Raising a teenager is not a walk in the park, and when they’re learning to drive, many emotions may start flying all over the place. While you don’t want them to do something unsafe like texting while driving or driving in dangerous areas, you also want to boost their confidence and help them feel comfortable behind the wheels. Here are five ways for parents to help their teens drive more confidently.
When they do a test drive with you, resist yelling, laughing at all their mistakes, trying to grab the wheels or mentally driving the car. While there may be life-threatening moments where you need to act quickly, try to remain calm. When you’re relaxed, teens will sense that you trust them and this helps boost their confidence – and as your trust increases, so will their confidence.
Give equal amounts of praise and criticism
The learning phase isn’t going to be all smooth sailing, so there’ll be a need to give constructive feedback and even it out by acknowledging their efforts or what they’re doing right. One way to do this is through the sandwich feedback method – start with something they’re doing right, followed by what they can do better and end with another compliment. Another way to encourage them is to highlight the benefits of proper driving through statements like – Your parking skills are really improving. If you put more effort into using an indicator at every turn, it’ll be quicker to get your driver’s license.
Share familiar experiences
Sometimes, it’s helpful to share experiences you went through as a young driver or learner and how you overcame them. Sharing these experiences will help them feel less alone or feel like they’re making so many mistakes. It’s also helpful to ask the teenager about scenarios that scare them and walk them through what to do in situations like that.
- Practice in different scenarios
While you don’t want your child driving in situations that endanger their lives, it’s also necessary to practice in environments that they may encounter in the future. Such as driving with you in the rain or the snow. Take up opportunities where they can drive with you in the night, very early in the morning or during rush hours. Another scenario can be driving through tight streets or the highway. Since they can’t anticipate what they need before the situation, it is helpful to expose them to new terrains. The more comfortable they get with driving in those conditions with you, the more confident they’ll be when they’re on their own.
Let them go to driving school
When kids are enrolled in driving school, they can benefit from the teachings in a controlled environment. Through years of experience, the teachers will handle each child and guide them to learn what they need in the quickest time possible.
Allowing fear to brew only leads to more anxiety and, in extreme cases, can lead the teen to refuse driving altogether. Lack of confidence isn’t something that will disappear in seconds; however, through your patience, encouragement and knowledge-sharing, your teen can overcome nervousness and be better positioned to get behind the wheels confidently.