How To: Survive your Teen's Driving Lessons

Posted on April 2, 2012 at 8:25 PM

{the very sight of this can strike terror in the most fearless parent}

At this time of the year I tend to be sad and happy at the same time. I am sad that a group of New Bees will be leaving us because this month signals the end of our workshops. I am happy though because it allows me to share other things that I have had to wait until now to do.

My HOW TO series starts now and I will be sharing my own homeschool experiences and my experiences as I help other homeschoolers each month. It won't all be information for new homeschoolers, it will be just what I learn along the way as I help others and glean tips.

We all need support and LOVE, including myself. It doesn't matter how long we homeschool, we are always curious if others are doing it better, smarter and easier {they're not} than we are.

Because I am surviving a teen driver {actually enjoying it as I take in deep breaths, exhale..} I thought I would share my experiences for those of you who are almost there. If you're not, you will be and it comes faster than you think.

Teaching my oldest son to drive seemed very natural. {NOT}

 I can teach him ANY subject in our school with complete confidence. I can help OTHERS to teach their kids and get started homeschooling but when we finally arrived at this time, all I could think about was "he is not old enough, his father and I have not taught him enough, though he is very responsible, is he responsible enough for this?"

Resisting the urge for me and his younger siblings to come in a fully padded suit of armor, I finally determined if he were to be the driver I wanted him to be, I would have to get in there and teach him.

I did. I started off teaching him with an online driving course because I felt like the time in the classroom and behind the wheel is not enough. The state always gives just the basics and I felt like if I were to overcome my feelings, then I needed to be sure I covered it alongside him.

Reacquainting yourself with the driver handbook as you help him study instills confidence in both of you.

However, things always don't go as planned and because we had a slight interruption in our driving with my hubby's heart attack, we determined to have him attend a driving school since I had my hands full.

Best thing ever ---- but I am realistic too.....

I don't know if my experience so far is unlike others with their first teen driver, but I have experienced both sides of the decision coin in teaching him and using a driving school.

Some of what I did not like about the school was the way they handled information between the teen and myself.  They treated him like he was 6 yos instead of 16 yos.  "Get your parent to sign this so we know you did it? etc." 

If this child, no young adult now, thank you, is going to get behind the wheel and take lives into his hands, he should be responsible enough to get papers signed ---  you think? That tells you what they deal with on a regular basis with other teens. Be proud, be very proud of your responsible teen!

If they are not ready yet --- then wait for him to take lessons. My oldest waited until 16 and is just fine with it. My next son who is 15 now is not too overworked about learning to drive now. There is a nice measure of maturity on your side by waiting a year longer that is really paying off now.

Another part I didn't like was the drive {no pun intended} to get that permit as FAST AS POSSIBLE. I promised them it was okay for us to go slow and take our time. I had to remind them that I want my son to actually learn how to drive.

The ugliest part was all the talk about DRUGS, ALCOHOL, then ALCOHOL, DRUGS, and then did I mention DRUGS and ALCOHOL?

Come on, does my son really need to know the difference in a fine between a misdemeanor and a felony?

The part I am really soaking up about the driving school is the actual student car marked especially for them.  I could probably purchase a rear view mirror that comes in Driver's Ed Boxes but the signage on the car, the brake by the instructor, and the instructor's valuable feedback are all valuable assets.

Folks can be cruel when your teen's top speed is 25 miles per hour on a turn as he first starts to learn to drive. However, when they see the dreaded sign " Student Driver" most drivers keep a good distance back and don't try anything too fast. Cut that teen a break!

Now as my son is well on to his way with driving past our neighborhood and now onto main roads, the most important I have learned is that there is no substitute for the confidence that a parent instills.

My comments of "slow down, you're doing great, great job, loved that turn, make contact with the other driver" are what he remembers when he is with the teacher of the driving school.

As number two son gets ready to drive,  I see that more than anything a ready knowledge and lots of interaction as he is driving from me is what a teen needs.

Love those babies, they grow up no longer wanting tricycles or  bicycles but Fords and a Chevy!

Anybody else looking forward to this or going through this right now? Want to share your story or worries so we can console each other?

Hugs from the non-padded down, non-armored mom. I am still here.....



Categories: {How To Series}