Teaching Your 15-Year-Old to Drive
Getting to drive independently as a teenager is a rite of passage we all looked forward to reaching. However, on the parent’s side of the equation, teaching your 15-year-old how to drive can be a daunting and even scary task. It is a necessary one, though, to move forward in the journey of them becoming responsible adults.
Back in the day, the process of teaching a kid to drive often involved tears, yelling, and frustration, simply because it is a scary process where a lot can go wrong quickly and parents were often unsure how to even approach the training process. Thankfully, today, there are many options you can take advantage of as a parent to get your child the help they need to become a safe, responsible driver, all without the tears:
Enroll in a Driver’s Education Course
In many states, taking a driver’s education course is required before a teenager can get their driver’s license. These courses usually involve both classroom instruction and professionally supervised hands-on driving practice. Even if your state isn’t one that requires this, it’s still a good idea to enroll your teen in a course like this as it will help them get the feel of operating a vehicle from some other perspective besides yours. Plus, it will ensure they know the latest laws that pertain to vehicle operation in your area.
Practice With a Professional Driving Instructor
In addition to enrolling in a driver’s education course, you can also consider hiring a professional driving instructor to work with your teenager. These instructors are professionally trained to teach new drivers the nuances of driving. They can also individually address issues your child is having or that might be a point of weakness for them. For example, if they do poorly with changing lanes or parking, this can be addressed and focused on to help them improve in these areas.
Practice With a Parent or Guardian
Of course, even with the driving course and the involvement of a professional instructor, there are likely times that you as a parent or guardian will need to be the one to teach your teen how to operate a vehicle. You too can play a significant role in their learning process. However, make sure to keep it positive and build on what they are being taught.
It might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with your state’s current driving laws and regulations as well. After all, things might have changed a little since you were learning. Just make sure the experience is a good one and avoid harsh criticisms. No tears are needed or wanted in this process. You can always begin on a dead-end road, in a parking lot, or on back roads. Never feel you must push your child too fast, but let them ease into the process, all while you encourage them throughout.
Use Driving Simulator Technology
Although this wasn’t even an option in years past, today we have the availability of driving simulators. These tools have become increasingly popular for their ability to help new drivers learn how to drive. They allow teens to practice driving in a safe, controlled environment and can help them build confidence before they try their hand at the real deal. This is a great way to ease into the process of driving with a teen who is scared of messing up or wrecking. In addition, because so many kids have grown up playing video games, the simulation itself should seem somewhat familiar to them and help them feel more sure of themselves as opposed to jumping behind the wheel of a real vehicle right away.
There Are Options, and You Don’t Have to Do it Alone
Teaching your 15-year-old how to drive requires careful planning, patience, and a commitment to safety. While you play a role in this, you can also take advantage of outside resources to further help your teen gain confidence and learn the rules of the road. This group approach will take the pressure off you to feel you must be the only one instructing your child. However, you of course should remain in charge of the team committed to teaching your child to drive safely.