The media often portrays teenagers as grabbing the car keys with confidence as they head out for their first drive, yet this isn't the case for many families. Many teens are naturally apprehensive about getting behind the wheel, which can pose some challenges for teaching this valuable life skill. Although it might be tempting to throw up your hands and wait another year, learning to drive now will give them the experience they need to drive safely as an adult. As you prepare for your next driving lesson, use these ideas to ease your child's anxiety.
Identify Underlying Reasons
It may be baffling to find out that your child does not want to drive when you view handing them the keys as a step toward freedom. However, there is likely a valid reason for your child's anxiety. For example, they may feel as though they cannot trust themselves to stay focused on the road, or they may fear not knowing how to handle a situation that goes wrong. Talk to your child about their fears so that you can then create a plan to overcome each one.
Teach Basic Vehicle Maintenance
If your teen driver doesn't want to get behind the wheel, then you can start by getting them under the hood. Learning how to perform basic vehicle maintenance will allow your child to gradually become used to being responsible for a car. Teach your child how to inspect and inflate the tires, read their dashboard lights and check the fluids. Not only will this these skills help preserve the car, but they will also give your child confidence that their car is less likely to leave them stranded by the side of the road.
Create an Emergency Plan
It is also important to remember that teens often get caught up in catastrophic thinking that could have them envisioning all kinds of "what if" scenarios. Help your child know that they will be safe no matter what by creating an emergency plan. Pack a roadside emergency kit with jumper cables, a jack and other necessities that your child can use should they become stranded. Then, have them store the number for an emergency towing service, such as Superior Towing, in their phone. This way, they have a trusted source of support should the worst-case scenario happen.
When your child is scared to take the wheel, it is time to take action. While it is important to respect their fears, it is also essential to provide them with opportunities to gradually acclimate to the concept of driving. By addressing their biggest driving concerns and helping them develop an action plan, you can enjoy watching your child climb into the driver's seat with confidence.