Mom's Release

The trials and tribulations of a mom of four great kids!

7 ways to Survive Teaching Your (First) Teen to Drive

on January 16, 2014

Another driver in the house…how did we get here??

As of the end of November, we have a third driver in our house. I guess, technically, we have 2-1/2 drivers, since he can’t drive by himself yet. I have but one thing to say…Oh. My.


Never, as we were having one, two, three and then four babies, did it ever occur to me that at some point, they would all be licensed to operate a motor vehicle. I remember very clearly how excited I was to turn 16 and get handed my learner’s permit, so I want to be excited for him. But then, I think about the fact that I have to teach him to operate said motor vehicle…preferably, calmly…while I’m in it! (There must be an oxymoron in there somewhere!)

So! Staying calm (not necessarily my forte as of late) while teaching the teen to drive. Add to that, being in a heavy, moving vehicle, capable of hurting any passerby on the sidewalk…well, that just ups the degree of difficulty of the whole “staying calm” thing! Since I’m sure I am not alone in this endeavour, I have come up with a list of tips for when you find yourself with 16yo who needs you to teach them to drive:

1. Make it clear BEFORE you start that your instructions are to be followed to a “T”, at the exact minute you give them. This is particularly helpful for those teens who like to assess the situation in their own minds and then decide what they think should be done (we have one of those!).

2. Don’t pick their first time to drive during rush hour, in twilight, in a busy intersection! In trying to be the good mom and giving him opportunities to drive, when he passed his learner’s test, I offered to have him drive the few blocks from our house to the community fitness centre to pick up his siblings. He was very happy to do so and off we went….during rush hour, in twilight, and had to turn left at a very busy intersection (did I mention this is a bad idea?!). Talk about stressful…for both of us!! I didn’t even consider the fact that really, he really needed time in a parking lot or quiet area, learning to start, stop, turn the wheel, come out of a turn, etc. He did very well, considering he really had no idea how to make a left turn(!) and we arrived without incident…but I was in desperate need of a glass of wine when we got home!

3. Start by taking them to a parking lot and/or quiet neighbourhood, with very little traffic, so they can get used to all of the things listed in #2, above. It will make a huge difference and they will thank you for it…and he did!

4. Give them a chance to make left turns…first in low traffic , quiet neighborhoods and then in busier intersections…they need it to pass their test and they’ll thank you for that, too.

5. Surprise them every now and then by asking them if they want to drive…without them having to hound you to do so. You’ll score big “cool mom” (or dad) points for that one!

6. Bring along your spouse as back-up…they say that misery loves company, right?!

7. KEEP CALM and have your wine ready for your return from the drive!

Oh, and you might want to make sure your insurance is up to date!

Love to hear how everyone else managed to make it through this parenting milestone!


2 responses to “7 ways to Survive Teaching Your (First) Teen to Drive

  1. Aysh S says:

    This is really a good post. It’s going to be another ten years till my son gets in the driver’s seat but I am really going to need this then.
    Hoping over from SITS fb group.

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