If your kid is set to pass their driving test soon, then naturally, you may be feeling a lot of anxiety about what’s ahead of them. Aside from the fact that they’ll be a relatively inexperienced driver facing all the dangers of the road, it’s always difficult to see our kids gain independence, and need us less and less. Here are a few pointers to help you make it through this bittersweet change…
Think of it as an opportunity
A big part of being able to let go and give your kids the freedom they’re straining towards is simply acknowledging the fact that you have to, sooner or later. For the first time in their life, your teen isn’t going to be dependent on you to get from point A to point B. This fact can feel kind of sad, but the transition is nothing compared to them going off to college, marrying, and so on. If the fact that your kid is about to start driving by themselves is weighing on your mind, try to see this is an opportunity for you to start preparing for all the other big transitions that are on their way. Yes, you’ll be closing one door, but your teen will be opening a new one!
Communicate and set boundaries
While it’s important to let go at various points as you watch your kids grow, your kids’ safety is obviously your top priority in being a parent. While they may have their license, they probably don’t have the money for a car, and you’re the person who will ultimately decide whether or not they’re okay to drive. Finding a DUI lawyer probably isn’t in your calendar for the year ahead, so don’t be afraid to set strict rules if you’re afraid your teen isn’t going to be responsible with their car! Communicate clearly with them, and be direct about their responsibilities, and what you expect of them. Let them use your car, but ask them to text you as soon as they arrive at their destination, and keep a cap on the number of friends they’re driving around. It they fail to meet those standards, don’t let them have the car the next time they ask – no ifs, no buts.
Get them to drive you
Naturally, you’ll want to keep tabs on how your teenager is driving, but you won’t want to stifle their independence. One of the best ways of finding a middle ground is calling shotgun when your kid grabs the keys and heads out the front door. You’re going to want to give advice and point out hazards, but try to keep as quiet as possible. After all, they’ve legally passed their test. Still, keep mental notes on any dangerous habits you notice in them. Once you get to your destination, give them a little ego boost. Tell them their driving was great, and add in a dash of constructive feedback. The more rides you take, the more they’ll open up to your non-distracting tips.
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