from school and there was one truck sitting in the turning lane the wrong way and another in the ditch across the road. We had to drive past this accident to get home (we live right down the road from school) and I could see that they were all highschool kids and of course my 16 year old was sitting next to me seeing this. This is one of the reasons he is afraid to drive because he sees his peers in accidents like this. Thankfully mine know better than to text and drive or try and take short cuts illegally like it looked like they tried to do. Side note: No one was hurt badly, thank the Lord!

  • Angelique

    OMG are parents teaching their children how to drive a car ? I didn’t even consider that as an option at all! In the country that I am from (Netherlands) it is absolutely not up to parents.
    You can sign your child up to a professional, registered driving school when the child turns 18. The course includes theory lessons (traffic rules and specific situations) and practical driving lessons in a car with extra breaks and mirrors at the instructor’s seat side. Step by step children will learn how to drive. The teacher will sign up his student when the student he is prepared enough to do the final driving test.

    Although I am an experienced driver with a driving licence since 30+ years, I would’t call myself a god instructor. And especially not to my own child.
    So what’s my opinion to your questions ? I probably am not the right person to answer this, simply because I am not used to self teaching. I curious though to other readers. Will follow!

    • Kristena

      They used to have all highschools in the US have driver’s ed, but just like arts they have done away with it and only select schools offer it now. Also, in the US you only have to be 16 to get a license. Maybe we would have better drivers and less accidents here in the US if we took after the Netherlands. Maybe I should move there for those benefits alone. LOL!

  • Ashton

    I didn’t get my licence until I was 18! I just didn’t need or want to have it. I remember the hardest part for me was parallel parking. I cried and cried when my dad was teaching me that. I also cannot drive a manual. My husband tried to teach me and I got the fundamentals down but I just don’t like driving enough to put my heart into learning it. I drive because I have to and I want it to be as easy as possible. One day I will have to teach my kids but I will be leaving the majority of those lessons to their Dad. He is a great driver and a great teacher. I’m sure I will help some though. I want my kids to like driving and be independent.

    • Kristena


      I can relate. I didn’t get mine until I was 25 but not because I didn’t want to drive, but because I didn’t have the proper training for it. My son was actually hesitant on getting his and for a long time said he didn’t want one. However, because we live in an area where having a vehicle is a necessity in order to survive, he decided to go ahead. Unfortunately, I tried to get my husband to do it but he just isn’t very good at prioritizing or time management. LOL! I am glad to hear that you have someone that you can count on to do it for you because as a mom it can be very tough to let go.

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